Revenge, pure and simple. They have hated Hillary since
she was "the unelected co-president" with husband Bill, and her temerity at trying to give the United States a healthcare program. They will wrap themselves in the flag and say it''s so that the deaths in Benghazi can be understood and those guilty of dereliction can be punished, but Hillary has always been a red flag to the Republican bull..
They despise her education, her assertiveness, her political stance and as Republicans have moved farther and farther rightwards, her attempt to keep the Democratic Party at least somewhat closer to the centre of political discourse.
It is the sad legacy of the difficulty Republicans have had getting some of their more extreme appointments made over Senate Democrats objections. Robert Bork, Clarence Thomas stuck splinters under the Republican hide which continue to fester. Republicans' attitudes seem to have moved from the partnership role that the legislative branch is supposed to have with the Executive; the concept of Advise and Consent to an idea of: "We won, now shut up and do what we tell you !"
It is this same attitude that makes a Republican minority in the Senate try to obstruct everything the Democrats have been trying to do for the last 4 years. The filibuster, in short.
In 2010, James Fallows wrote: "4) A heartening end-of-year trend is new attention to abuses of the filibuster -- as the Atlantic's Josh Green points out here, and Ezra Klein here. When we wonder about dysfunction of the US government, it's worth realizing how much one person, Senator Mitch McConnell, has done to prevent the government from filling vacant judgeships and posts, considering economic and international legislation, and so on. If the historic extremes of this year -- in which McConnell oversaw the staging of 91 filibusters, or nearly four times as many as in the 1800s as a whole -- finally motivate Senators to reconsideration of the rules, there will have been some payoff."
I will say this statistic is a bit disingenuous since for the first 50 years of the 19th Century the Filibuster didn't exist.
Republicans seem to see themselves as fundamentally more American than anyone else, and that theirs is the moral centre of the country. Therefore they feel they have to stop anything which runs counter to their radicalized and rightward shifting stance. As Rachel Maddow has said. "I'm a liberal. That means I hold a position consistent with that of the Eisenhower Administration on most things."
Ted Kennedy mourned his failure to take the Healfh care agreement offered him by Richard Nixon, which shows how far right the Nixon Adminisration was.
This polarization of Republican opinion, and the increasing power of billionaires to dictate policy to the rank and file (viz. Grover Norquist) isn't conducive either to good governance, or to a sensible response to the Kerry nomination for Secretary of State. Since it is clear that Hillary isn't going to be up for a grilling for some time, just confirm Kerry and then go through the ritual humililation of the Republicans' favourite whipping girl at a later time.
Incidentally, it is very hard to get decent figures or graphs on the Filibuster later than 2010. Most of the sites I found in my survey were narrowly drawn Republican sites trying to prove that there has been no filibuster. It's a Lewis Carroll world Through the Looking Glass.
I have to say my favourite concept, though, is that the United States is NOT a Democracy. In strictly nit-picking terms, this is true, it is a Democratic Republic with an indirect system of election of the President. The trouble seems to be that Republicans have taken the NOT a Democracy idea too much to heart. Since the Legislative branch is entirely directly elected, and the use of the Electoral college to choose a President having less than an absolute majority is a rarity, this is a variety of hair splitting which has no relevant meaning. A Republic is simply a country with an elected rather than an hereditary head of state. What is it about Elected that is so hard to grasp? Is it perhaps that Republicans fundamentally don't trust Democracy? That they would be happier with an Oligarchy made up of the wealthiest to direct the course of the country. Certainly that seems to have been the case since Reagan.
There was an exchange reported in two contemporary sources between George Washington and Thomas Jefferson during Washington's second term. "Why to you pour your coffee into the saucer, Mr. Jefferson?" "To let it cool, Sir!"
"Just so. The Senate is our saucer."
However much cooling may be desired, the beverage is not meant to be drunk cold, with dead flies floating in it from months or years of delay. The wait is merely for it to be less hot.
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