Chuck Hagel Calls for the "Nuclear Option" Against Senate Republicans?by Kyle Michaelis
Of course, it wasn't long ago that these same Republicans were decrying Democrats as obstructionists for employing these same tactics. The big difference here is that Senate Republicans are acting in direct defiance of the American people who long ago realized and rejected the Iraq War as a blackhole of money and lives unlikely to see any return but in heartache and suffering.
So far, the Democratic majority has avoided forcing a real showdown with Bush and Senate Republicans. Some suggest Democrats are too ineffective and too scatttered to carry a shared message that would truly take the GOP to task. On the other hand, they might just be giving the GOP enough rope to hang itself with in 2008.
Either way, Nebraska's Republican Senator Chuck Hagel continues to break farther and farther away from his party on Iraq, to the point where a man who just months ago talked about the possibility of Bush's impeachment now seems willing to lay the blame on his entire party for the continued mis-steps in Iraq.
The Lincoln Journal-Star reports:
The Senate’s inability to force major changes in Iraq policy because of a 60-vote supermajority threshhold is weakening confidence in government, Sen. Chuck Hagel said Thursday.In singling out the Senate's procedural rules, one has to wonder whether Hagel isn't suggesting that drastic measures be taken to overcome continued Republican roadblocks to accountability and a change of course in Iraq. In essence, one could foresee from Hagel's statements an argument for resurrecting the Nuclear Option long-threated by Republicans to secure confirmation of right-wing judges.
“It’s a frustrating process,” he told his weekly telephone news conference from Washington. “It paralyzes us. The American people have lost confidence in our leadership.”
Hagel’s comments came the day after two of his Iraq amendments commanded majority support among the Senate’s 100 members, but fell to the 60-vote requirement to stave off a filibuster by invoking cloture to end debate....
[T]he 60-vote cloture procedure comes with “a standard of responsible behavior we’re not paying much attention to,” he suggested....
Hagel’s two amendments would have mandated more leave time at home for soldiers following deployment to Iraq or Afghanistan and limited the length of time they could be deployed. One amendment attracted 56 votes for cloture; the other received 52 votes.
Still, Democrats would have little to gain from such threats with a Republican President in office with veto power. Furthermore, these kinds of hard-ball tactics just aren't the modern Democratic Party's style and - besides - there's a lot to be said for letting the Republicans continue in their insanity as long they desire. Each day draws a clearer and clearer distinction for the American people. The only problem is that each day also brings new casualties that were never necessary in the first place.