Tuesday, April 12, 2005

As the impending Senate battle over the President’s judicial nominations looms ever closer, I find myself growing increasingly peeved at the media’s slanted portrayal of the dreaded “Nuclear Option”, the revocation of Senate rules that permit unfettered filibustering. With the aid of some choice quotes from the usual pack of wobbly Republican Senators, the news has been awash with commentaries condemning the Majority for even considering such an egregious abuse of power.

Amid the Nuclear Hysteria is a conveniently misplaced historical frame of reference. As it stands, the Republican Party has eked out solid majorities in both chambers of Congress for the first time in decades. I say “eked out” because they have barely crossed the minimum threshold to qualify for a "solid" Congressional majority based on conventional standards; they now hold a 10 seat margin in the Senate and a 30 seat margin in the House. To put this information in its historical context, we must examine how the current party divisions of the Senate and House compare to other Congressional delegations over the past 50 years. Here’s how the Democrats faired in securing solid, and oftentimes vast majorities:
Democratic Senate Majorities since 1955 with 10+ Seat Margin:
86th Senate (1959-1961) +30 Democrats
87th Senate (1961-1963) +28 Democrats
88th Senate (1963-1965) +32 Democrats
89th Senate (1965-1967) +36 Democrats
90th Senate (1967-1969) +28 Democrats
91st Senate (1969-1971) +14 Democrats
93rd Senate (1973-1975) +14 Democrats
94th Senate (1975-1977) +22 Democrats
95th Senate (1977-1979) +23 Democrats
96th Senate (1979-1981) +17 Democrats
100th Senate (1987-1989) +10 Democrats
101st Senate (1989-1991) +10 Democrats
102nd Senate (1991-1993) +12 Democrats
103rd Senate (1993-1995) +14 Democrats

Democratic House Majorities since 1955 with 30+ Seat Margin:
85th House (1957-1959) +33 Democrats
86th House (1959-1961) +130 Democrats
87th House (1961-1963) +89 Democrats
88th House (1963-1965) +83 Democrats
89th House (1965-1967) +155 Democrats
90th House (1967-1969) +80 Democrats
91st House (1969-1971) +51 Democrats
92nd House (1971-1973) +75 Democrats
93rd House (1973-1975) +50 Democrats
94th House (1975-1977) +147 Democrats
95th House (1977-1979) +149 Democrats
96th House (1979-1981) +119 Democrats
97th House (1981-1983) +50 Democrats
98th House (1983-1985) +103 Democrats
99th House (1985-1987) +71 Democrats
100th House (1987-1989) +81 Democrats
101st House (1989-1991) +85 Democrats
102nd House (1991-1993) +100 Democrats
103rd House (1993-1995) +82 Democrats
In stark contrast, here’s the same data on the Republican Party:
Republican Senate Majorities since 1955 with 10+ Seat Margin:
105th Senate (1997-1999) +10 Republicans
106th Senate (1999-2001) +10 Republicans
109th Senate (2005-2007) +10 Republicans

Republican House Majorities since 1955 with 30+ Seat Margin:
109th House (2005-2007) +30 Republicans
Can any rational individual argue that the overwhelmingly Democratic Congress of the last 50 years didn’t exercise its full authority to secure left-wing judges and policy initiatives? Who could seriously contend that power was applied prudently, and in a manner ever so mindful of the interests of the fragile Republican minority, as the current Democratic minority implores of the Republicans? Excuse my vulgarity, but give me a f**king break! If Democrats howl this loudly over a measly 10 seat Senate majority, imagine the blood-curdling screams if the Republicans had won a massive +30 seat margin.

As the saying goes, “To the victor go the spoils.” You’ve had your kick at the can, Dems. Time to toss it over gracefully. Drop your filibuster madness and let the grown-ups take over for while.

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