The Myth of Democratic Super Majority.

One of the standard Republican talking points is that the Democrats had a filibuster-proof, super majority for two years between 2008 and 2010. This talking point is usually trotted out when liberals complain that the Republicans filibustered virtually every piece of legislation proposed by Obama or the Democrats during Obama’s presidency. The implication is that Democrats had ample opportunity to pass legislation and that the reason they didn’t pass more legislation doesn’t have anything to do with the Republicans.

It is also used to counter any argument that Republican legislation, (passed during the six years of total Republican control,) has anything to do with today’s problems. They claim that the Democrats had a super majority for two years and passed all kinds of legislation, (over Republican objection and filibuster,) that completely undid all Republican policies and legislation, and this absolves them from today’s problems.

The Truth is that the Democrats only had a filibuster-proof majority for 60 working days during that period, insufficient time to undo even a small portion of the legislation passed during six years of Republican control. Here are the details:

To define terms, a Filibuster-Proof Majority or Super Majority is the number of votes required to overcome a filibuster in the Senate. According to current Senate rules, 60 votes are required to overcome a filibuster.

Here is a time-line of the events  after the 2008 election:

1. BALANCE BEFORE THE ELECTION. In 2007 – 2008 the balance in the Senate was 51-49 in favor of the Democrats. On top of that, there was a Republican president who would likely veto any legislation the Republicans didn’t like. Not exactly a super majority.

2. BIG GAIN IN 2008, BUT STILL NO SUPER MAJORITY. Coming out the 2008 election, the Democrats made big gains, but they didn’t immediately get a Super Majority. The Minnesota Senate race required a recount and was not undecided for more than six months. During that time, Norm Coleman was still sitting in the Senate and the Balance 59-41, still not a Super Majority.

3. KENNEDY GRAVELY ILL. Teddy Kennedy casthis last vote in April and left Washington for good around the first of May. Technically he could come back to Washington vote on a pressing issue, but in actual fact, he never returned, even to vote on the Sotomayor confirmation. That left the balance in the Senate 58-41, two votes away from a super majority.

4. STILL NO SUPER MAJORITY. In July, Al Frankin was finally declared the winner and was sworn in on July 7th, 2009, so the Democrats finally had a Super Majority of 60-40 six and one-half months into the year. However, by this point, Kennedy was unable to return to Washington even to participate in the Health Care debate, so it was only a technical super majority because Kennedy could no longer vote and the Senate does not allow proxies. Now the actual actual balance of voting members was 59-40 not enough to overcome a Republican filibuster.

5. SENATE IS IN RECESS. Even if Kennedy were able to vote, the Senate went into summer recess three weeks later, from August 7th to September 8th.

6. KENNEDY DIES. Six weeks later, on Aug 26, 2009 Teddy Kennedy died, putting the balance at 59-40. Now the Democrats don’t even have technical super majority.

7. FINALLY, A SUPER MAJORITY! Kennedy’s replacement was sworn in on September 25, 2009, finally making the majority 60-40, just enough for a super majority.

8. SENATE ADJOURNS. However the Senate adjourned for the year on October 9th, only providing 11 working days of super majority, from September 25th to October 9th.

9. SPECIAL SESSIONS. During October, November and December, the Senate had several special sessions to deal with final passage of ACA and Budget appropriations.

October = 13th – 15th, 20th – 22nd, 27th, 29th = 8 days
November = 2nd, 4th, 5th, 9th  16th, 17th, 19th, 21st = 8 days
December = 1st, 3rd  - 8th, 10th – 13th, 15th – 18th, 19th, 21st – 24th = 20 days

Total Special Session Days = 36.

8. SCOTT BROWN ELECTED. Scott Brown was elected on January 19th 2010. The Senate was in session for 10 days in January, but Scott Brown wasn’t sworn into office on February 4th, so the Democrats only had 13 days of super majority in 2010.

Summary:

Regular Session: 11 working days
Special Session: 36 working days
Lame Duck Session:  13 working days

The Democrats only had 60 days of Super Majority between 2008 and 2010.

Discussion: One of the central themes of the Republican argument is that the Democrats had a super majority for two full years and so they had plenty of time pass new legislation or undo any problems that were caused by six years of Republican control of all three branches of government. This is argument is used by the Republicans immunize themselves against any responsibility for ongoing problems that might have been caused by their policies.

However, the fact is that the Democrats had a super majority for a total of 60 days, which is no where near the two years that Republicans are always claiming.  On top of that, the period of Super Majority was split into short sessions, none of which was longer than five days. In addition, the special session time was entirely devoted to budget issues and Republican amendments to the ACA.

Given the glacial pace that business takes place in the Senate, this was way too little time for the Democrats pass any meaningful legislation, let alone get bills through committees and past all the obstructionistic tactics the Republicans were using to block legislation. No one can seriously expect that the Democrats could undo in 60 days all the damage that Republicans created in six years.

Further, these Super Majorities count Joe Lieberman as a Democrat even though he was by this time an Independent. Even though he was Liberal on some legislation, he was very conservative on other issues and opposed many of the key pieces of legislation the Democrats and Obama wanted to pass. For example, he was adamantly opposed to “Single Payer” health care and vowed to support a Republican Filibuster if it ever came to the floor. He even threatened to caucus with the Republicans if legislation came to the floor that he didn’t like.

Summary:

1. 1/07 – 12/08 –      51-49 – Ordinary Majority.
2. 1/09 – 7/14/09 – 59-41 – Ordinary Majority. (Coleman/Franklin Recount.)
3. 7/09 – 8/09 -      60-40 – Technical Super Majority, but since Kennedy is unable to vote, the Democrats can’t overcome a filibuster
4. 8/09 – 9/09 -      59-40 – Ordinary Majority. (Kennedy dies)
5. 9/09 – 12/24-   60-40 – Super Majority for 47 working days.
6. 1/10 – 2/10 –  60-40 – Super Majority for 13 working days

Total Time of the Democratic Super Majority: 60 Working days.

http://www.senate.gov/legislative/LIS/roll_call_lists/vote_menu_111_1.htm
http://www.senate.gov/legislative/resources/pdf/2009_calendar.pdf
http://www.senate.gov/legislative/resources/pdf/2010_calendar.pdf
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/United_States_Senate_election_in_Minnesota,_2008
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/111th_United_States_Congress

Tea Party Philosophy in Pictures

They say a picture is worth a thousand words. Here are 12,000 words from the Tea Party on the current president of the United States. Can anyone have any doubt about the true nature of the Tea Party after seeing these pictures?

The Failure Of Republicanism.

I keep wondering why I see so many rabid spewing hatred on television and the internet. But then you listen to their arguments and the answer is obvious. They trying desperately to compensate for the fact that their party and ideology is simply in a death spiral.

They cannot govern because they don’t believe in government. They cannot lead because they are owned, lock-stock­and-barrel, by big business and right wing idealogues. The only thing they can do is lob insults from behind the gates of their locked communities and the pulpits of their fanatical churches.

All their ideas have been tried and have failed: tax cuts brought us deficits, deregulation brought us financial and environmental disaster, and militarism brought us needless war and endless paranoia. Their high moral standards always disintegrate into hypocrisy and scandal. The only thing they do well is hire consultants and come up with catchy slogans to scare the people into looking the other way as they sell the country to the highest bidder. They have taken the country that we inherited from the “Greatest Generation” and turned it into a grade school soap opera. I think most people see through their deceptions and with young people voting more and more liberal, the Hispanics feeling their hatred, I think the demographics are going to condemn the GOP to a long winter in the wilderness.

Declining Republican Favorabilty

Republican favorability has declined 29% of the last 16 years, while Democratic favorability has improved by 10%.

Republican decline in net favorability over the past 16 years:

1993  19%
1997  11%
2001   7%
2005  -7%
2009 -10%

Democratic Favorability over the same period:

1993 +24%  Delta = +5
1997 +12%  Delta = +1
2001 +24%  Delta = +14
2005 +13%  Delta = +20
2009  +5%  Delta = +15

(Taken from Roper poll archive of polling done one year before midterm elections.)

http://www.pollster.com/blogs/assessing_the_gop_brand.php

More Fox News Demographics

Republicans like to hype how good Fox News’ rating are, but that only works if you leave out the Mainstream Media. CBS 60 Minutes has nearly FOUR TIMES the viewers as the O’Reilly Factor, Faux’s best rate show. Even programs like “Date Line,” and “20/20″ do better than every Fox News program:

CBS 60 Minutes = 13.1-million
NBC News = 7.9-million
ABC News = 7.1-million
NBC Date Line = 6.6-million
CBS News = 5.1-million
ABC 20/20 = 4.9-million

O’Reily Factor = 3.4-million
Fox News Prime Time = 2.5-million
Glenn Beck = 2.0-million
Greta = 2.0-million
Palin = 2.0-million

http://tvbythenumbers.com/category/ratings/cable-news
http://tvbythenumbers.com/2010/04/01/cable-news-ratings-for-wednesday-march-31-2010/47048#more-47048
http://www.mediabistro.com/tvnewser/evening_news_ratings/evening_news_ratings_week_of_june_1_118500.asp
http://blog.zap2it.com/frominsidethebox/2010/03/tv-ratings-cbs-is-amazing-sunday-thin-ice-cracks-for-abc.html

Evaluating The Demographics of Fox News

Republicans like to brag about the popularity of Conservative Media outlets such as Fox News, however, Fox News is only popular in the oldest demographic:

Average Viewer Age:

Fox News: 65
Rush: 67
O’Reilly: 71

The problem is that young people don’t watch cable news or even regular TV for that matter. They get all their news from the Internet.

According to Alexa, the top internet news/political sites are all LIBERAL. The New York times on line is the highest. Huffington Post second highest, tied with Fox News. All the rest of the conservative sights are much lower:

1. New York Times 127
2. HP 156
3. Fox News 182
4. Wall Street Journal 512
5. Drudge Report 707
6. New York Post 1,663
7. World Net Daily 2,011
8. NewsMax 4,505
9. National Review 6,272
10. Rush Limbaugh 6,517
11. Human Events 19,235
12. Weekly Standard 21,035
13. Bill O’Reily 37,329
14. Sean Hannity 22,524
15. American Enterprise Inst. 99,791
16. Micheal Savage 3,793,061
http://www.pensitoreview.com/2009/05/05/average-age-of-fox-news-viewer-is-65/
http://www.nytimes.com/2006/07/11/arts/television/11keit.html?ex=1310270400&en=4ccc4d43ec65612e&ei=5090&partner=rssuserland&emc=rss

The Republican Hall Of Shame

A Sysinct List of Republicans who have been accused, indicted or convicted of crimes:

Randy Cunningham,  $1.3-million bribes
Bob Ney – bribery
Tom DeLay – money laundering
Lewis Libby – perjury obstruction
Steven Griles,  obstruction
Jack Abramoff – felony X3
Leandro Aragoncillo – espionage
Steve Rosen – criminal conspiracy
Michael Mixon – supporting terrorists
John Cowdery – conspiracy bribery
Brent Wilkes – bribery
Kyle Foggo – Corruption
Larry Craig – disorderly conduct
Claude Allen – Theft
Chris Newton – bribery
Thomas Noe – Theft, corruption, money laundering, forgery and tampering
Mark Siljander – money laundering, conspiracy and obstruction
James Tobin – phone jamming
Bernadette Noe, Robbery
Rick Renzi – Theft fraud
Bernie Kerik – fraud, tax evasion, obstruction, falsifying documents
Merle Temple – fraud money laundering
Thomas Ravenel – cocaine possession
George Ryan – 18x corruption
Dennis Gallagher – Sex crimes
Glenn Murphy Jr – Sexual assault
Leonard Owens – Rape
Ronald Kline – child pornography
Max Knapp – child exploitation
Mitchell Wade – conspiracy
John Michael – conspiracy, money laundering, perjury
Thomas Kontogiannis – money laundering
Alan Fabian – fraud
Eugene Maysky – 4 x DUI
Randy Scott – DUI
Joe Boylan – DWI
Chris Healy – 2 x DUI
Brian Bundell – sexual assault
Bruce Hopfengardner – conspiracy, money laundering, wire fraud
Thomas Broderick -  money laundering
George Chris Ortloff – child sexual assault
Mark Foley – solicitation
Mark Vitter – solicitation
John Ensign – adultery, bribery
Mark Sanford -  ethics violations

More:
http://tpmmuckraker.talkingpointsmemo.com/archives/004951.php