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The Week

It's Time for Democrats to Stop Being Such Gormless Chumps

There is nothing responsible about being a prissy rule-follower when you're in a vicious, dirty political brawl.

"It's time for Democrats to stop being such gormless chumps, and start matching Republicans' procedural hardball," writes Cooper. (Photo: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

One of the most marked characteristics of 21st century political history is the one-sided application of political norms. Democrats have done things like abolish earmarks, adopt "PAYGO" budgeting (in which the long-term stability of the national debt is written into the budget process), and respect the "blue slip" rule, which gives senators a veto over judicial appointments in their home state.

In return, Republicans have shredded those norms the moment they got in the way of their application of power. Word is, they now plan to use imaginary future growth to sidestep PAYGO rules, and it seems likely that the blue slip rule is next on the chopping block.

It's time for Democrats to stop being such gormless chumps, and start matching Republicans' procedural hardball.


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This blue slip rule has been dying a slow death since the beginning of Trump's presidency. The rule (which is really more of a tradition than a rule) was a thorn in liberals' side for President Obama's entire presidency — Republican senators blatantly abused it to keep as many federal court vacancies in their states as possible. Though they didn't use it every single time, it was pervasive — and as this Brookings analysis shows, it was a significant enough obstacle that oftentimes Obama didn't even bother nominating people for vacancies in Republican states — yet Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.), who chaired the Judiciary Committee when Democrats controlled the Senate, continued to enforce the rule.

Read the full article at The Week.

Ryan Cooper

Ryan Cooper

Ryan Cooper is a national correspondent at His work has appeared in the Washington Monthly, The New Republic, and the Washington Post.

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