I am so moved by Senator Byrd’s undying respect for the Senate’s traditions that I must ask him to go further to make his point. If he wants the American people to really understand how serious a threat to democracy is the invokation of cloture, he should demand time to speak, kneel down in the middle of the aisle, and set himself ablaze with gasoline.
If he’s not willing to do that, he should shut the hell up and crawl back under the moldy rock from which he sprang.
In 1975, Senator Byrd attempted to change the Senate’s rules, making it easier to invoke cloture in order to prevent Republicans from fillibustering. Now, he’s calling the same attempt by Repulicans “Nazism.”
During this time, several compromise proposals were developed, including: (1) applying the reduced requirement only to appropriation bills and conference reports; (2) reducing the majority required on each successive cloture vote; (3) requiring the needed majority to include a majority of each party; and (4) substituting a requirement of three-fifths of the full Senate (60 votes).
In 1975, this last proposal, originated by then Majority Whip Robert C. Byrd, was adopted for most measures, but the two-thirds requirement was retained to limit debate on measures changing the Senate’s standing rules. In addition, since 1959 motions to proceed to consider rules changes have been debatable even if offered during the “morning hour” when other legislative proposals can be brought up without a debatable motion. These provisions are intended to protect Senators against rules changes that might further restrict their prerogatives.
Thanks to Jonah Goldberg
And the Blogoshpere’s conservative hemisphere isn’t the only source of complaints. Jewish groups express outrage at Byrd’s abuse of Nazism:
A pair of Jewish groups accused Sen. Robert Byrd on Wednesday of making an outrageous and reprehensible comparison between Adolf Hitler’s Nazis and a Senate GOP plan to block Democrats from filibustering. A GOP senator called for Byrd to retract his remarks. (Source)
UPDATE: More comment from Professor Bainbridge who foreshadows the Jewish reaction.