Lots of stuff simmering, but nothing you can’t miss if you want to take a break from the news today. There are two stories I’m following. The first is the fight between former president Trump and the Republican National Committee (RNC). Last Friday, Trump’s lawyers sent a cease-and-desist letter to the RNC, the National Republican Senatorial Committee, and the National Republican Congressional Committee—the three biggest Republican fundraising bodies—demanding they stop using his name and his photo to raise money. The former president is allegedly angry at the Republicans who failed to support him after the January 6 insurrection—especially Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY)-- and would like to cut them out of the money he can raise.
For all the Pollyannas who have been posting that we have to be nicer to the other side, I post the 43 GOP controlled legislatures currently working to undermine if not destroy the democracy that allegedly underpins this constitutional democratic republic. Anyone want to try "nice talk" with those people? In the current situation, those people are The Enemy. They have delcared war on the country, whether anyone here likes it or not. Nice talk and longings for bipartisanship don't work with wolverines.
THANK YOU TO ALL OF YOU 🙏🙏❤️❤️
My whole life I’ve been trying to figure out my dad. I’ve been trying to figure out myself too in relation to him. It has all come together for me.
The root of the conservative world view is maintaining the status quo, maintaining the old society. So now I have no trouble seeing the link between making Mr. Potato Head gender neutral, and ending publication of certain Dr. Seuss books, and banning Confederate flags from NASCAR, and trans toilets, and racism-based voter suppression, and why Trump is their hero, and all of it. The Republican Party, the country club set, the Mercedes and mini-mansion fixation, all of it is my dad and all of it clicks now.
The old society is based in unacknowledged racism, unacknowledged sexism, unacknowledged hetero-ism, and ostentatious & gaudy (and nauseating) status symbol and prestige displays. Even the part Republican politicians being about self-service instead of public service.
My entire life I’ve hated all of it. Retch. And now I can identify it clearly and see all of it.
The many disparate issues and aspects, the seemingly disconnected rants and complaints, all make sense to me now. All of it fits together perfectly.
Thank you so much Dr. Richardson. Thank you so much all of you. You have been an invaluable catalyst in my education. I owe all of you a great debt of gratitude.
Senator Joe Manchin (D-WV). “The filibuster should be painful, it really should be painful and we've made it more comfortable over the years,” Manchin said yesterday on the Fox News Channel. “Maybe it has to be more painful.” Well, hot dog. I wonder who lit a fire under Senator Manchin's behind? He surely didn't do this of his own volition.
And so, after the RNC tells Donald that they CAN use his image they fluff him up by booking events at his dreadful, tacky club in April. This is how Trump has managed to live his entire life - by bending people over a barrel so far and so hard that they have to play his game. Republicans aren't just deplorable they're weak-willed, lily-livered chumps. Disgusting. I'm going to bed. Good night Heather, good night one and all. Sleep well.
Yes, the filibuster...
Option A) Leave things the way they are, so meaningful election reform, infrastructure improvement, existentially necessary legislative responses to climate change (the elephant in the room), police reform, common sense gun and immigration laws, reinstatement of the fairness doctrine, fairer wealth distribution via more progressive taxation, eventual elimination of the Electoral College (and the list is very long given how little good governance we have had since, well, LBJ) WILL NOT HAPPEN under this administration, leading to significant GOP gains in the 2022 mid-terms. End of American democracy.
Option B) Eliminate the filibuster (or return it to the Jimmy Stewart model, though why we would do that - except to save face for a few Demopublicans - I can barely imagine) and pass all of the above or even just a few of the above and take it to the voters in 2022. Joe Biden will be a national hero in the mold of FDR and Kamala Harris will carry on in the same vein in 2024. The GOP will either change or disappear. Trump will die in prison.
We have seen that government by reconciliation and presidential decree cannot do enough and causes even greater political division than the already unsustainable variety we have now.
This is not the moment to try to return to a Reaganesque-Clintonesque "normal". No, it is time to live up to our Declaration of Independence and the Constitution and institute - finally - government of, by and for the people.
This may be our last chance.
The future of the fillibuster is indeed an important issue, about which two things need to be clarified: (1) This is NOT a constitutional question, but "only" about the rules of the Senate. It's remarkable, and difficult to explain to folks who aren't polit-junkies, that so much hangs on that kind of issue; (2) if Prof. Richardson is correct, and I believe she is, the slogan "end the fillibuster" is clearly based on a fundamental misunderstanding. If Sen. Manchin is right, and surely he knows what he's talking about in this case, the issue is NOT ending the fillibuster altogether, but restoring the "painful" fillibusters of yesteryear. Do Democrats really want to go there? Those southern fillibusterers (what a word) were nominally also Democrats, but not the kind the modern party wants to have anything to do with. the accurate slogan would appear to be "end the supermajority, restore majority rule in the Senate". Unfortunately, the train has already left the station, so "end the fillibuster" it will be in media-land. Disappointment on the left is preprogrammed. Besides, if the DEMS somehow manage to lose control of both houses in 2022, they will surely wish they had retained this weapon. Joe Biden has a point; be careful what you wish for.
Heard on Rachael Maddow podcast, Georgia is pursuing racketeering charges against Trump that could carry a 20 year sentence. They have hired an expert on such cases.
Good morning everyone! HCR: "nothing you can't miss"? Reading this letter this morning belies that statement! The groveling and temper tantrums of the Gormless Ones and the Cheeto? Where will that end up? And, even more stark for our future, the fight over the filibuster. I disagree with the people who say that returning it to its original intent--to make it painful--is pointless. I think it is insufficient, but I DO think that it will give pause to the Mindless-Powermongering Wing (Hawley, Cruz, etc) because in my experience of these guys and gals they don't want to work that hard. That is why the Repugnants (to borrow a term from one of my companions here) changed the nature of the filibuster in the first place. Any move forward is positive--even if it is baby steps.
For me the news from yesterday that had me pausing was the news that Roy Blunt has decided not to run for re-election in 2022. I am surprised by this but, in another way, not surprised. He is a mainstream GOP guy from a long lineage of MO pols. He is playing with the idea of running for Prez but he is about as interesting as string cheese, and about as slippery. The tension between him and Hawley is also pretty clear--Hawley is enough of a narcissist that he thinks he can ignore the senior Senator with impunity. What Hawley doesn't understand is that Blunt--although I loathe and detest his politics on every level--is a legit "nice guy," who is well liked. He told my Congressman, Emmanuel Cleaver II, privately that he was not going to run, which considering their radical differences was a gentlemanly move that Cleaver appreciated.
So now we have a tiny opening in Missouri for 2022. And we need to drive a big ol' bulldozer through it.
Your closing sentence puts our future in stark perspective. It drives home the scope of damage Trump inflicted on the nation with The Big Lie. He was like a fleeing army laying mines and other traps to cripple the advancing conquering force.
Given all that has happened since Trump's election, Democrats will not sit idle in the face of voter suppression, which they might have in the past. We know what's on the line, as you effectively captured. Millions of young people now have a taste of the power and influence they possess. African-Americans young and old are as motivated and engaged as they have ever been, not to mention organized. The fight to vote will be epic.
Key, however, is the Biden Administration continuing to deliver on major campaign pledges to keep new and occasional voters engaged. That's why, as you wrote, the filibuster looms over everything. Many voters don't understand or care about it. They only care about results.
I'd be curious to know what folks think about the ideas presented here:
"Democrats can’t kill the filibuster. But they can gut it," by Norman Ornstein, Mar. 2, 2021.
"For a West Virginia Democrat [Joe Manchin], heavy criticism from key members of his own party, up to and including President Biden, might wind up working to Manchin’s advantage. That was true of an earlier apostate, Sen. Richard C. Shelby (Ala.), who’s been reelected several times after switching from Democrat to Republican in 1994, after butting heads with President Bill Clinton."
"Instead of naming and shaming them, Democrats might consider looking at what Manchin and Sinema like about the filibuster. Sinema recently said, “Retaining the legislative filibuster is not meant to impede the things we want to get done. Rather, it’s meant to protect what the Senate was designed to be. I believe the Senate has a responsibility to put politics aside and fully consider, debate, and reach compromise on legislative issues that will affect all Americans.” Last year, Manchin said, “The minority should have input — that’s the whole purpose for the Senate. If you basically do away with the filibuster altogether for legislation, you won’t have the Senate. You’re a glorified House. And I will not do that.”"
Here are the points outlined in Norman Ornstein's article:
-- Make the minority do the work.
-- Go back to the “present and voting” standard.
-- Narrow the supermajority requirement.
I invite you to follow the link and read the article. New ideas!
I am sending comments to my Senators (Schumer and Gillibrand) asking them to "adjust" the filibuster. Including Joe Manchin's idea of making it painful.
Good morning HRC, I have been reading through the comments inspired by your newsletter today in which you state pretty clearly that the filibuster is standing in the way of the proposed voting rights bill passed by the House, and that this legislation is at the top of your "must-pass- the-Senate" list. I completely agree with you, but I cannot understand why so many readers seem to prefer some sort of cosmetic change to the filibuster, of a face-saving way to keep the filibuster, or a filibuster that just looks like our present filibuster but really isn't, or a filibuster requiring 40 Senators to keep it going rather than 60 to vote cloture. There are other variations on this theme, as well.
But does anyone have any doubt as to what Trump and today's GOP would do right now if they had the smallest possible simple majority in the Senate? They would have ditched the filibuster on day one, and they would have already cut taxes even more for the rich, reinstituted poll taxes and selective civics testing for potential African American voters, banned wind and solar power development and provided funding for a new super highway up the inner gorge of the Grand Canyon. (Hey DEMs, you want infrastructure? Well stick this up your....).
What are we afraid of? Joe Manchin and the other RepubliDems can be convinced to live without this freaking filibuster. This will be their claim on posterity.
"You remember Joe Manchin?" "Who?" "Y'know, the guy who agreed to give up the Senate filibuster, which made it possible for Joe Biden to save America from Trump and those weirdos." "You mean the guy who made it possible for me to get a good job installing solar panels so my children wouldn't have to die in the coal mine or get black lung disease? That Joe Manchin?" "Yup, that's the one."
This is something about which I have been talking for a while now. The Democrats have two years (less now) to get things done. The new Voting Rights Act; statehood for Puerto Rico and/or D.C.; a long overdue hike in the absurdly low minimum wage. All of this needs to get done before the next election.
What a petty man. I don’t understand how anyone can support him. Even more so now.
Yes, make the filibuster more painful. Make them be there and stay there and when they speak it must be on topic. H.R.1 needs to become law.
In the meantime, while some of us are boycotting Amazon so as to let the employees decide whether they want a union or not: https://www.nytimes.com/2021/03/08/us/politics/biden-unions-labor.html
It is such a thrill to read about the breadth of knowledge that the Biden/Harris team have about so much stuff!!
S-1 must be passed.
This from Georgia:
“Georgia lawmakers have advanced a measure [An Act to comprehensively revise elections and voting – SB 241] that would significantly curtail voting access after a record number of voters propelled Democratic victories in the 2020 race.”
Stacey Abrams commented:
“In the last two election cycles, we saw a dramatic increase in the number of voters of color who voted by mail, the number of young people who used early voting, the number of African Americans who voted on Saturday and Sunday. We saw unprecedented levels of turnout across the board. And so every single metric of voter access that has been a good in Georgia is now under attack.”
I wrote a letter to President Biden last night asking why S-1 has not been mentioned in the last two Press conferences in which Jen Psaki listed the Administration’s priorities.
Why is Election Reform not mentioned on the list of Administration priorities on the White House website?
The filibuster is a huge issue here because S-1 will be one of – if not the - most contentious issues in the 117th Congress. I can’t imagine it will pass without some change to Senate rules.
The President will likely sign the Covid Relief measure today or tomorrow and then move on to his next agenda item. He may believe that getting into the fray over S-1 would threaten Infrastructure, Health Care, Environmental and other initiatives – I don’t know. But, I would certainly love to be a fly on the wall of the Oval Office right now.
I enjoy and learn something useful and important in each of your postings, and especially appreciate your calm, thoughtful, and articulate writing
It's good to have the stakes laid out plain and clear. I think Manchin is positioning himself to maximize his own influence; he loves having all DC come courting. Nevertheless, he does want his party to make progress, so he is willing to tinker with the filibuster. I shudder to think about what happens without it if the GQP wrenches power away from the Dems in 2022 or 2024.