September 27, 2022

Lawrence O'Donnell really let Kyrsten Sinema have it after she gave an inaccurate and ahistorical speech at the McConnell Center yesterday. (Yes, that McConnell, Moscow Mitch.) She can't hold town halls in her state or even meet with constitutents, but she makes time to give a speech about how Mitch should be able to block everything he doesn't like with a 60-vote supermajority. (As if it wasn't bad enough, anyway.)

O'Donnell was not having it. He began with this statement from Sinema:

Those of you that are parents in the room know that the best thing you can do for your child is not give them everything you want, right? That is important to the United States Senate as well. We should not get everything that we want in the moment, because later, upon cooler reflection, we recognize that it has gone too far. The importance of the 60-vote threshold is to ensure that nobody gets everything that they want. That you compromise, that you find that middle ground, and by doing so, you are much more likely to pass legislation that stands the test of time. It will not be reversed when the next party gains power. That is the importance of the 60-vote threshold.

"So numbers -- she thinks that the 60-vote threshold ensures that nobody gets everything they want. There is not a single senator in the history of the United States Senate who has gotten everything that he or she wants, not ever. Senator Sinema did not give a single example of a bill being passed with less than 60 votes that was then repealed when there is a change in power in Congress and the White House. Not a single example of her fear, of her theoretical justification for a voting threshold in the Senate that was not yet provided for in the Constitution, and which defies democracy," he said.

If we were to give into that moment of wanting exactly what you want, the reversal that would come in a year or two years would not only be bad for the American body, it would be bad for businesses, bad for state and local governments.

"Well, maybe that is why it doesn't happen. Except, of course, for tax rates. Whenever Republicans control Congress and the White House, they cut tax rates, and whenever Democrats regain control of the Congress and the White House, they raise tax rates. It happens, and the country survives. Senator Sinema was not finished. What she had already said about the 60-vote threshold was indefensible. She has been apparently one of those people who likes to follow the indefensible with the crazy. Which she did."

Not only am I committed to the 60-vote threshold, I have incredibly unpopular views. I actually think we should restore the 60-vote threshold for the areas in which it has been eliminated already. We should restore it. Not everybody likes that. Because it would make it harder, harder for us to confirm judges, and it would make us harder to confirm executive appointments in each administration. But I believe that if we did restore it, we could actually see more of that middle ground in all parts of our governance. That's what I believe our forefathers intended.

"Our forefathers, as she called them, intended that women never be senators. Our forefathers intended that women never have the right to vote. Our forefathers did not intend for a place called Arizona to be represented in the United States senate, when the Founding Fathers were writing the Constitution, the place we call Arizona was Spain. and the authors of the Constitution expected it to remain Spain. in 1821, when Mexico secured its independence from Spain, the place now called Arizona was in Mexico. The United States took that land as the spoils of war, which is how we got Arizona, the Arizona territory eventually became the 48th state in 1912. Pretty late in the game," he said.

If Sinema truly believed in what the forefathers advocated, he said, she would actually be opposed to the 60-vote majority, as the Constitution was very specific about the requirement of a majority vote, with the exception of treaties and impeachment convictions, which take a two-thirds vote.

"The number 60 never appears in the Constitution, which seems to live in her imagined version of the Constitution," he continued.

"The simple majority vote is a dangerous and fickle threshold for governing in a democracy. Why should only five members of the United States Supreme Court get to decide the final interpretation of the law of the land? Why doesn't Sen. Sinema advocate a minimum of a 60-vote threshold in the United States Supreme Court, instead of a majority? Why is the United States of America the only country that has a 60 percent threshold to win a vote in a national legislative body?"

The United States Constitution also says that "the President shall nominate, and with the advice and consent of the Senate, shall appoint judges of the Supreme Court," O'Donnell said.

"The Constitution does not say that Mitch McConnell shall prevent a nominated Supreme Court Justice from even being considered by the United States Senate for its consent as Mitch McConnell did to Merrick Garland in the last year of the Obama presidency.

"It's worth noting McConnell didn't need 60 votes to do that either.

"Today, Kyrsten Sinema traveled to Kentucky to celebrate Mitch McConnell's constitutional vandalism, and her own relentless ignorance, by saying this about Mitch McConnell."

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