Filibusters

So, the Democrats finally got fed up enough with the obstructions of the Republicans that they have gotten rid of the filibuster for executive nominations outside of the Supreme Court. Kevin Drum has a post with three charts that show how bad it has gotten (I have a post that gives the number of filibusters here). The Boston Globe article throws this in:

Republicans also warned that Thursday’s provocation would spill over into other issues, preventing cooperation at a time when major budget and key defense issues are on the agenda.

The problem is that Republicans haven’t been cooperating at all, so there’s not much to lose for Democrats. Let me repeat my line from the end of this post:

President Obama was easily elected on a platform centered on national healthcare, near the beginning of the worst recession in 70 years brought on be reckless and illegal actions. Still, Republicans were not willing to negotiate with him at all on national healthcare, regulating the banks, or helping end the recession.

On a side note, today is the 50th anniversary of the assassination of President Kennedy. I was born earlier in the year so obviously don’t remember it directly but it does still have relevance to today:

However much Dallas wanted to distance itself from its “city of hate” label, the reputation did not surface in a vacuum. The early 1960s saw a strident, extreme brand of conservatism emerge in Dallas, which retained vestiges of the Jim Crow, segregated South amid a growing, national civil rights movement.

“It was a toxic element. Unfortunately, it became visible,” said Val Imm Bashour, society editor of the Dallas Times Herald in 1963. “It’s like all things that are radical. You know, it’s sort of like the bombings that you all had in Boston. There are just these elements that get carried away and will do anything that they feel accomplishes their purpose.”

Bashour saw one of the most publicized episodes of that vitriol firsthand, less than a month before Kennedy’s visit.

While Bashour interviewed Adlai Stevenson, the US ambassador to the United Nations, one of 100 angry protesters used a sign to strike the two-time Democratic nominee for president on the head. Another spat at him.

After the assault, Stevenson was heard to say, “Are these human beings, or are these animals?”

The spasms of hate did not target only Northerners deemed too liberal, or socialist, or even Communist by extremists in a city that had become a Southwestern headquarters for the radical-right John Birch Society.

Three years earlier, after Senator Lyndon B. Johnson of Texas had agreed to become Kennedy’s running mate, he and his wife, Lady Bird, were accosted by a screaming crowd as they arrived at the Adolphus Hotel here.

Nearby stood Representative Bruce Alger, a Republican from Dallas, hoisting a sign that read, “LBJ Sold Out to Yankee Socialists.”

It shows that there have always been radical right conservatives who would try almost anything to stop the liberal agenda (not anything, Oswald had nothing to do with them). Kennedy was trying to get a national health plan passed (Medicare) just as Obama did, they called Kennedy the same type of names that they do Obama (socialist, un-American (since he was Catholic)) and there was even a right-wing party that was making waves (the John Birch Society back then). There are differences (for example, the conservatives back then were almost as likely to be Democrats), but it’s good to remember that we got past it–of course, the country got worse for awhile with Vietnam and Watergate, but ignore that for now.

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