Tag Archives: filibuster

Sen. Cruz denies the obvious

Someone will have to pass the smelling salts to me. I must have been in a stupor the past year or so.

Either that or U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz is utterly delusional.

I’ll go with the latter for now.


Cruz is a Texas Republican who has denied playing a role in shutting the government down over a fight about the Affordable Care Act. He said at Texas Tribune Fest that the “blame” belongs to President Obama and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid. Cruz’s role in that debacle? He says he didn’t have any role to play.

Huh? Cruz’s Republican colleague in the Senate, fellow Texan John Cornyn, said otherwise.

So has every observer of Capitol Hill — Democrat, Republican, independent, media observers — said that Cruz was a key player in the shutdown.

He filibustered against the ACA trying to repeal it. Didn’t he do that?

Of course, Cruz blamed the media — which he said sides with Democrats — for the characterizations attached to the junior senator. According to a blog posted by the San Antonio Express-News: “Remarking that Republicans are usually criticized as either crazy or evil, Cruz said he took it as ‘somewhat of a back-handed compliment that the press has invented a third caricature of me, which is crazy.’”

Well, he’s not crazy. Almost everything he’s done publicly since joining the Senate in January 2013, though, reveals a burning ambition. He’s been out front on high-profile issues almost from Day One of his still-young Senate tenure. He ignores Senate decorum. He’s drawn the ire of fellow Republicans as well as Democrats.

Now he says he had nothing to do with the government shutdown.

The young man possesses some serious hubris.

Senate GOP demonstrates its petulance

U.S. Senate Republicans angry over Democrats’ changing of the rules regarding filibusters have decided to let their Democratic “friends” do all the work of the Senate just before the start of the Christmas recess.

That’ll teach those Democrats, by golly.


Plans call for GOP senators to be absent over the weekend, except for perhaps one senator who can raise any objections over procedural matters. However, when it comes time to vote on President Obama’s nominees for various executive positions or judgeships, Democrats — who control a majority of the Senate — are on their own.

Seems that Republicans are still steamed over Democrats’ change of the cloture rule that used to require 60 votes to end a filibuster, which Republicans had employed regularly over Obama nominations. The new rule now enables senators to curtail a filibuster with just 51 votes.

Democrats and independents who vote with them number 55 in the Senate. Should be smooth sailing for nominations that had been blocked, right? Not exactly.

Republicans are banking on Democrats having difficulty rounding up 51 senators, which they would to have a quorum in the chamber.

It’s Republicans’ hope, then, that they can block these nominations from going through just by taking leave of the Senate.

It will fall on Democratic Senate leaders to ensure they have enough votes to do the business to which Americans elected them to do. One of their duties is to confirm presidential appointments of qualified individuals to key executive and judicial branch positions.

Such petulance is quite unbecoming.

Merry Christmas, Senate Republicans.

‘Court-packing scheme’ is specious argument

The National Review Online is supposed to be a respected publication.

The editorial attached to this post, however, suggests that the folks who run the publication fail to understand a key component of the U.S. Constitution. It’s the part that gives the president of the United States the authority to make critical executive and judicial branch appointments.


The NRO is upset with Senate Democrats’ decision to invoke the so-called “nuclear option” as it relates to the filibuster. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid took the highly risky step as a way to allow President Obama to have his appointments cleared from a Senate that had obstructed them through the use of the filibuster. It once took 60 votes out of 100 to break a filibuster. It now takes just 51 votes. The rule change involves all appointments except those involving the U.S. Supreme Court.

The Senate has nuked itself.

The NRO, though, says that the filibuster is secondary to what it says is the real reason for the action. “The filibuster is a minor issue; the major issue is that President Obama is engaged in a court-packing scheme to protect his dubious agenda, and Harry Reid’s Senate is conspiring with him to do so,” the NRO writes.

A number of judicial appointments have been blocked by Senate Republicans that have nothing to do with the qualifications of the men and women selected. Obama seeks to fill them because, well, he is the president and the Constitution gives the person in that office the authority to act. Yes, the Constitution also gives the Senate the right to “advise and consent” to the nominations. That role, though, should be on the basis of whether someone is qualified for the job.

I’ve long believed strongly in presidential prerogative. I’ve also believed that presidents who win elections have earned the right to pick whomever they wish to key positions. This might surprise some readers of this blog, but I supported the nomination to the Supreme Court in 1991 of one Clarence Thomas, despite the uproar that arose from his selection when a woman accused him of sexual harassment.

The complaint was never proved. Thomas was qualified to serve on the highest court. Was he the kind of judge I would have picked? No. That job, though, fell to the man who was elected president in 1988, George H.W. Bush. Therefore, the president had earned the right to seat someone of his choosing on the court.

Barack Obama has precisely the same right as any of the men who’ve served before him. The Senate shouldn’t serve as a place where these nominations are stopped because of some trumped-up scheme manufactured by his political opponents.

Court-packing? Give me a break. President Obama’s job involves making appointments. Let him do that job and let the people he selects be examined on the basis of their qualifications.

Cruz loves sound of his own voice

I applauded Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., some months back for actually filibustering the nomination of CIA Director John Brennan, not because I approved of his reasons, but because he actually took to the U.S. Senate floor and talked until he ran out of verbal gas.

Now another tea party golden boy, Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, is blabbering his brains out as I post this blog item. I have to hand it to Ted the Tattler: He, too, is yapping about this and that in an effort to derail the Affordable Care Act. Again, I disapprove of his reasons, but I have to hand it to the guy for actually filibustering.


The filibuster has become a misused instrument. Senators can “filibuster” something simply by lodging an objection. They object to a bill and then go about their business. Paul and Cruz have restored some form of “integrity” to the process.

Here, though, is where I get rankled at Ted Cruz. The new guy loves the sound of his own voice. Of that I am utterly convinced. I truly wonder whether he is motivated by something other than listening to himself talk in front of a national audience.

Do you remember when he denigrated the character of Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel? He questioned whether Hagel, a Vietnam War combat veteran, had become an agent of foreign governments hostile to the United States? Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., called Cruz down on the spot and said he never should question the character of someone such as Hagel, with whom McCain served in the Senate. McCain’s admonition went in one of Cruz’s ears and out the other. Cruz hasn’t shut his mouth … yet.

I’ve already wondered out loud why some members of Congress get so much air time on TV. Cruz, so new to the national spotlight, is basking in that limelight a little too comfortably to suit me. I’m wondering now if someone in the Senate is going to challenge this guy’s blustering and loudmouthed actions publicly.

He’s been in national office all of nine months and I’m sick of the sound of his voice already.

Then again, maybe that’s just me.