Friday, June 22, 2012

LAMINATE THIS! What 60-Vote Supermajority!?

INTRODUCING A NEW FEATURE OF THIS BLOG whose sole purpose and function is to debunk and disprove the GOP talking points that are offered time after time from Republican liars and Romney surrogates on cable "news" networks like MSNBC and CNN, without rebuttal. Instead of constant frustration and downright anger directed at the "professionals" who are shirking their responsibility to be fully conversant with the facts they report and with opposition counter-arguments, better to hold these "professionals" up to shame for reneging on the most basic aspect of being considered a journalist as distinct from a news reader and issues debate facilitator.

The most high profile offender — with a large measure of unanimity among progressive bloggers, radio talk show hosts (David Schuster, Bill Press, Stephanie Miller, and Thom Hartmann, to name a few of the voices nonaffiliated with MSNBC), and some (but not all) media critics — is David Gregory, host of Meet The Press. Lionized by his colleagues at MSNBC despite his sagging ratings, Gregory sets the false equivalence standard — recently reaffirmed by POLITICO Beltway narrative and disinformation specialist Jim VandeHei to a silent Alex Wagner despite dispositive, comprehensive evidence to the contrary from think tank scholars Norm Ornstein and Thomas Mann — that ripple up and down the MSNBC misinformation pipeline with nary a plug valve to slow it. (Thanks to Lady Alex for the laminated card idea, with the hope that her mesmerized silence is but a passing fancy.)

You know how Republican talking heads and pundits keep repeating this uncontested canard that in 2009-2010 the Democrats had a 60-vote filibuster-proof majority in the Senate but failed to place jobs bills, a bigger stimulus, stronger financial reforms, etc. before the President's desk for his signature? Well, setting aside President Obama's signal accomplishment, the Affordable Care Act, passed with budget reconciliation, the Bonnie Ledbetter Fair Pay Act, the watered-down Dodd-Frank financial reform Act, and an $800 billion stimulus bill, including the critical bank and auto industry bailouts — not to speak of the killing of Osama Bin Laden and decimation of Al Queda — in the space of three and one-half years; setting aside all of these extraordinary achievements in the face of a craven Republican strategy of obstructing, from day one, every presidential legislative initiative with the sole stated purpose of denying his re-election, the presumptive Republican nominee, sanguine in his promise to "veto the DREAM ACT," had the audacity to LIE to a Latino audience that President Obama did "nothing" on immigration reform until this "stop-gap" measure announcing a shift in the Department of Homeland Security's policy toward the children of undocumented immigrants!?

The fact is, the DREAM ACT passed the House and garnered 55 votes in the Senate; sufficient at almost any time in the institution's history to pass legislation with a 50 + 1 majority. And THE FACT IS, THAT IN ONLY FIVE MONTHS of the 111th Congress, between January 15, 2009 and November 29, 2010, did Senate Democrats actually have the requisite 60-vote supermajority needed to kill Republican filibusters. In fact, when the DREAM ACT fell short of defeating the Republican filibuster by five votes, the Democratic Senate had already lost its fleeting and ephemeral "60-vote" supermajority.

This chart by the EXCELLENT politics blog "Outside the Beltway" (better fact-gatherer than the generic MSNBC — outside Rachel's outstanding and dedicated research staff, with a nod to Big Eddie and the Rev too) tells the story in crystalline, (literally) graphic detail. It shows that the fleeting 60 Democratic Senate votes existed:
- From July 7, 2009 (when Al Franken was officially seated as the Senator from Minnesota after the last of Norm Coleman’s challenges came to an end) to August 25, 2009 (when Ted Kennedy died, although Kennedy’s illness had kept him from voting for several weeks before that date at least); and 

- From September 25, 2009 (when Paul Kirk was appointed to replace Kennedy) to February 4, 2010 (when Scott Brown took office after defeating Martha Coakley); 

- For one day in September 2009, Republicans lacked 40 votes due to the resignation of Mel Martinez, who was replaced the next day by George LeMieux

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