October 31, 2013

Today’s biggest news was about two Republican filibusters. Mel Watt for a housing position was the first executive branch nominee to lose a cloture vote since the confrontation this summer, leaving that deal in question. But more important, I think, was a failed cloture vote on Patricia Millett, the first of three nominees for vacancies on the D.C. Circuit Court; that one certainly sets up a major confrontation.

1. Here are all the details from Jennifer Bendery, who has been doing a great job on this story.  The next step: Harry Reid is pledging to bring this back to the floor and threatening majority-imposed rules changes if the GOP blockade against D.C. Circuit nominees continues.

2. Here’s congressional scholar Sarah Binder on the prospects for a nuclear winter in the Senate and the calculations for the Democrats.

3. I’m rather more blunt than Sarah. I think Reid has no choice but to threaten to go nuclear, and then follow through if necessary — even though I hope it doesn’t come to that.

4. As for the utterly bogus justification for the filibusters … Scott Lemieux totally demolishes them as “almost comically transparent bad faith.”

5. As expected (per Greg’s earlier item), Harry Reid filed for cloture on the motion to proceed to ENDA; the cloture vote is expected Monday evening.

6. Terrific reporting from Irin Carmon on abortion in Oklahoma. Don’t miss this one.

7. The thing about this GOP primary in a special election for an open Alabama House seat is that the guy cast as an establishment candidate — the one who might wind up losing to a tea partyer — would probably be one of the more conservative Republicans in the House. But none of that counts, apparently, in today’s GOP, where being ignorant of everything is a point of pride. Great interview of both candidates by Paul Lewis.

8. Nate Cohen looks closely at the “generic ballot” polling and sees little sign of a surge by the Democrats. As I’ve said, the place to look for 2014 effects from the shutdown is going to be in candidate recruitment.

9. Meanwhile, in Virginia, Ken Cuccinelli has decided that his (losing) gubernatorial effort is a referendum on Obamacare. Who says the president can’t catch a break? Bill Scher reports.

10. Ed Kilgore is great on the ongoing saga of Rafael Cruz and his son, Tail Gunner Ted.

11. Paul Waldman makes the case that tea partyers don’t want to win elections anyway.

12. Major growth industry for reporters: debunking phony Obamacare horror stories. Need help? Igor Volsky goes over the basics.

13. Reid Wilson reports on the effects of new voter restriction laws in Texas. Remember, these laws don’t actually have to completely prevent anyone from voting to be effective at reducing voting. All they have to do is make voting more difficult, and marginal voters are going to be less likely to participate. Of course, complexity also brings opportunities for selective enforcement.

14. And: Happy Halloween! Here are some “last minute … costume ideas for the modern woman” from the great Ann Friedman. Enjoy!