Friday, March 29, 2013


So we've learned that Marco Rubio plans to join with Rand Paul and Ted Cruz to try to block any new gun control legislation:
Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) on Thursday joined a group of Republicans threatening to filibuster gun control legislation in the Senate.

"We, the undersigned, intend to oppose any legislation that would infringe on the American people's constitutional right to bear arms, or on their ability to exercise this right without being subjected to government surveillance," he wrote in a statement on his website.

"The Second Amendment to the Constitution protects citizens' right to self-defense. It speaks to history's lesson that government cannot be in all places at all times, and history’s warning about the oppression of a government that tries."
Charlie Pierce believes that this shows we're naive about filibuster reform:
One of the least appreciated phenomena of the past couple election cycles is the appearence on the scene of a claque of extremely enthusiastic show ponies. Senator Aqua Buddha of Kentucky is at the head of the parade, but Tailgunner Ted Cruz from Texas is moving on up. This has a tendency to move the debate not only to the right, but also deeper into the spotlight. So, when people talk about "reforming" the Senate rules by forcing people who filibuster actually to get up there and talk, we should always remember that there are now enough young members of the World's Greatest Deliberative Body to do that with bells on. And, sooner or later, people with legitimate national ambitions -- That's not you, Rand. -- find themselves drawn in as well.

...The "talking filibuster" is a reform only if there aren't any people willing to use it. This was a deterrent only as long as most Republican senators were too old and/or lazy actually to engage in one. That is not the case any more. The show ponies are pulling the wagon now.
I agree that showboaters talking nonsense are taking over -- but I don't think talk of filibuster reform is the problem. The problem is a political culture that keeps shifting the definition of political lunacy to specifically exclude anything a tactically shrewd, high-profile right-winger says or does.

Wayne LaPierre has actually moved the gun debate to the right in the wake of the Sandy Hook shooting. He's done this by recognizing that he can say anything he wants, however inflammatory, and the Beltway Establishment will agree that Attention Must Be Paid -- after all, he's a well-connected millionaire D.C. lobbyist. He won't be regarded like David Duke or Louis Farrakhan, as a paranoid hatemonger who should never be given an audience on national television, or like, say, Ramsey Clark, LBJ's last attorney general, who marginalized himself when he moved far to the left after leaving office.

LaPierre is a respected insider because he's spent years at a feared lobbying organization, but Rand Paul and Ted Cruz have simply propelled themselves to the respectability by persuading the Beltway Establishment that they represent the Real Americans of the tea party movement. They've also been shrewd about how they say and do crazy things -- they've never said anything extreme for which they weren't prepared to defend themselves, as Todd Akin did. When they provoke, they do it in a calculated way. And as a result, they win Beltway respect.

And that means anything they say or do is automatically defined as within the pale.

LaPierre, Paul, and Cruz took advantage of their immunity from marginalization to push the gun debate rightward. They've won a total victory on that front. The ground they've staked out on guns -- blocking even a reform with 90% popular support, treating background checks as "being subjected to government surveillance" -- is now so safe that Rubio sees no risk in standing on it.

1 comment:

Victor said...

I'm guessing that when they allow you to become a MSM pundit, that they force bi-focal contacts on you, so that you see not-nearly-left, and really, really, far, far right, equally.

Rand, I don't worry too much about.
But Turd Cruz and "Mild-mannered Marco, The Sippin' Fool" Rubio, really worry me.