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Miscellaneous meanderings and philosophical ramblings. The title from a spiral notebook I used to jot down my thoughts on religion and other matters some years ago. I like to write, think and express my views on various issues. Robust discussion is welcome.

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"Lan astaslem."
I will not submit. I will not surrender.
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Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Sarah Palin says VP is in charge of the Senate

Some people seem to not care for the way Sarah Palin described the role of the Vice President in regard to the U.S. Senate.

Q: Brandon Garcia wants to know, “What does the Vice President do?”

PALIN: That’s something that Piper would ask me! … [T]hey’re in charge of the U.S. Senate so if they want to they can really get in there with the senators and make a lot of good policy changes that will make life better for Brandon and his family and his classroom.

And the outrage follows.

Indeed, while Palin suggests that questions about what the Vice President does is something only her daughter Piper would ask, Palin herself asked this very question on national television in July. Apparently, she still hasn’t learned the correct answer

This author is apparently one of the terminally stupid with the reference to what Palin said in July. That is more than adequately dealt with here.

Article I of the Constitution establishes an exceptionally limited role for the Vice President — giving the office holder a vote only when the Senate is “equally divided” (source)

Oh my, she said the VP is in charge of the U.S. Senate!

Several problems with this criticism. One, “in charge of” is much easier for a 3rd grader to understand than presides over, which is the role of the Vice President. But when you have an ax to grind, conveniently changing the level of linguistic precision required is par for the course. I wonder if these critics are aware that Joe Biden was wrong about Article I and the executive branch? If they are, I bet they don’t care near as much about that.

Two, Biden has said similar:

“I hope one of my roles as vice president will be as the person actually implementing Barack Obama’s policy. You gotta get the Congress to go along with it,” he said. “And it’s presumptuous to say, but I know it pretty well. And I think I am fairly respected on both sides of the aisle.” (via HotAir)

Let’s also consider that having only a vote when there is a tie is not the totality of the VP role in the Senate. This is covered well by JackM at Ace’s here

But Palin is actually right: The Constitution empowers the Vice President to Preside over the Senate. The majority party cannot prevent him/her from doing so.

And this matters. Why?

Because whoever sits in that chair has actual parliamentary power in a couple of areas.

For example, say you are watching C-Span and you hear two Senators shouting at the chair for the privilege of speaking, or to ask a procedural question. The only person who is recognized to legitimately take the floor, is, by Senate rules, the person who the Presiding Officer hears and acknowledges first.

If Palin were in that chair, she could make the call as to who is recognized to speak or to ask a parliamentary question. By using this ability, Palin could, in fact, structure the order of debate or to render a procedural inquiry moot.

In fact, procedurally the President of the Senate (or their designee) makes all the calls. The President of the Senate can be overturned by a vote of the Senate, but, absent that vote, the ruling of the Chair governs the action on the floor. It is not far fetched to say that on a controversial bill, a President of the Senate who wished to delay proceedings could in fact force repeated votes to overturn his or her rulings.

Be sure to read it all as he gives a real world and relatively recent example as to how that matters.

Considering this Palin critic starts with the stupidity of saying that Sarah Palin didn’t even know the role of the Vice President in July, it’s hardly surprising he sounds like some typical myspace tards. I’m quite sure the author is as impervious to being corrected as they are. Then again maybe he already posts his drivel in various groups on myspace.

Funny, that someone of such mental caliber *snort* is writing for a publication with “Think” in the title.


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