Thursday, April 29, 2010


The financial reform debate has raged over the past few days. Republicans have been yelling "We will not allow this to pass". Democrats countering with "Look, what if we ask pretty please." Republicans: "This bill institutionalizes bailouts and is fundamentally un-American. It shall not pass" Democrats: "Maybe if you just negotiated with us a little more. I'm sure there are some concession we could make..." Republicans: "No! We are making our stand! We are unanimously united! Unless we are allowed to make drastic changes to this bill behind closed doors, we will filibuster until the sun burns out!" Democrats: "Well, if that's the way you feel... I guess we'll wheel out the cots and force you to filibuster this thing for real." Republicans: "On second thought....
"Without a single objection, Republicans tonight dropped their three day filibuster of financial reform legislation, agreeing unanimously to debate the Democrats' bill on the Senate floor.

Though clearly a big defeat for the Republicans, their line tonight is that they endured this week's political maelstrom for a substantive reason: to allow Sen. Richard Shelby (R-AL) to extract as many concessions out of Banking Committee Chairman Chris Dodd as he could. When Dodd said no more, they relented.
That's all well and good for the GOP to try to coach their relenting on the filibuster as some calculated policy to try to get concessions or a desire to finally get the bill to the floor and make changes For The Good Of The American People, but do you know why the Republicans didn't want to filibuster? One: they were actually going to have to filibuster, not just block a vote and have to put up with a sighing Harry Reid whimpering "C'mon you guys...".

Secondly, Senate Minority Leader and Kentucky Bourbon swiller Mitch McConnell had some important business to get to that he didn't want disrupted by a filibuster: he wanted to go get fucked up on mint juleps surrounded by millionaires and women in overly large hats at the Kentucky Derby. In addition, many influential Republicans, like Richard Shelby (who was trying to negotiate with Dodd over the bill in committee), had fundraisers that were going to be disrupted by the Senate filibuster procedures Reid was forcing.

So let that be a reminder to you, when our elected betters clamor on about The Best Interests of America and This Will Not Stand and Defeat By Any Means Necessary, what they really mean is that they'll oppose something right up untl the point where it'll make them reschedule a trip to suck cash out of donors and miss drinking whisky while watching midgets beat horses. You may know it by another word: principles.

So now the bill finally moves to the Senate floor where everyone has jokingly remarked that they will "improve the bill". Well, there's a first time for everything. I think what they meant to say was "filibuster meaningful changes and maybe sneak in a few loopholes that will cause the next crisis." I'm sure they'll succeed in that area.

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