Parliamentarian Robert Dove: The Rules of the Senate

 Contributor Rez sent me this video on the rules of the Senate.  Robert Dove served as the Senate Parliamentarian from 1981 to 1987 when he was dismissed by Senator Robert Byrd. He then went on to work for Senator Robert Dole until he was reappointed Senate Parliamentarian in 1995. According to that great source of misinformation, Wikipedia:

In 2001, he determined that Senate rules allow only one budget bill per year to be immune from filibuster.[3] The Parliamentarian may delete provisions in a budget bill if the provision has only policy implications or if it has no budgetary implications.[4] In 2001, Dove ruled to remove a Republican provision to allocate over $5 billion in the 2002 budget for natural disasters.[3] Following Republican anger about these rulings, he was dismissed by Republican Majority Leader Trent Lott. [5] Both times Dove was dismissed, he was replaced by Alan Frumin.

Upon leaving the United States Senate, he became a professor at The George Washington University, specializing in Congressional issues.[6]

Why is a Parliamentarian even subject to dismissal? Shouldn’t the Parliamentarian be independent of politics? It would seem to me that the American people would be better served if the Parliamentarian were appointed for a term of x years.

The Rules of the Senate

Hearing Mr. Dove speak reminded me of many of the roasts heard during the various services held for the Lion of the Senate, Teddy Kennedy, upon his death.  As I listened to a political opposite like Senator Orrin Hatch speak of his affection for the late Senator Kennedy, I realized how much of both of their lives had been spent on building coalitions and honest to goodness friendships. The senators need to return to the good old days.

Was Nancy Pelosi “Asking for It?”

Much as been made on talk shows, radio, electronic media and print media of that famous walk across the capitalgrounds by the Congressional leaders, in particular, House Speaker, Nancy Pelosi.   The Capitol balcony had Republican congressmen and women holding signs and leading chants from a sea of people on the lawn, the sidewalks and the roadways were lined with angry people shouting ‘kill the bill’ and other slogans. 

The picture below has been circulated all over the Internet.  It has been perceived as a victory lap by both parties. 

That crowd appeared extremely hostile if one is to assume that angry people are hostile.  Depending on who you listen to, the crowds have been described as peaceful but angry and others have called the crowds dangerous, hostile, and that getting through them was very much like running a gauntlet.

Many commentators have criticized Nancy Pelosi and the Congressmen and women for walking on the street.  Many have said they could have chosen another route that didn’t fan the flames. Most Fox News commentators vocalized that Nancy Pelosi did not have to go to the Capitol along that route. Glenn Beck took things a step further.  He accused her of goading the crowd and ‘asking for it:’

[Note:  the date when Pelosi teared up over Harvy Milk was Sept. 2009.  Beck conveniently made it look like her speech was a more recent response.]


I have a problem with anyone saying that a person walking on the street is ‘asking for it.’ That is tantamount to saying a rape victim was ‘asking for it’ because of their attire. Should members of congress have to slink away through the underground parking garage? Should the crowd have been allowed to get that close? Should Pelosi et al not walked from one building to the other? The gavel she carried was the one used when Medicare passed.

Have there been other times in history where legislation or election outcomes have been this contentious? Who took their victory laps? Is it tacky to take victory laps? How about the election of 2008? Impeachment hearings, the Civil Rights Act(s)?  I can’t see either party apologizing for passing legislation.