A Little Alphabet Soup

Two M’s + one N Spell Some Interesting Conclusions

Today We Wander a Bit

Three unconnected thoughts seemed to fill my head over the last few days and so I thought I might share them with you. Let’s talk about Two M’s (Mechanics and Morality) and a single N (Nunes). Here we go.

 M for Mechanics

 Like much of America, I have been interested in the discussion about Senate mechanics, especially but not exclusively the filibuster. It seems pretty clear that throughout our history, this has been a tool of abuse and of obstructionism.

The filibuster certainly has ties to appeasement of slave holders from our earliest days. And yet, I can also acknowledge the cultural pull it has for some institutionalist and the opportunity it can hold to slow down bad legislation.

Still, the overall score card is terrible and needs corrective action now. A few months ago, I would not have bet on anything useful happening. But rather suddenly, real change seems possible.

Not that long ago, Joe Biden went from almost politically dead to presumptive nominee in about 3 days. The change around the filibuster seems almost as swift.  I would bet at this point that big changes are coming.

It may well be that the filibuster dies, but even if not, some of the corrective action being discussed that likely has the votes could largely do the job. Requiring actual, physical filibusters is a good start.

Losing the power to hold things up the minute you stop talking is the necessary second component. Exempting certain foundational legislation (voting rights, for example) from filibusters is another good move, and completely doable.

While we are at it, a few more steps to better mechanics in the Senate:

(1) If you do filibuster, the content has to be relevant, as ruled by the chair at the time. Pull a Ted Cruz Green Eggs and Ham reading, and you are done.

(2) No more requiring an entire bill be read aloud. Until then, if you require the reading, you have to be present for the entire reading. You leave the room, its over.

(3) No more requiring voice votes via roll calls, with precious few exceptions. We have these button things now – just press one and vote. Quit stalling.

(4) No more should senators have the right to deny a hearing or a vote on someone they don’t like. End senatorial holds.

M for Morality

We received a small window into the Congressional Republican soul in recent days. Kevin McCarthy took a small delegation of House Republicans to the Texas border to tsk-tsk the Biden administration over border policy and program implementation.

First, let us acknowledge there is a real surge going on (funny how that happens after the last four years). It brings with it challenges the administration has to deal with quickly. It is fair to say this is problematic and requires multiple solutions.

But it’s easier when you live on Planet McCarthy. A reporter pointed out the nature of the problem and how the last administration helped create this backlog. There are very real legal, moral, and humanitarian issues in play here. McCarthy was asked how he would deal with this. His answer? Don’t let them in.

That’s it, that is the entire response. If we don’t let them in, it’s not our problem. No matter the legal or moral issues. No matter that some of these are families divided up by the last administration. If we don’t let any of them in, we don’t see it. So, then it’s not our problem.

Call me a softie, but if a single mom and her child walk almost a thousand miles through great hardship and danger, I think it deserves our attention. These are not casual tourists looking for an easy life. I am not and never have been an open border advocate, but a balance seems right and doable.

The complete lack of humanity, not to mention morality and legality, in McCarthy’s “solution” tells one all you need to know about how devoid of a soul that party has become. We are better than that.

N is for Nunes

With zero information not available to us all in open sources, I smell the doors closing on Devin Nunes and perhaps on Ron Johnson as well. As investigations continue, it looks increasingly like these two excuses for membership in the House of Representatives may be vulnerable to charges of Russian collusion. Johnson may also be on the hook for January 6 insurrection charges as well.

Time will tell, but on pure hunch alone, meetings and travel we know of by these two, and continued investigations, I am betting both of them could be looking at serious charges in the areas of foreign collusion and/or support to an insurrection.

Maybe not, but if someone in Vegas starts a betting pool on this one, I am ready to put a few shekels on the table. I would also be pleased to buy one of the first license plates they make in their new careers.

            Bill Clontz

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2 replies to A Little Alphabet Soup

  1. Good column on immigration. How about a disussion about Washington D.C. statehood. Could it pass if proposed? Hayes Fletcher

    • An excellent comment. Yes, an injustice long overdue for correction, and it seems to have some wind in its sails this time. Rachel Maddie had an hilarious segment last night citing the silly list of potential objections from Republicans (“How could DC be a state? It doesn’t have any mines.” 🙄🤪)

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