Harry Reid talked a big game about taking apart the filibuster leading up to his Grand Bargain with Mitch McConnell. The Kentucky senator now promises to play nice. But like Lucy holding the football for Charlie Brown, he has once again snookered the hapless Majority Leader.
Current rules allow the mere threat of a filibuster to bring proposed legislation to a halt. This is contrary to the intent of the filibuster and needs to be changed. It's one thing to have checks and balances but an entirely different matter when arcane rules are used for partisan obstructionism.
The Founders deliberately made it challenging for one set of interests to dominate. Thus, delay, frustration and inaction are built into the system. One doubts, however, they expected this degree of dysfunction. More importantly, the American people are disgusted with it.
Friendships are a life raft, especially as we get older. We need positive, supportive, caring people around us -- people who cheer if we get a book deal, who call to ask how we're feeling after a doctor's appointment and who won't lace into us about the debt ceiling.
It's just not worth it. And if you don't believe me, just ask the people of Furtei in Sardinia, Italy.
Okay. Bent over. Hands on knees. Breathing hard. Whew. Made it. "Pant. Pant." For a while there, didn't seem like it'd ever happen, but somehow we mercifully staggered across the annum finish line finally placing 2012 irrevocably in the rear view mirror.
We are going to use our Friday Talking Points this week to point out why this deal is not just a pretty darn good one, but actually downright historic.
Once again, we anticipate that the chained-CPI will be thrust into the discussion even though Social Security doesn't add a penny to the debt. Imposing huge, unnecessary cuts on current and future beneficiaries would not change by even a day when the nation hits the debt limit.
The elected officials that represent the American people are losing sight of what matters in the sake of their political views. The American electorate and economy is what needs to be in full view and primary consideration.
There is a chance to reform the filibuster in January, with a proposal to "make them talk." Will the Charlie Browns in the Senate let Lucy pull away the football yet again? As George W. Bush said, "Fool me once, shame on -- shame on you. Fool me -- you can't get fooled again."
Amid all the talk about filibuster reform, perhaps you've thought to yourself: "If filibusters are such a problem, why don't I ever see any news reports about senators talking through the night, holding up Senate business in protest?"
Without reform, we've witnessed 386 silent filibusters during Sen. Harry Reid's six years as majority leader. Lyndon B. Johnson served six years as Senate majority leader with one filibuster.
As folks inside the beltway battle over the fiscal showdown, it gave me pause to think what this fight is really all about. And it all boils down to if you believe in community or not.
If the U.S. Congress can't even move off its own use of dirty energy -- so symbolically small -- is it any wonder that the annual UN climate talks result in such pathetic action?
Unless the Senate fixes the filibuster at the start of the next Congress, the growing list of crucial national issues to resolve will continue to languish in a Senate where nothing gets done.
Mitch McConnell, the minority leader of the U.S. Senate, has for six years wielded the filibuster as a weapon in his rebellion against a founding principle of the United States of America -- self-governance by majority rule. The majority must seize back control.