Commenting on full Senate vote for Chuck Hagel’s nomination for US defense secretary, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid said on Thursday morning, “It is tragic that they have decided to filibuster this qualified nominee. This isn’t high school getting ready for a football game, or some play being produced at a high school, in less than two hours, our country will be without a secretary of defense.”
Last time a senator was rejected for defense secretary was in 1989, when the Texas Senator John Towers’ nomination was stopped by a vote of 53 (against) and 47 (in favor); the difference was—it was not a filibuster but straight party line vote.
There were grueling five weeks of testimony and debate amidst strong accusations of extensive womanizing, heavy drinking, and substantial charges of conflict-of-interest for the ex-senator. In contrast Chuck Hagel came out like a perfectly deserving candidate after his testimony. The reason Republicans are holding up Hagle’s nomination is that they want to receive specific intelligence about the Benghazi attack, intelligence that Harry Reid claims he has already provided, and of course which has no relevance with Hagel’s nomination.
Now, going back to Reid’s school game comment—he didn’t really think that the Republicans should have treated it as high school football game—I ask, really?
I thought this Mitch McConnell-led Senate had always treated affairs of congress as high school football game! If not, how is it that the first term of Obama had seen nearly 400 filibusters?
And just think of it—Chuck Hagel—a former Republican Senator received only four votes from the Republicans while all Democrats supported him. Do you see anything wrong with this picture? To me this tells all about the current US politics. It tells what is wrong with our politics. Morals, scruples, principles have no values, it’s all matter of posturing for the benefit of the vested interest groups.
But if the Democrats are in this situation today, they have none but themselves to blame for it. At the beginning of this new senate session they had the opportunity to do away with the archaic filibuster rule and establish a policy of majority rule, which is the fundamental bedrock of modern democracy, but they did not.
The US never had democracy, what it has is plutocracy, where minority nobility wields overwhelming power over the commoners, the class of the peasants. The Electoral College, the filibuster rule, the highly politicized judiciary, they all are to protect the interest of the royal class.
The two-party system in the US presents a sham democracy where the political circus is only to con the ordinary masses, giving them false hope that the political power could be changed through regular elections. Failure to reform the filibuster process clearly demonstrates that both the Democratic and the Republican party are beholden to this two-party system and they do not want any major reform. They want to perpetuate their benefit from the rigged current system. If 99 percent of present Republican politicians are servants of the military-industrial complex, of which the great Republican president Eisenhower had warned us many years ago, the overwhelming number of Democratic politicians are the same.
Until money is removed from US elections through electoral reforms, things will not get better.