Senate 'Nuclear Option' Is Really No Big Deal

By Roland S. Martin

November 22, 2013 4 min read

If you need any proof of the over-inflated, bloated importance Washington, D.C., politicians and members of the media have of themselves, look no further than the ridiculous dialogue surrounding the Democrats invoking the "nuclear option" to deal with presidential appointees.

Earth shattering. The biggest decision in 40 years. A Democratic power grab. The hyped words and phrases go on and on, but that, frankly, is boring.

This is really what happened in the U.S. Senate on Thursday: Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid pushed through a measure changing the Senate rules to ensure that a simple majority vote is needed to accept or reject a presidential appointee.

OK, next story in the newscast.

Yeah, that's all. The Senate changed a simple rule that was changed before. By the way, that rule was created by power given the Senate in the U.S. Constitution, meaning that it was never etched in stone and could be changed at any time.

Yet, if you turned on the TV or radio or read stories in newspapers and online, it was treated as if the Second Coming was upon us and Jesus Christ was descending from the heavens.

If you take your time and carefully go through the Constitution, you will discover that the filibuster, that sacred legislative tool treated by some as if it were authored by one of the Founding Fathers, is nowhere to be found.

Yep. Nada. Nothing. Where are all of the strict-constructionist Democrats and Republicans who are often quick to say that if the Founding Fathers didn't intend for such a thing, then we should adhere to the Constitution?

It is abundantly clear that the actions of the GOP over the past five years when it comes to appointments made by President Barack Obama have been utterly shameful. Time after time, individuals were nominated, only to see the Senate not take action. No, the reasons had nothing to do with qualifications. It was all about politics.

When President George W. Bush was in office, Democrats were the ones doing the blocking and then protesting when Republicans held the upper hand and threatening to invoke the nuclear option.

On my TV One cable network morning show, "NewsOne Now" with Roland Martin, Sen. Tim Scott, R-S.C., said that as far as he is concerned, he isn't worried that Reid changed the rules to a simple majority, noting that he came from the U.S. House and that's the standard there.

He also said that Democrats must accept the reality that if they are one day in the minority, the rule will come back to haunt them.

Well, so it goes.

The bottom line is that elections have consequences. More Democrats won U.S. Senate seats, and so they control the process. Obama got more electoral and popular votes, and that's why he's in the White House. He has every right to field the best team in his administration and to appoint judges to his liking to the federal bench.

The shameful political machinations we see in D.C. every day are sickening. I live there, and I despise what I see. It does nothing to instill confidence in the nation. It is all designed to generate sound bites for political ideologues.

If voters don't like what Obama and the Democrats are doing, they can vote in the 2014 midterms and in the 2016 presidential election.

By the way, anyone find it curious that we can choose our president, U.S. senators and members of the House of Representatives by simple majority, but that's not good enough for a political appointee?

Yeah, enough said.

Roland S. Martin is senior political analyst for TV One and author of the book "The First: President Barack Obama's Road to the White House as Originally Reported by Roland S. Martin." Please visit his website at To find out more about Roland S. Martin and read his past columns, visit the Creators Syndicate Web page at

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