filibuster

Something About Dana Milbank

One of the most entertaining, yet simultaneously most stupidly dangerous, maneuvers in news and commentary media is trying to make a point while pretending to offer serious analysis. The obvious response to Dana Milbank’s incendiary, idiotic reflection on the U.S. Senate is to simply shrug and wonder why The Washington Post consents to publish such trash.

It would be nice to say: Okay, Dana, you’re on: If you’re wrong, will you quit your job at WaPo and never write political commentary again? Except, of course, we can’t expect that kind of integrity from Milbank, and, quite truthfully, we shouldn’t.

He’s not actually a reporter, or even an “opinion writer”, anymore. He is a craftsman of sorts, though, scrawling out columns that, hopefully, will attract readers and get his newspaper some attention.

Dana Milbank“Congress is broken,” Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid said Thursday before holding a party-line vote that disposed of rules that have guided and protected the chamber since 1789.

If Congress wasn’t broken before, it certainly is now. What Reid (Nev.) and his fellow Democrats effectively did was take the chamber of Congress that still functioned at a modest level and turn it into a clone of the other chamber, which functions not at all. They turned the Senate into the House.

Right. Whatever you say, Dana. Because a Senate chamber in which the Minority Leader filibusters his own bill, freshman backbenchers stage a coup in the House of Representatives, power players boast of their bad faith, and Republicans flee their own policies because it’s more important to bring the president to failure than actually serve the nation isn’t already a macabre exercise in dysfunction and futility.

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Annoying

Okay, this is … annoying.

Maybe in journalistic circles, it’s not quite like hanging out with mystery writers. Maybe in journalistic circles, certain tacit assumptions are safe. But even among professional writers, some assumptions aren’t safe, which leaves me wondering yet again about those people to whom writing is some sort of odd inconvenience unless they’re scrawling out a grocery list or a gift tag.

The Senate voted to change the chamber’s rules to exempt executive and most judicial branch nominees from filibusters, effectively lowering the threshold for confirmation to 51 votes. The modification does not affect Supreme Court nominees.

(Bolton)

That is to say, I can certainly look at Alexander Bolton’s paragraph for The Hill and know what the internal workings amount to. There are plenty who can. But there are also plenty who are not so fortunate, and they appear to be the majority.

In changing Senate rules, Democrats are “effectively lowering the threshold for confirmation to 51 votes”, as Bolton explains. In other words: In changing Senate rules, Democrats are reiterating the longstanding majority vote for confirmation.

For those who attend the political discourse more closely or habitually, it might seem a pedantic correction. But there are also those who know exactly why it’s important.

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