Wednesday, May 18, 2005

incipit Calvinball

Since the Republicans have their finger on the trigger as we speak, let's get clear on exactly what the nuclear option is. Matt explains:

the nuclear option isn't just ending judicial filibusters, it's ending them by breaking the rules of the Senate. That's unacceptable.

Or, to be more specific about how the rules of the Senate will be broken, here's The Hill:

A Congressional Research Service report on the subject, updated this month, leaves little doubt that moves being contemplated by Republicans — specifically a ruling that a supermajority requirement to cut off debate is not in order — would not be based on previous precedents of the Senate.

The rules say you need 60 votes to cut off debate. So the Chair will claim, over the objections of the parliamentarian, that the rules actually say you need 50. That's the point where you've abandoned the idea of a fixed system of rules. You're making them up as you go along. Basically, you're playing Calvinball.

If you're wondering who came up with the term "nuclear option", the answer is: Trent Lott. The current GOP term -- "constitutional option" was arrived at when the Republicans discovered that "nuclear option" didn't poll well. I'm not sure who first pointed out the similarity to Calvinball, but "Calvinball option" would've been a much more accurate term.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

You have won the Unofficial Lakoff Award for Excellent in Framing. Thanks!