There is an unfortunate item in today’s Times showing that Sen. Reid is ready to drop the assault weapons ban and that the entire gun control package may be jeopardized.
I find it funny that the spineless jellyfish we call our Senate Majority Leader was once known as a prize fighter. Hard to see how many bouts he could’ve won since all he seems to do in the Senate is throw in the towel before a fight.
The Times Andrew Rosenthal has more:
Nonetheless, the dismissal of the assault weapons ban shows the power that gun lobbies like the National Rifle Association continue to hold over senior Democrats, including Harry Reid of Nevada, the majority leader, who made the decision. The contrast to the political courage displayed by the governor of Colorado, John Hickenlooper, could not be more clear.
Defying outrage from Republicans and gun lobbyists, Mr. Hickenlooper is planning to sign on Wednesday a ban on magazines greater than 15 rounds, along with a background-check bill. Colorado has a large population of gun owners, and Mr. Hickenlooper is up for re-election next year
Takes a lot more courage for Gov. Hickenlooper to come out for gun control on the eve of another midterm that will be touch on Dems. It takes a lot more courage than it would for Reid to finally lead.
This is what a Majority Leader should do.
How can the grassroots move forward and put pressure? How do we make sure our next junior Senator picks up the ball and runs with it?
Harry Reid epitomizes why I contribute to NO national party organizations. I must say that Harry Reid, at the national level, reminds me of Mr. DeLeo here at home.
I am nauseated each time I read of the GOP filibustering President Obama’s nominees (not mention his political agenda). We could have and should have disabled that weapon, and I will always believe that Mr. Reid personally sabotaged filibuster reform for his own purposes.
It is preposterous that we allow the seventeen voters of Nevada to hold such power over the nation’s future.
I’m not sure what the best next move is. Here’s what my gut tells me, though — follow the money.
It’s sad. Sometimes he shows flashes of being a fighter, but they’re rare and usually don’t last very long.
I was reading today that Finland has a law where if a certain number of people sign a petition, it forces a vote on a bill. I could be down with that, even if the signatures required in the United States was very high. It wasn’t particularly high in Finland, but they’re weird and cool like that.
Mark L. Bail says
of the population of New York City.
You think our government is incapable of counting signatures to see if it makes a threshold, because we have more people living here? We count signatures all the time.
I’m sure if we ever decided to enact something like what Finland’s done, we could even institute some tech-savvy policy to make it easier.
The White House petition system has had some great successes and some pretty glaring failures in direct democracy (Death Stars to secessions)
Mark L. Bail says
sure. It can be done. You have a lot of red states that may opt out or throw a roadblock. It’s easier to get a consensus with a mostly homogenous, miniscule population than it is in our country.
Quote from Sen Reid
He said that ‘‘using the most optimistic numbers,’’ there were less than 40 votes for Feinstein’s ban. That is far less than the 60 votes needed to begin considering legislation, and an indication that Reid feared that including the assault weapons ban in the main guns bill would risk getting the votes needed to begin debate.
“The votes weren’t there” is the excuse of a leader who can’t lead.
The fact that you so casually write about “the 60 votes needed to begin considering legislation” is what I’m talking about — I think that a simple majority is all that’s needed.
is what, unfortunately, being a member of a legislature is about.
The is the Ed O’Reilly line. Somehow by presence and force of eloquence we can get leopards to change their spots and Republicans to vote in a manner that will guarantee they’ll lose to a primary challenge from their right. Yes, Mark Antony does give a great speech in Julius Caesar that sways the crowd. That probably happens all the time on television dramas.
In the real world? Not so much.
While the Green Lantern can just think of something and have his alien ring form it… we can’t expect real life legislators to do this. “Leading with leadership” is not a mechanism for change.
If Harry Reid accomplishes background check legislation then that is progress.
And we can start talking about an assault weapons buyback program (because DiFi’s ban would have left millions of terrible weapons out there in the personal arsenals of the NRA where the mentally ill can get them) when enough grassroots supporters are willing to surround FOX News HQ so that Sean Hannity can’t find his way into the building.
Did they never hear of a whip? We should send DeLeo and Murray down there for a remedial course.
No Marc Antony speech needed. Last I checked the Democrats held 55 of 100 Senate seats. The Republicans are completely not relevant to what Harry Reid brings to the floor, except for Harry Reid’s failure to reform the over-abused filibuster. He should bring it to the floor anyway and make them own their vote. If the GOP wants to be the party that filibustered gun control, that’s their problem.
Dems like Manchin who oppose the ban can vote yes on cloture if they’re so sure the ban doesn’t have majority support. Make the filibuster an exclusive GOP thing.
I am with you on filibuster reform–we wouldn’t be having this conversation if we had good reforms. This bill certainly deserves an up or down vote.
I would just say, though, that I get the sense Reid didn’t push for filibuster reform because he’s thinking about what happens in 2015. In the 2014 elections, 21 Democrats are up for re-election/have an open seat, many in deep red states: Alaska, South Dakota, West Virginia, and Arkansas. Plus, Minnesota (which Al Franken won by the skin of his teeth) is up, as is New Hanpshire (safe but not a given) and Iowa (ditto.) under the right circumstances, with strong GOP candidates who don’t go around talking about how women can “shut that whole thing down,” there’s a path to a GOP Senate. If that should happen, wouldn’t you want a filibuster to stop whatever awful bills the Senate would pass with the gerrymandered GOP house? I’m thinking Reid figures he takes the hit on this and other important issues so that we have some leverage down the road.
Because if the Republicans win the Senate, and the Democrats filibuster with any regularity, the Republicans will end the filibuster as we know it. They will not still be hemming and hawing at the beginning of their seventh year in control.
We’ve already seen this play, from 1995-2006 (with a few months’ intermission thanks to Jim Jeffords). Democrats filibustered, Republicans howled, and a “Gang of 14” reached a true DC-style compromise: Republicans agreed not to abolish the filibuster and Democrats agreed not to use it. And thanks to that we have Roberts and Alito. And Citizens United, and individual second amendment rights for the first time ever. And, coming soon, no Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act.
I have no illusions that Reid will use his “leverage down the road” or that the GOP would let him.
I don’t think anybody proposed to remove the filibuster. The proposed reform was, instead, to make it a “talking” filibuster — such as we recently saw by Rand Paul. I note that Mr. Paul delayed the vote by a total of thirteen hours. What we have now is a mail-in filibuster — no talking required. The “mail-in” filibuster is the practice that Harry Reid absolutely should have ended, and replaced with a talking filibuster.
The damage already done by the GOP, and the damage they are doing right now, is far worse than any speculated gains that some imagined “leverage” might have “down the road”. We’re so far “down the road” into GOP la-la-land already that I think we need to turn back right now.
And while I disagreed with some of what Sen. Paul said, and agreed with parts of it, overall I appreciated that at least someone on that side cares enough about an issue to debate it. McConnell abuses it as a tactic to keep political score. And Reid should be dumped and replaced by someone with the balls to actually be a majority leader as in lead the majority of the Senate to actually govern. As Fenway, STom, and others pointed out, the second we lose the Senate is the second they eliminate the filibuster without consulting with us.
If floor debate begins, they need only one person on the floor to invoke the filibuster, and doing so delays a vote for a week. It eats up time and prevents the Senate from getting to other legislation. As a practical result, to avoid this time loss, Reid doesn’t even open debate in many cases. McConnell essentially sends Reid a text (“Fili”) and it never comes to the floor (as with assault weapons ban).
They should have changed that the first week of 2007. At least in 2009, with a Dem President coming in and a GOP Senate caucus that had proven it intended to obstruct. Not doing it in 2011? Unconscionable. And 2013? Now it seems like they don’t want to get anything done.
Get the GOP on record for arming terrorists, cop
Killers and child killers and run ads with Bloombergs money against every Republican AND Democrat who votes against it. That’s what LBJ would do, he tied every Republican to Goldwater and literally cleaned house. The polls show 95% of Americans support universal background checks, 85% support clip limits, 60-70% support assault bans. You think that a majority of Senators would be enough to get what the majority of Americans want, but Reid lets McConnell bully him around. Some prizefighter.
but in ourselves. We need to increase our grassroots efforts to show our power. My statehouse rep has gotten more letters/emails from the NRA opposing Gov. Patrick’s eminently Constitutional bill to limit gun purchases to 1 per month. The people who support loose guns overwhelmed a Westford town meeting.
LBJ certainly did achieve change toward make America a great society, but he passed laws with unbelievable grassroots pressure FOR those laws.
As you said, the grassroots needs to pick up the ball, so let’s do it.
Don’t forget, Harry Reid delivered on repealing Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell. Have we, the Americans who favor gun safety, organized and pushed the way the GLBTQ community did? Not yet.
I’d have agreed with your statement in, say, 2005 or even 2010, but now? People are more revved up in passing a gun safety bill now than they’ve been in generations, and yeah… there is lots of grassroots movement on it now. Is it as organized as it should be? Probably not, but Rome wasn’t built in a day.
Let’s not to a disservice to all the passionate people who are fighting for universal background checks and limits on clips, etc., by ignoring the hard work they are putting in on this issue.
I think the NRA uses dollars to muscle cowardly legislators, far more than phone calls. Senator Reid is betraying the voters of his party.
Harry Reid failed to even attempt, never mind promote, filibuster reform. Every leader has carrots and sticks to offer, and the whining that “I just don’t have the votes” suggests — by construction — that either our legislators have been corrupted by NRA leverage or that Mr. Reid has failed to assert the necessary leverage or both.
According to polls like this, an overwhelming majority of self-professed US democrats support an assault weapons ban. Select “Party ID” in the “show results”: SEVENTY SEVEN PERCENT of Democrats support a ban, while only twenty percent oppose it.
Our Democratic “leader” is voting against the opinion of SEVENTY SEVEN PERCENT of the party he “leads”. When a measure that has such overwhelming support can’t even be brought to the floor, then our political system is broken.
I generally agree with jconway above: it’s a good idea to get Republicans on record voting on the less popular side.
However, I take emphatic issue with somervilletom. One problem with polling results is that there are some issues people will base their votes on and some that they’ll forget. Unfortunately, gun hobbyists tend to be particularly passionate about this one, and gun control advocates, by and large, aren’t.
Now I’m sure I could have stated this more emphatically.
I’ll try to use less emphasis in the future. I guess I do get carried away from time to time.
and after myriad deadly attacks, most importantly Newtown, I think a large number of them may just be emphatic.
Past is not always prologue.
I appreciate the constructive criticism form you and KBusch, its not a West Wing episode where Obama can just say a self righteous speech and fix the world, I more than post people here understood that early on. But LBJ made it politically painful to oppose him and he corralled his opposition early and found ways via carrots and sticks to get them to his side. Thats called leadership. Having a vote to show where the Senate stands and using that to get people on the record supporting arming terrorists and child killers, actually say they are supporting arming terrorists and child killers (I have no moral qualms about pulling a Cleland against Republicans and DINOs-particularly when its factually true) , and throw Bloomberg’s and Brady’s money at the offenders.
Its worked in Illinois. We would’ve had a pro NRA Democrat elected in my district out here to replace Jesse Jackson and instead Bloomberg wiped her out, endorsed her most viable challenger, and now we have an NRA fighter in Congress instead of an enabler. It will happen again in the IL-3 which is why Lipinski is begging for the Vatican ambassadorship. It should definitely happen in MA, I totally agree to start local and call your reps and senators. I’ve emailed mine. We can definitely get Cuomo style control in MA. But we still have NH and VT on our border with lax controls, which is why we need the feds.
Also a gun buy back is a much better idea and it was the reason Howard’s control efforts in Australia were so much better. A lot easier for ‘govment’ to take guns away when its respecting your property rights and compensating fairly.
is needed to end debate, not begin it.
This is precisely what’s wrong with DC today, when because of the filibuster, we have politicians like Reid deciding we can’t even *talk* about a bill.
Let’s put the bill on the floor and embarrass the Republicans. Sure, it may not pass the Senate, but it was never going to pass anyway, given the House.
This is about advocating for the issue… and we’re never going to make any headway if we don’t publicly shame the Republicans for their recalcitrance where it’ll hurt the most, on the floor.
When the Republicans had majorities during the GWB era, they did this kind of stuff all the time — putting things on the floor that were never going to go anywhere, but would whip up votes for them on election day. That stuff, like it or not, works.
Winning does. Even incrementally one step at a time, witness the gay rights movement that morphed into a gay, lesbian, transsexual and bisexual movement in a mere 50 years.
And my colleagues in the gun control movements understand that. And they are struggling to build a
Majoritarian coalition every hour of every day at the local, state and federal level.
I’m frankly amazed and grateful to the good people in Nevada for turning old Harry around.
And I’m a little worried that an amendment on assault weapons will allow some our Democratic friends get off the hook by being for the sun question and no on the eminent.
Vote yes on Main question and no on the
What makes for better PR?
“Weak-kneed Democrats give up on background checks and other items vast majority of America agrees with because they’re weak-kneed.”
“Recalcitrant GOP, Party of No, says no to stopping another Newtown.”
I watched CNN the night this went down. Guess which way they covered the story?
And that’s to say nothing of the fact that, yes, beating up Republicans by making them take bad votes is a winning strategy.
If we don’t give Americans clear contrasts — even if the bills won’t pass because of Republican recalcitrance — we’re not giving them a reason to vote for us. Putting our good ideas up for votes hurts the GOP brand, and it helps Democratic challengers in individual races by giving them some more tools to run against the Republican incumbent.
The do-nothing strategy you argue for has been employed in DC for decades. It doesn’t work.
Meanwhile, we know that putting things up for votes works by looking at Republicans. They’ve done that to us countless times when they were in charge of the House, often on bills that were never going to pass the Senate because of the filibuster (or because we controlled the Senate — depending on the year).
Whether you like it or not, those votes did help them, by revving up their base, and very well may have hurt us.
Republicans have seen their strategy backfire a little of late, but only because they’ve argued for unpopular bills (See Ryan Budget.)
(when they were more competent and knew enough to push bills that were popular)
It was called the Federal Marriage Amendment and it got the base out to vote in 2002 and 2004. I think this issue can get the base out to vote in 2014, AND polling shows it has overwhelming support from independents and swing voters too. Record the vote, and then run Daisy style ads with Newtown kids juxtaposed with ‘Senator/Congressman X voted to arm *picture of Lanza, Holmes, Lochner*-vote for your family’s security-vote against Senator/Congressmen X’. Is it tasteless and cynical-yes. And you know what its how the right has won the battle for 40 years, lets fight back and win the war.
It’s true. These legislators are the main reason why we have so much more gun violence than countries with different laws. I have little sympathy for a politician who uses something like a filibuster to keep sensible gun regulations even from reaching an up-or-down vote.
Not beanbag, you know.