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Old 01-27-2010, 08:39 PM   #21
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But we've enacted very broad and controversial legislation in the past and the threat of fllibuster didn't stop it.



The filibuster was never used the way it is used currently.
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Old 01-27-2010, 10:11 PM   #22
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Originally Posted by . . . Yrs to Go View Post

The filibuster was never used the way it is used currently.
Is the increased use of the threat of filibuster a symptom (of increased partisanship? Of legislation that deviates so far from the mainstream that the minority can't abide it?) or is an evil in itself that must be addressed?

The rule itself hasn't changed in over 30 years. It has been available for use by both parties for even longer than that. So, what has changed? The GOP legislators certainly wouldn't see it as being in their self-interest to filibuster laws that their constituents support.
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Old 01-28-2010, 07:28 PM   #23
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Of legislation that deviates so far from the mainstream that the minority can't abide it?
You mean like . . .

Reappointment of Fed Chief Ben Bernanke - filibustered
Raising the debt ceiling so the US doesn't default - filibustered
A Bipartisan deficit reduction commission- filibustered
Extending unemployment insurance - filibustered
2010 defense spending bill - filibustered (yup, that's right. The GOP filibustered the defense appropriation bill)
etc
etc
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Old 01-28-2010, 08:25 PM   #24
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Originally Posted by . . . Yrs to Go View Post
You mean like . . .

Reappointment of Fed Chief Ben Bernanke - filibustered
Raising the debt ceiling so the US doesn't default - filibustered
A Bipartisan deficit reduction commission- filibustered
2010 defense spending bill - filibustered (yup, that's right. The GOP filibustered the defense appropriation bill)
etc
etc
Well, to be precise, none of these items were filibustered. To find a real recent filibuster, a student should climb into the wayback machine and scoot back to 2003. There we'd find none other than Senator Harry Reid talking for 8 hours to help block one of President Bush's judicial nominations.
The present friction between the parties goes back well before President Obama.

Anyway, many of the items cited were jammed through despite valid concerns from the other side. E.g.
-- Debt ceiling--why was new debt ceiling set so high? Answer: So it would get us through the 2012 election without having to come to a vote again, reminding voters of the runaway spending.
-- "Debt reduction commission": A means for Congress to brazenly abdicate their responsibility. Congress should do its job.
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Old 01-28-2010, 08:56 PM   #25
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Anyway, many of the items cited were jammed through despite valid concerns from the other side.
So you've changed the argument that the minority party is using the filibuster to stop "legislation that deviates so far from the mainstream that the minority can't abide it" to simply stopping any legislation where someone has "valid concerns". Suffice it to say that it is nearly impossible to write a piece of legislation where at least 1 senator doesn't have "valid concerns" of some kind. So you're basically setting a standard by which all legislation needs the support of a super majority to pass.

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-- Debt ceiling--why was new debt ceiling set do high? Answer: So it would get us through the 2012 election without having to come to a vote again, remindding voters of the runaway spending.
-- "Debt reduction commission": A means for Congress to brazenly abdicate their responsibility. Congress should do its job.
And in these instances its not really even "valid" concerns, but political concerns at issue. By your reasoning the minority party is using the filibuster to force frequent votes as a reminder of our runaway deficit and simultaneously using the filibuster to block a really effective way of reaching the compromises necessary to bring those deficits down.

And you support that line of thinking?
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Old 01-28-2010, 09:03 PM   #26
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. . . By your reasoning the minority party is using the filibuster to force frequent votes as a reminder of our runaway deficit . . .
And you support that line of thinking?
Yes.

I'd say the issue of the runaway national debt is at least as important as blocking the appointment of a judge. Harry Reid thought the later issue was worth actually using the filibuster. No sense in arbitrarily raising the bar on filibusters now--the tool is just as important as it ever was.

Anyway, to bring things back to the OP's question: Based on his State of the Union Speech, it sounds like President Obama doesn't want to go back to the drawing board on health care, preferring to press on with some version of the present creation.
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Old 01-29-2010, 02:59 PM   #27
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My personal belief is that we have become irreversibly polarized and -- if anything -- it's only going to get worse, and here's why.

I think the primary driver of this is that technology has created the small-d "democratization" of media, and it became feasible to get many alternative (and often strongly biased) "new media" outlets out there. Be it cable news, talk radio, bloggers, the Internet, you name it -- it's never been easier for a consumer of current events and analysis to avoid being forced to think outside their own ideological "comfort zone." The market share of the "old media" -- which, while not perfect, was much closer to unbiased and objective than most new media -- has dropped sharply as media sources with a decidedly partisan and ideological perspective have gained.

When all the "news" you read merely reinforces what you already believe, it becomes easier and easier to dismiss alternative viewpoints (and those who hold them) as stupid, evil or both. Lather, rinse, repeat. Our "team" good, their "team" bad. And I use the word "team" intentionally; rather than what's best for the country, it's all about my "team" winning over our hated rivals. We've become Yankees and Red Sox, Michigan and Ohio State, Alabama and Auburn.

It colors all the major debate points of our time, including health care. Perhaps even *especially* health care.

It's great that more points of view can get out there and we're not "hostage" to the big old media, but in hindsight they did a lot better job of being objective and non-partisan than the new media. So in the end, I'm not sure we're better off with a more fragmented, democratized and egalitarian media. And I sadly don't see ANY way out of that abyss.
Good post. I think there is a lot of truth to the idea that it's easier to live inside a partisan echo chamber today than it was 30 years ago.
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Old 01-29-2010, 03:13 PM   #28
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Agreed. While people choosing to read/listen to opinion pieces that confirm their world view is nothing new, at least in the past we were all exposed to the same fairly neutral set of facts and observations to serve as a point of departure. Now there's less and less of that. If people can't agree on the basic situation that needs fixing, there's there's less hope of building consensus for action.

A related tidbit: A new poll from Public Policy Polling found that of the TV networks Fox news was more trusted by Americans than any other network.
Now, some will view this as evidence that the American people are rubes and simpletons, and some will say that it is evidence that the other networks have lost the trust of Americans for various reasons.

But, then we have this from White House Communications Director Dan Pfeiffer:
Yep, this "boutique news" thing is not good for us.
I definitely agree with your first paragraph. The Greeks explained that you can't have a rational discussion unless you have some common ground for a starting place. Public policy discussions should at least start with some common set of "facts". If we believe the other guy's "news" show isn't reporting the facts, we can't start a discussion.

Regarding the poll, this is the section that jumped out at me:
Quote:
Predictably there is a lot of political polarization in which outlets people trust. 74% of Republicans trust Fox News, but no more than 23% trust any of the other four sources. We already knew that conservatives don't trust the mainstream media but this data is a good prism into just how deep that distrust runs.

For Democrats the numbers are a complete opposite- a majority trust all of ABC, CBS, CNN, and NBC while only 30% have faith in Fox News.
I see the polarization moving into the "free network" outlets. I expect that at one time 80% of Americans thought the big three networks presented facts accurately and tried to be even-handed. We've got an increasing number of people who only believe what "my favorite news show" says.
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Old 01-29-2010, 03:25 PM   #29
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I see the polarization moving into the "free network" outlets. I expect that at one time 80% of Americans thought the big three networks presented facts accurately and tried to be even-handed. We've got an increasing number of people who only believe what "my favorite news show" says.
And I think we are in a destructive positive feedback loop. As the audience for each network self-segregates by ideology, the network news folks become less likely to ask hard questions during interviews that are likely to alienate their viewers. So, Republican leaders get only softball questions from Fox, and the CBS interviews of Democrats sound like PR events for these politicians. And the newsmakers don't have to grant interviews to the "hostile" networks, preferring instead to play things safe. It used to be that if a politician wanted any air time at all, he had to risk getting asked a few tough questions. Not any more. That's bad for everybody.
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Old 01-29-2010, 09:00 PM   #30
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Yes.

I'd say the issue of the runaway national debt is at least as important as blocking the appointment of a judge.
But then for some reason you ignore the part about them blocking a commission designed to address the runaway national debt (deliberately editing out that part of my quote). It seems like actually addressing the problem should be more important than trying to embarrass your political opponent for not solving the problem. But its the height of cynicism to block the former while trying to force the later.
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Old 01-29-2010, 10:59 PM   #31
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But then for some reason you ignore the part about them blocking a commission designed to address the runaway national debt (deliberately editing out that part of my quote). It seems like actually addressing the problem should be more important than trying to embarrass your political opponent for not solving the problem. But its the height of cynicism to block the former while trying to force the later.
The commission is not designed to address the runaway national debt. Lawmakers could do that tomorrow without a new commission. The commission was a cynical attempt to provide political cover while facilitating tax increases. Shooting it down was the right thing to do.
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Old 01-30-2010, 07:00 AM   #32
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Since Congress was seated for the 2009 season the Democrats have had a super majority (and they still do) I don't see how anybody can be complaining that the Republicans have filibustered anything. It would have to be a bi-partisan event. Scott Brown hasn't taken his Senate seat yet.
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Old 01-30-2010, 07:36 AM   #33
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Let's try to stick to debate about the future of healthcare reform and avoid more generalized political mudslinging. Thanks.
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Old 01-30-2010, 08:10 AM   #34
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Originally Posted by Independent View Post

Regarding the poll, this is the section that jumped out at me:

Quote:
Predictably there is a lot of political polarization in which outlets people trust. 74% of Republicans trust Fox News, but no more than 23% trust any of the other four sources. We already knew that conservatives don't trust the mainstream media but this data is a good prism into just how deep that distrust runs.

For Democrats the numbers are a complete opposite- a majority trust all of ABC, CBS, CNN, and NBC while only 30% have faith in Fox News.
So for Republicans Fox is the only outlet on the planet that is honest, everyone else is part of a vast left wing conspiracy. Sounds like a paranoid mindset.
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Old 01-30-2010, 09:46 AM   #35
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So for Republicans Fox is the only outlet on the planet that is honest, everyone else is part of a vast left wing conspiracy. Sounds like a paranoid mindset.

Getting way off subject... and hopefully will not cause this to be shut down...

I watch Fox and ABC Sunday morning... the one hour political talk show... I don't see much difference between them...

Fox has a bunch of people who spout out their opinions at other times... and most seem to be 'conservative'... most are very conservative.. I don't watch... and I don't consider these 'news' sources... just like I don't consider 60 minutes or 20/20 or any of the other ones 'news' sources.. they are opinion sources, or entertainment programs.. with a political twist.. (or completely political like Rush... but I don't know if he is on TV anymore... have not cared to hear him in over a decade)....
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Old 01-30-2010, 09:49 AM   #36
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As to filibusters... have they really increase or have the other party forced them.. (and believe me... I don't know for sure)..

But from what I remember seeing many moons ago... if there were not enough votes to win a cloture vote... it was not taken... and if there were enough votes... I would bet the other side caved in instead of forcing it...

Now, it seems that one side or the other wants to get some kind of vote on record... so not sure if this is the reason... or the split is just getting wider and it is now more necessary....
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Old 01-30-2010, 11:49 AM   #37
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The commission is not designed to address the runaway national debt. Lawmakers could do that tomorrow without a new commission. The commission was a cynical attempt to provide political cover while facilitating tax increases. Shooting it down was the right thing to do.
The legislation said nothing about tax increases.

It set up an 18 member commission made up of democrats and republicans chosen by their respective leaderships to write legislation to address long-run deficits. I'm not sure why you prejudge the outcome. Paul Krugman is worried about the exact opposite outcome . . . Errors of Commission.

So if the right is worried that their sacred cow is going to get gored, and the left is worried that their priorities will be offered up to the deficit reduction gods, then the only rational conclusion to draw is that this bill has tremendous merit.
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Old 01-30-2010, 11:53 AM   #38
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As to filibusters... have they really increase or have the other party forced them.. (and believe me... I don't know for sure)..

Here's a short list of things filibustered recently. You be the judge.

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Reappointment of Fed Chief Ben Bernanke - filibustered
Raising the debt ceiling so the US doesn't default - filibustered
A Bipartisan deficit reduction commission- filibustered
Extending unemployment insurance - filibustered
2010 defense spending bill - filibustered
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Old 01-30-2010, 12:09 PM   #39
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Folks, this is starting to stray very far away from the health care reform debate and very much into general politics and partisanism.

Let's please return the discussion to health care reform, and any (civil) political discussion back to the relevant issue. That will help prevent an appearance from Porky. Thanks!
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Old 01-30-2010, 07:46 PM   #40
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Healthcare is done. Perhaps they could get in a few things if they would work together. Otherwise...jobs is next!

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