America is like an alcoholic that finally “hit bottom,” and is ready to try and dry out. Seduced by Svengali-style politicians, the world’s leading democracy had sunk into a debauched political lifestyle where the Big Spenders were allowed to indulge their excesses. Politicians were bought and sold like livestock, and professional opinion manipulators deceived the public with their dark science.
But the resulting corruption and chaos became too blatant to be ignored, and the majority of America’s voters decided they’d had enough – more than enough. Recoiling from the abuses to which they were being subjected, they shook off a billion dollars worth of advertising and turned their backs on the Romney-Ryan charivaria.
In the process, a vanguard of reformers got voted into office. Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren (speaking in photo above) is one of them.
Ms. Warren is no stranger to Washington. She created the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau two years ago and sought to become its director, but she was so fiercely opposed by Republican senators (who were beholden to Wall Street donors) that President Obama felt it would be futile to nominate her. Now, she’s back – with a vengeance.
Ms. Warren has already planted her flag with a pledge to fight the filibuster on “day one.” The Republican minority in the Senate has been using a bizarre filibuster rule to block every effort the president makes to revive the sagging economy. Their obstructionism has been easy because senators could kill a bill simply by declaring their intent to filibuster it. Ms. Warren wants to make them stand up and actually talk the bill to death the way “Mr. Smith” did in that great old movie.
Here’s how she explains her position in a report circulated today by Reader Supported News:
Senate Republicans have used this type of filibuster 380 times since the Democrats took over the majority in 2006. We’ve seen filibusters to block judicial nominations, jobs bills, political transparency, ending Big Oil subsidies – you name it, there’s been a filibuster.
We’ve seen filibusters of bills and nominations that ultimately passed with 90 or more votes. Why filibuster something that has that kind of support? Just to slow down the process and keep the Senate from working.
I saw the impact of these filibusters at the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. Forty-five senators pledged to filibuster any nominee to head that new consumer agency, regardless of that person’s qualifications. After I left the agency, they tried to hold Richard Cordray’s nomination vote hostage until the Senate agreed to weaken the agency to the point where it could no longer hold the big banks and credit card companies accountable.
That’s not open debate – that’s paralyzing progress
Ms. Warren could succeed in ending the filibuster abuse. And if she succeeds, one of the greatest stumbling blocks to American progress – Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell – would be disarmed. The Kentucky Republican would lose his power to frustrate the president and thwart the will of the people.
Of course, there are still a few Blue Dog Democrats left who could get in the way. And some world-weary old Democrats might decide to keep the absurd filibuster rule for their own use when they become the minority in the Senate. But I’m sure that even these retreads heard the voters’ message:
America is sick and tired of the games you people play! Get with the program. Or get out.
And I am sure the public isn’t going to turn back now. The re-election of President Obama has given Americans new hope, and they’re ready to press on. The billionaires have been beaten. The bigots are in retreat. The racists are gnashing their teeth in frustration.
It’s a favorable climate for Congressional reform. And Ms. Warren is just the one to lead the charge.
Of course, the campaign isn’t over. We the people have to remain engaged, and we have to let our standard bearers in Congress know we’re paying attention.
And, remember, there are mid-term elections in 2014. We can finish the job then by ridding Congress of the debris left over from the past election.