Clay and Buck

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Sinema Sinks Biden Bid to Kill the Filibuster

13 Jan 2022

CLAY: Some breaking news on the Senate floor. We’ll probably have some cuts for you before the show is done. Arizona Senator Kyrsten Sinema went down and announced that she will not support any changes to the filibuster. So this whole story, Buck — Joe Biden going to Atlanta and trying to equate people who oppose filibuster changes to Jefferson Davis and George Wallace?

All of the focus of Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer on, “Hey, we’re gonna have a decision rendered before MLK Day”? This just looks utterly incompetent. What am I missing here? Did they really think that Sinema and Manchin were gonna buckle on this, and because Joe Biden called them out and essentially called them racist in a Tuesday speech, that the Democrats were gonna the change their mind, that pressure was gonna build on them?

It just looks even more incompetent because we already had Build Back Better collapse, and now from Joe Biden’s own party! Republicans, we already knew, were united against the idea of changing the filibuster here. I can’t even… I try to look at politics as a chessboard and figure out, “Okay, this move is being made to try to gain this advantage.” I can’t even figure out what in the world the Democrats are doing with this week’s focus. It’s nonsensical.

BUCK: Some of the gray beards I knew in the intelligence community, Clay, would always tell us young guns coming up, “Don’t underestimate your opponents, but don’t overestimate them, either.” At some level, remember, Democrats think that some kind of action, some kind of agitation that they can talk about in public of what they’re doing and what they’re trying to do is better than actually focusing on problems that require real thought and expertise and bringing it all together and having a result that the people can actually see and look at.

So they like this kind of histrionics. “Oh, we need to break the filibuster and anything for voting rights” because — as you say, as you’re pointing out — it’s not going anywhere. So what are they doing? What it does is it says, “See? We tried” in quotes. “We ‘tried’ to get this through. Republicans are racist!” It turns into a narrative point instead of an actual legislative one, and I think that’s where all this goes. That’s what drives all the noise we’ve had in the last few days.

CLAY: But I would understand that a little bit more if Republicans had control of the Senate and 51 Republicans were standing against this. But when the member of your own party comes out and says this — because, remember, in theory Democrats could do this with 50 votes and Kamala Harris breaking the tie. When you make a big show of how racist the Republican Party is and then a member of your own party takes the Senate floor and officially announces that your call for changing things for this voting bills under a simple majority, it looks even worse.

BUCK: But this is why Bernie has this very dishonest formulation. It’s not just Bernie Sanders. There are a lot of media platforms with Democrat — New York Times, et cetera, et cetera — stuff where they’re saying, “One senator shouldn’t be able to stand in the way of things.” This is why they come up with that dishonest formulation because, you’re right. It doesn’t make sense. But let’s turn to the not underestimating our opponents. They don’t care that it doesn’t make sense. They’re gonna tell people the nonsensical and they’ll mouth the preferred slogans like the marionettes they are.

CLAY: And so the big question becomes — and we’ll talk to Senator Josh Hawley about this at 2 o’clock Eastern on the show. The big question I think you have to have at this point: Where does Biden go from here? Because he’s going to lose his House majority in November, right? That would be a stunning upset if Democrats maintain control of the House. So that’s gone, which means really he won’t be able to pass any legislation.

Other than what I laid out yesterday, Buck, which is Stephen Breyer steps down in the summer after they release all of their opinions and then the Democrats go ahead and nominate a black woman and try to have a fight over the nomination in the fall. But they, of course, would be able to do that because they have the votes to get somebody through. I just really don’t see any sort of activity that is going to happen this year now for the Biden regime.

BUCK: Well, it’s a lot. We’ll see how they play the hand that they have, and we don’t expect them to be honest or fair in what they do.


SINEMA: These bills help treat the symptoms of the disease, but they did not fully address the disease itself, and while I continue to support these bills, I do not support separate actions that worsen the underlying disease of division infecting our country. The debate over the Senate 60-vote threshold shines a light on our broader challenges.

There’s no need for me to restate any long-standing support for the 60-vote threshold to pass legislation. There’s no need for me to restate its role protecting our country from wild reversals in federal policy. It is a view I’ve held during my years serving in both the U.S. House and the Senate, and it is a view I continue to hold.

BUCK: Senator Sinema essentially saying that she is consistent and that there is a principle here. And the Democrats hate her for that right now, of course, ’cause there’s not supposed to be any principles when you’re talking about the Democrat Party. Commies don’t recognize principle. They recognize power. So what is this? It doesn’t matter that Chuck Schumer and others have given speeches in vociferous defense of the filibuster. In fact, here is Senator Tom Cotton delivering his favorite pro-filibuster in the Senate speech formerly given by Chuck Schumer.

COTTON: “The ideologues in the Senate want to turn what the Founding Fathers calls ‘the cooling saucer of democracy’ into a rubberstamp of dictatorship that will make this country by a banana republic where if you don’t get your way, you can change the rules. Are we going to let them? It will be a doomsday for democracy if we do!” Those are powerful words, but they’re not mine. Every word of my speech today was originally spoken by our esteemed colleague, the senior senator from New York, Chuck Schumer — words that are as true today as they were when he spoke them, even if Senator Schumer is singing a different tune today.

BUCK: Is there even a debate here, Clay, really? Come on.

CLAY: No. Look, first of all, I think we need to give credit to Kyrsten Sinema and to Joe Manchin, because both of those senators have done what they think is right for principle as opposed to party. So what’s interesting to me, Buck, about this timing is, Joe Biden’s eating lunch with the Senate Democrats right now. So Kyrsten Sinema specifically chose to go give this speech right before Biden came to Capitol Hill. Joe Manchin, by the way, has praised it.

There’s been talk that Mark Kelly in Arizona, that Shaheen in New Hampshire, and Baucus in Montana are also Democrats who are opposed to this bill as well but have not felt the need to speak out because if there’s not 50 votes, then they don’t necessarily have to take a strong stand like Sinema has. But this to me feels a little bit like sticking a middle finger in the direction of Joe Biden for Sinema to decide to make this speech right before he arrives on Capitol Hill for lunch.

I guedss you can argue it either way. If she watches him make his pitch to everybody and then goes and gives the speech after lunch, is it more of an insult? I think what’s clear here is Joe Biden wildly miscalculated in his Tuesday speech when he tried to equate everyone who didn’t support changing filibuster rules here to being Jefferson Davis or George Wallace. And there are a lot of people — certainly Republicans, but even many Democrats — who felt like his language was so charged that it actually made any success less likely instead of more so.

BUCK: Like I’ve always said, Joe Biden is not some super-nice guy. People who actually know his career know that. It’s all a fraud.

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