Reason 590364873820376293846473829364 why you shouldn’t believe anything Ezra Klein writes…Evah!
Ezra Klein in 2005 praising Dems for fighting agaist the nuclear option:
I think the national Dems have been doing pretty well in the coming debate over the “nuclear option” on judicial nominations. Let me offer a few humble thoughts.
In a debate like this, in which the issues at stake are reasonably removed from what most voters think about every day, Lakoff-inspired framing is of unusual importance. Language is, as someone important once said, a key mechanism of control. To that end, here are a few excerpts from George Mitchell’s Democratic radio address that are worth examing (I can’t find the complete transcript; lemme know if you can):
“They call it their ‘nuclear option.’ It’s an apt name because it will destroy any hope of bipartisanship and permanently change the Senate for the worse.”
Yes, the “nuclear option” (I can’t decide if it would piss people off to call it the “nucular option”) remains a great frame, and the GOP hates it. It makes it sound like the GOP is attacking the Democratic party, and is using quasi-violent and extreme measures that should only be used as a last resort. So it should be used as often as possible.
You might have seen that various conservatives are trying to rename the “nuclear option” the “constitutional option.” It’s dumb frame, and it should be ceaselessly ridiculed. Indeed, the term “constitutional option” is so vague as to be meaningless. Apparently, the cons who are propogating the term relying on Article 1, Section 5, Clause 2 of the US Constitution:
Each House may determine the Rules of its Proceedings[…]
Sure, the constitution says that the Senate can change its rules, but it can also keep the ones that it has. So keeping the current rules is just as “constitutional” an option as changing them is. In fact, anything the Senate does, as long as it falls under the purview of their constitutional duties, is, a priori, a “constitutional option.” It’s a transparently dumb frame. They might as well have called it the “American option” or the “Congress option.” How about the “Operation Senatorial Freedom option”? That would go over well. They should try the “freedom fries option.” Maybe people would buy it this time around.
Fast-forward to 2011 and Ezra is all about the Dems using the Nuclear option and calling it the “constitutional option”
If you can’t manage the 60 votes to overcome a filibuster, you can’t manage the 67 votes to change the rules and end the filibuster. At least in theory.
But in practice, there’s another path open to the Senate’s growing ranks of reformers: The so-called “constitutional option,” which is being pushed particularly hard by Sen. Tom Udall, but is increasingly being seen as a viable path forward by his colleagues.
The constitutional option gets its name from Article I, Section V of the Constitution, which states that “Each House may determine the Rules of its Proceedings.” In order to fulfill this constitutional order, the Senate must be able to, well, determine its rules. A filibuster, technically, is a way to stop the Senate from determining something by refusing to allow it to move to a vote. Because stopping the Senate from considering its own rules would be unconstitutional, the chair can rule against the filibuster, and the Senate could then move to change its rules on a majority vote.
One caveat: Many people, including Udall himself, believe this has to happen at the beginning of a new Congress. If it doesn’t happen at the beginning of a new Congress, then Congress is considered to have acquiesced to the previous Congress’s rules, and a filibuster against further rule changes wouldn’t interrupt the constitutional right to determine the rules.
This is not a radical theory, or a partisan one: Both Richard Nixon, then the vice president and thus the president of the Senate, and Robert Byrd, then majority leader and considered the greatest parliamentarian to ever walk the chamber, have argued in favor of the constitutional option.
Now today The Senate’s new rules:
The Democrats changed the Senate last night. Not a lot. Not in a way you’re likely to notice, or that is even likely to affect anything. But they changed it. They showed it could be done, that the rules of the place weren’t written on stone tablets and handed down from a fiery mountain.
But the Senate plainly doesn’t work, and even if some of the members of the body have trouble admitting that, these constant eruptions of near-reform and procedural brinksmanship aren’t going to end until the two parties get together to change the rules in a significant way or one party, using the nuclear option or a close variant, decides to change the rules on its own.
What a complete joke! Way to be consistent you cur.