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Response to JoePhilly (Reply #56)

Tue Jan 5, 2016, 05:46 PM

61. Can you believe the ignorance coming from people who claim to be well informed? A favorite talking

point of the rightwing is that "he had a majority in both houses". There are majorities, and then there are veto proof majorities. It's been pointed out time & again that he only had that for "72 days", and yet it's repeated ad nauseum by "informed" people who should know better.


The Myth of the Filibuster-Proof Democratic Senate

September 11, 2012 by Andy Cohen

Republicans have magically, mystically turned 72 days into two full years.

Weíve heard it over and over and over again. Mitch McConnell has gleefully used it as a cudgel. Congressional Republicans typically canít wait to get their mugs on camera to tell America just how inept Congressional Democrats are in order to aid their case that they should be put back in power. After all, Democrats couldnít get anything done even with a 60 vote, filibuster-proof majority in the United States Senate during the first two years of the Obama administration. Democrats had almost complete control of the Congress to go with the newly inaugurated Democrat to take up residence at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, and they couldnít manage to address the major issues of the day.

It sounds good and it surely gets the far right wing base riled up. But it has very little basis in reality. That hasnít stopped Republicans and their official media apparatus, Fox News, from repeating the nonsense.

Remember that Minnesota Senatorial election in 2008? The one that pitted former SNL writer/cast member and Air America Radio host Al Franken against Republican incumbent Norm Coleman? That race dragged on forever, resulting in several challenges and recounts until the Minnesota Supreme Court finally concluded on June 30th, 2009, that Franken was indeed the winner. Franken wasnít sworn into office until July 7th, 2009, a full six months after the 111th Congress had taken charge.

But even thatís not entirely accurate, and the Dems didnít have a consistent, reliable 58 votes. Massachusetts Senator Ted Kennedy was terminally ill with a brain tumor, and could only muster up the energy to vote on selected legislation. His presence could not be counted on, and thus his vote in the Senate could not be counted on. During the first year of the Obama presidency, due to his illness Kennedy missed 261 out of a possible 270 votes in the Senate, denying the Democrats the 60th vote necessary to break a filibuster. In March of 2009, he stopped voting altogether. It wasnít until Kennedy passed away in late August, 2009, and an interim successor was named on September 24th, 2009, that the Democrats actually had 60 votes.

And even then the 60 vote supermajority was tenuous at best. At the time, then 91 year old Robert Byrd from West Virginia was in frail health. During the last 6 months of 2009, Byrd missed 128 of a possible 183 votes in the Senate. Byrd passed away on June 28, 2010 at the age of 92.


http://sandiegofreepress.org/2012/09/the-myth-of-the-filibuster-proof-democratic-senate/


Next time you hear someone at DU making that claim, just know that it's a rightwing talking point, that's been adopted by this President's foes, on the left (allegedly) & the right.

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