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Due to the Thanksgiving Holiday, as well as an upcoming weekend trip; the third part of the Bottom Line’s Civil War Trilogy, “Lincoln,” will not be posted until next weekend (Dec. 7th/8th). Due to the delay, we will also be providing another full length article on those same dates.

Thank You, and have a great weekend.


Happy Thanksgiving!

Happy Thanksgiving from the Bottom Line to you and your family; we hope you have a wonderful day!

Obama Administration Delays Small Business Obamacare Enrollment for a Year

From Politico:

Marking the latest setback, the Obama administration today will announce a yearlong delay of online enrollment for small businesses looking to purchase health coverage through federal-run exchanges, according to an HHS notice obtained by POLITICO.

Once again we have the Obama administration delaying Obamacare consequences in order to protect vulnerable Democrats running for re-election in 2014; there is no other explanation for it. There is no reason to delay enrollment till after the 2014 elections unless you don’t want people to experience the effects of the law. How this is possibly legal, I don’t know; and it is infuriating that the administration keeps arguing that “its the law, we reject any attempts to change or delay it” and yet has no problem with delaying the law, and/or changing requirements in the law to suit their purposes. Once again, Republicans need to hammer this hard; if they don’t, they will make it that much harder for themselves to keep the House and take the Senate back from the Democrats.

Ronald Reagan Quote of the Week

“Thomas Jefferson once said, ‘We should never judge a president by his age, only by his works.’ And ever since he told me that, I stopped worrying.” ~ Ronald Reagan

Jesse Jackson thinks Obama is facing most Hostility in Presidential History

Really? I can guarantee you that George W. Bush received just as much, if not more hostility during his 8 years than Obama has/will in his 8; I mean, George W. Bush was brutalized by his opponents, so to say Obama has encountered the most hostility in history, when his predecessor received just as much, is intellectually dishonest. But neither Bush nor Obama have received the most hostility in Presidential history.

Abraham Lincoln (in my opinion) received more hostility than Obama has; after all, the guy did have the whole South (as well as Democrats in the North who refused to secede) hate his guts; and there is that small matter of him being assassinated as well! Going back even farther, during the Presidency’s of John Adams and Thomas Jefferson, these two Founding Father Presidents were ripped to shreds not only by the media, but by clergy of the opposite party. Not only were they being destroyed, but they were being destroyed by very influential people, which the clergy were at the time; there is not much that can reach greater levels of hostility than that!

So does Obama have to deal with hostility? Of course; but to claim that no one has been brutalized by hostility to the extent that he has, is totally ignoring history and missing the point entirely.

MoveOn.Org doesn’t care about Lost Health Insurance

Leftist group is circulating an email that shows the absolutely deplorable attitude they have towards those who have lost their health insurance due to Obamacare; h/t Weaselzippers:

Why are we so fixated on 4 million insured people who may lose their current and mostly sub-standard health insurance policies and ignoring the fact that 48 million people who have never had health insurance will finally be able to buy health insurance?

The 4 million insured have had the ability to purchase insurance all along. Now, due to circumstances beyond their control, including the greed of insurance companies, they could potentially lose their current policy. But they still have the option to get another plan.

The 48 million people that have never had coverage would not be able to get any health insurance coverage if it were not for the Affordable Care Act. End of story!

Tell your lawmakers to stop putting politics ahead of the needs of the majority—that is not the way a democracy is supposed to work.

Click here to add your name to this petition, and then pass it along to your friends.


–Jim Frost

Well Jim, the reason we are so fixated on this is because President Obama LIEDwhich is exactly what you are doing in this email! Obama said that we could keep our plans, period; that is why we are so fixated on it! Its not that they “may ” lose their health plan, its that they already HAVE lost it! And by the way, 4 million is a lot of people, and there are millions more expecting to have their plans canceled. Another thing; what makes you so sure all, or even most of these plans were substandard? Even if they were, they were undoubtedly better than Obamacare, I mean, if the Administration can’t even handle a simple website, what makes you think they can handle healthcare for millions of people?

As for your 48 million uninsured number, stop assuming that all or even most of them couldn’t  buy insurance; many people who are young, like myself, don’t buy insurance because they don’t want it! And you know what? They should have the choice not to purchase healthcare if they so choose; its what we here in America like to call FREEDOM. And given that the administration has DELAYED enrollment until 2015 (assuming they figure out how to work the exchanges by then, but hey, it IS the government), what are those 4+ million people (and those who have yet to have their plan canceled) going to do? Remember this website is struggling to work for a couple thousand people; I shudder to think what would happen if 48 million tired.

The simple fact Jim is that you are callous, cold, and inconsiderate; and whats worse is that you are willing to ignore facts and lie to try to gain support. 4 million people matter Jim, especially when the facts don’t even match the rhetoric you are using about them. Obamacare is a failure; it is unpopular amongst Doctors, patients, and rational thinking people everywhere. If had even one shred of decency, they would be trying to help come up with the solution to the problem, instead of minimizing and lying about it.

Founding Father Quote of the Week

Every prudent and cautious judge . . . will remember, that his duty and his business is, not to make the law, but to interpret and apply it. ~ James Wilson

The Civil War, Part 2; Which Side Started the Civil War?

Image courtesy of National Geographic

The following is the second of a three part series on the Civil War; and while the Civil War is a complicated and controversial topic, I feel the misinformation that is currently out there must be addressed. In the last installment we covered the reason the South seceded from the Union; in this chapter we will deal with which side started the war; and the final installment shall deal with President Lincoln. 




Whenever I hear someone refer to the Civil War as “the war of Northern aggression” I have two basic reactions; the first is to drop my head and give an exasperated sigh, and the second is to simply laugh at the statement. The Civil War was certainly not a war of “Northern aggression”, but sadly many people hold this flawed view of history when it comes to this topic. Whenever I hear the “Northern aggression” argument, I always wonder if proponents of such logic actually understand what the word “aggression” means; for those who don’t, Merriam-Webster defines it as:

angry or violent behavior or feelings…a forceful action or procedure (as an unprovoked attack) hostile, injurious, or destructive behavior or outlook especially when caused by frustration.” (1)

And if we were to go back even farther, Webster’s 1828 dictionary defines “aggression” this way:

The first attack, or act of hostility; the first act of injury, or first act leading to war or controversy.” (2)

     With the simple understanding that for something to be an act of aggression it has to be a feeling of anger or violence, the first act of hostility/the first act that leads to war, and/or something that is often unprovoked; it is very easy to understand how the Civil War was never a war of Northern aggression, but if anything, a war of Southern aggression. A simple examination of the facts will lead us to this conclusion.

As we learned last time, the South seceded because they wanted to keep the institution of slavery intact and feared Lincoln would take action to abolish it (despite his repeated promises that he would not). Reading the words of the Southern leaders along with their secession documents shows us the anger and vitriol they levied at Lincoln and the Northern Republicans for being anti-slavery; words that described feelings of anger and distrust. Couple this with the fact that they inharmoniously broke the Union that was the United States via the act of secession, the first act of hostile behavior was undoubtedly enacted by the South.  

But not only was the act of secession an innately hostile one, it was also an action that the Founding Fathers did not view as valid; and it is here we must take a slight detour in order to gain a more complete understanding. On secession, Thomas Jefferson once said:

I fear, from an expression in your letter, that the people of Kentucky think of separating not only from Virginia (in which they are right), but also from the [United States]. I own I should think this a most calamitous event and such a one as every good citizen should set himself against.” (3)    

     Jefferson feared that the citizens of Kentucky were contemplating a separation (secession) from the United States; something he saw as a calamity that all good citizens should be against. Jefferson knew that even one state leaving the Union would destroy the cords that hold us together and thus refused to see secession as a viable option. Jefferson conveyed these same feelings during the John Adams’ Presidency, when the Alien and Sedition Acts were put into place; Jefferson, in a letter to John Taylor, again warned that secession was not a viable option:

“Perhaps this party division is necessary to induce each to watch & delate to the people the proceedings of the other. But if on a temporary superiority of the one party, the other is to resort to a scission of the Union, no federal government can ever exist. If to rid ourselves of the present rule of Massachusets & Connecticut we break the Union, will the evil stop there? Suppose the N. England States alone cut off, will our natures be changed? are we not men still to the south of that, & with all the passions of men? Immediately we shall see a Pennsylvania & a Virginia party arise in the residuary confederacy, and the public mind will be distracted with the same party spirit. What a game, too, will the one party have in their hands by eternally threatening the other that unless they do so & so, they will join their Northern neighbors…But who can say what would be the evils of a scission, and when & where they would end? Better keep together as we are…” (4)    

Furthermore, writing to Wilson C. Nicholas, Jefferson stated:

“Expressing in affectionate and conciliatory language our warm attachment to union with our sister States, and to the instrument and principles by which we are united; that we are willing to sacrifice to this every thing but the rights of self-government in those important points which we have never yielded, and in which alone we see liberty, safety, and happiness; that not at all disposed to make every measure of error or of wrong, a cause of scission, we are willing to look on with indulgence, and to wait with patience, till those passions and delusions shall have passed over…” (4)  

     Jefferson was not alone in his disdain for dissolving the Union through secession; George Washington also saw scission as being wrong, writing in 1783:

“Such is our situation, and such are our prospects… this is the moment to establish or ruin their national Character forever, this is the favorable moment to give such a tone to our Federal Government, as will enable it to answer the ends of its institution, or this may be the ill-fated moment for relaxing the powers of the Union, annihilating the cement of the Confederation…There are four things, which I humbly conceive, are essential to the well being, I may even venture to say, to the existence of the United States as an Independent Power: 1st. An indissoluble Union of the States under one Federal Head…These are the Pillars on which the glorious Fabrick of our Independency and National Character must be supported; Liberty is the Basis, and whoever would dare to sap the foundation, or overturn the Structure…will merit the bitterest execration, and the severest punishment which can be inflicted by his injured Country…That unless the States will suffer Congress to exercise those prerogatives, they are undoubtedly invested with by the Constitution, every thing must very rapidly tend to Anarchy and confusionThat whatever measures have a tendency to dissolve the Union, or contribute to violate or lessen the Sovereign Authority, ought to be considered as hostile to the Liberty and Independency of America…It is only in our united Character as an Empire, that our Independence is acknowledged, that our power can be regarded, or our Credit supported among Foreign Nations. The Treaties of the European Powers with the United States of America, will have no validity on a dissolution of the Union.” (5)

Madison and Hamilton joined Washington and Jefferson in the fear and rejection of secession and dismemberment of our Union; Madison writing to Hamilton stated:

“I am sorry that your situation obliges you to listen to propositions of the nature you describe. My opinion is, that a reservation of a right to withdraw, if amendments be not decided upon, under the forms of the Constitution, within a certain time, is a conditional ratification; that it does not make New York a member of the new Union; and, consequently, that she could not be received on that plan. Compacts must be reciprocal: this principle would not, in such a case, be preserved…The idea of reserving a right to withdraw was started at Richmond, and considered as a conditional ratification, which was itself abandoned as worse than a rejection.” (6)

Hamilton, writing to Theodore Sedgwick expressed his feelings on secession in 1804:

“I will here express but one sentiment, which is, that Dismembrement of our Empire will be a clear sacrifice of great positive advantages, without any counterballancing good; administering no relief to our real Disease; which is Democracy, the poison of which by a subdivision will only be the more concentered in each part, and consequently the more virulent.” (7)

     The actions of the South were contrary and hostile to the nation the Founding Fathers set up, but it is only the first reason the “War between the States” should be seen as a product of Southern aggression. The second reason has to do with the actions of the South after they had seceded, for in the months following secession, the South made it a habit of confiscating Union owned forts and supplies; as Mark Jenkins of National Geographic recounts:

“During the four months leading up to Lincoln’s Inauguration, the seceding states, one after another, seized federal forts, arsenals, and customs houses within their borders.” (8)

       The seizing of Union (Federal) forts and weapon arsenals cannot be seen as anything but a hostile and aggressive act on behalf of the South; there is something inherently aggressive about seizing the property of another government. In terms of today, imagine if an American military base or consulate was seized by the owners of the country where it resides; the American government would be furious, and some would even designate it as an act of war. But yet, the North did not launch itself into war with the South over these forts; that of course would change with Ft. Sumter.

Fort Sumter was in the territory of the Confederate State of South Carolina; it was manned by less than 100 Union men, whom the Confederates demanded evacuate immediately. The North rightfully refused, as it was their property. Some Confederate sympathizers argue that since the Fort was in Southern territory, the South had a right to lay claim to it; but let’s think about that logic for a second.

Suppose that tomorrow, Washington D.C. were to secede from the United States, declaring herself a free an independent nation. The new rulers of D.C then demand that President Obama and Congress vacate the White House and the Capitol; should the President and Congress bow to their wishes and hand over the buildings? The answer, quite obviously, is of course not! The White House and the Capital building are United States Federal government owned buildings, and nothing about D.C. seceding changes that fact. Just because you decide to break the Union, does not mean you have the right to kick other people out of their own property. The same principle goes for Fort Sumter; the Confederates had no right to demand the Union hand over their own Federal property, simply because South Carolina decided they didn’t want to be part of the Union anymore.

All things considered, this was nothing more than a move of aggression by the South against the United States Federal government. To be fair, the Confederates did offer safe transport away from the Fort, but in light of the situation, that makes the demand no less aggressive. As the Smithsonian explains:

“The Confederates demanded immediate evacuation of the fort. However, they promised safe transport out of Charleston for Anderson and his men, who would be permitted to carry their weapons and personal property and to salute the Stars and Stripes, which, the Confederates acknowledged, “You have upheld so long…under the most trying circumstances.” Anderson thanked them for such “fair, manly, and courteous terms.” Yet he stated, “It is a demand with which I regret that my sense of honor, and of my obligation to my Government, prevent my compliance.” Anderson added grimly that he would be starved out in a few days—if the Confederate cannon that ringed the harbor didn’t batter him to pieces first.” (9)

     Lincoln knew that Anderson’s force of 87 men could not last much longer against the roughly 3000 Confederates rallied against them. Lincoln wished to reinforce Fort Sumter with around 200 troops, but the Confederates warned that this would be an act of war; and so Lincoln decided that he had to at least launch a humanitarian mission to send Anderson and his men some food.

“Lincoln…informing the rebellious Southerners that the fleet would carry only supplies into Sumter…Should the Confederates choose to fire on this “mission of humanity,” as Lincoln called the supply run, they would then become the aggressor. (8)

“Knowing that Anderson and his men were running out of supplies, Lincoln announced his intention to send three unarmed ships to relieve Fort Sumter.” (10)

     The South believed any attempt to help Ft. Sumter, even if it was just to provide food to starving men, was an act of aggression; which it obviously was not, but this belief shows the hostile mindset of the Confederate States of America. On April 12th 1861, before the humanitarian commission could arrive, the South again rowed out to the Fort and demanded that Anderson and his men leave immediately, offering the Union peaceful departure if they would do so; Anderson, realizing he could not last much longer, responded by saying that he and his men would in fact leave, just not yet:

“Anderson sent back a message to the Confederate authorities, informing them that he would evacuate the fort, but not until noon on the 15th, adding, “I will not in the meantime open my fire upon your forces unless compelled to do so by some hostile act against this fort or the flag of my Government.” (9)

     The South finally had what they wanted; they had finally convinced Anderson to evacuate the Fort, and if they would simply allow Anderson three days, Fort Sumter would finally be theirs. But what was the South’s response to Anderson’s offer of departure? It was to tell him that he did not have three days, but rather, one hour:  

But the Confederacy would tolerate no further delay. The envoys immediately handed Anderson a statement: “Sir: By authority of Brigadier-General Beauregard, commanding the provisional forces of the Confederate States, we have the honor to notify you that he will open the fire of his batteries on Fort Sumter in one hour from this time.” (9)

     And once that hour had passed, shortly after 4:30 in the morning, the Confederate States of America opened fire on Ft. Sumter, shelling it with the power of 43 guns and mortars, thus officially starting the Civil War. (8) Once again the evidence is crystal clear; it was the aggressive acts of the South that brought upon the war, not vice versa. The South had seceded, seized, threatened, and finally fired upon a U.S. fort, and it was only then that Lincoln and the North responded with real military force. It is not as if Lincoln wasn’t justified in military response, his soldiers had just been attacked after all, and yet, even with all these facts come to light, some still insist it was the North who were the aggressors. The simple fact of the matter is that through their actions of secession, seizing, and bombardment, the CSA started the Civil War and brought down the wrath of the North upon them, leading to the abolition of the institution (slavery) that they first separated in order to protect.

But there is one more misconception that must be corrected. Some argue that the Civil War was an unnecessary measure to end slavery; they argue that we could have freed the slaves some other way. One man who utilizes this argument is Ron Paul, and I use him in this case not to attack him, but rather, to correct the assertions that he, like many others, like to make:

“Paul repeated his claim that Abraham Lincoln should not have started the Civil War to get rid of slavery.”Six-hundred-thousand Americans died in the senseless Civil War,” he said. “No, he should not have gone to war…”Slavery was phased out in every other country in the world,” Paul continued, responding to the question if America would still have slavery had there not been the Civil War. “The way I’m proposing that it should have been done is do it like the British Empire did — you buy the slaves and release them. How much would that cost compared to killing 600,000 Americans?…I mean, that doesn’t sound too radical to me. That sounds like a pretty reasonable approach.” (11)

     Again, while I’m not trying to attack him, Paul shows his ignorance and illogical reasoning when it comes to this issue; he says that Lincoln did not need to go to war in order to free the slaves, but what Paul fails to realize is that Lincoln did not go to war to end slavery! Remember what Lincoln himself said; that everything he did was predicated upon keeping the nation together; his actions where neither to promote nor end slavery, but rather to preserve the Union. Now it just so happened that one of the happy consequences of the war was the abolition of slavery, through the Emancipation Proclamation and the 13th amendment to the Constitution, but for Paul and others to claim that we did not need to go to war to end slavery, misses the entire point.  

Paul also says that we could have phased out slavery, like every other country in the world did, and that’s easy for us to say considering we are not at the cruel end of whips and chains, but what is even more befuddling is Paul’s (and others) claim that we could have ended slavery by buying and releasing the slaves! Paul conveniently forgets that the situation in England was not the same as in 1860’s America. Unlike England, America as of just before the Civil War was not one unified country, but rather (in the eyes of the South) TWO countries; The United States of America, and the Confederate States of America. Not only did the CSA condone slavery, but they had separated from the North for fear that their slaves would be taken away; the entire point of the CSA was to protect the institution of slavery!

This all being the case, what makes Paul and Confederate sympathizers think that the South would suddenly be open to selling their slaves to the nation they just separated from? Frankly, it would be a miracle for the U.S to convince the C.S. to sell them the very “commodity” that they just seceded in order to protect. But even if the South were to go against all reason and decide to sell their slaves back to the North, can you imagine how much money that would cost the North? Undoubtedly the South would have had cause and opportunity to extort vast amounts of money from the North, playing upon their desire to abolish the institution; such an endeavor would leave the North in financial peril, if not debilitating debt (in 1879, an official monetary estimate on the amount of money the Union spent on the war concluded that it was over $6 billion; and considering Mississippi alone considered their slave population to be worth $4 billion, one can imagine the price to buy back all the slaves over time). (12)(13)

And finally, even if the CSA did implausibly decide to sell to the Union, their slaves (whom they believed were vital to their prosperity), there remains one problem. The South believed that they had a right to African slaves, which included the right to pursue the acquisition of said slaves (remember that the Republican Party platform specifically condemned “the recent re-opening of the African Slave Trade, under the cover of our national flag.” (14)); so the question remains; being a perceived nation unto themselves, what was to stop the CSA from simply acquiring more slaves from Africa, or anywhere else for that matter, after they had sold their old ones to the Union? I posit that the answer can be summed up in one simple word; nothing.   

This has been; “Which Side Started the Civil War?” Thank you so much for reading, and please tune in next week as we complete this Civil War trilogy with a discussion on the man, the myth, and the legend, President Abraham Lincoln.


1.      Merriam-Webster Dictionary:

2.      Webster’s 1828 Dictionary:

3.       Thomas Jefferson, The Works of Thomas Jefferson, Paul Leicester Ford, editor (New York: G.P. Putnam’s Sons, 1904), Vol. V, pp. 74-75, letter to Archibald Stuart, January 25, 1786.

4.       Thomas Jefferson, The Works of Thomas Jefferson, Paul Leicester Ford, editor (New York: G.P. Putnam’s Sons, 19054), Vol. VIII, letter to John Taylor, June 1, 1798; and Vol. VII, p. 390, letter to Wilson C. Nicholas, September 5, 1799. A: B:


5.       George Washington, The Writings of George Washington, John C. Fitzpatrick, editor (Washington, D. C.: Government Printing Office, 1938), Vol. 26, pp. 483-496, Circular to the States, June 8, 1783.

6.       William C. Rives, History of the Life and Times of James Madison (Boston: Little, Brown, and Company, 1866), pp. 626-628, correspondence between Alexander Hamilton and James Madison concerning possible secession or receding from the constitutional compact, Saturday and Sunday, July 1788.

7.      Alexander Hamilton, The Papers of Alexander Hamilton, Harold C. Syrett, editor (New York: Columbia University Press, 1979), Vol. XXVI, p. 309, letter to Theodore Sedgwick, July 10, 1804.

8.      National Geographic:

9.      The Smithsonian:

10.  History Channel:

11.  NBC:


12.  Civil War Home; “Historical Times Encyclopedia of the Civil War” Edited by Patricial L. Faust”,

13.    “A Declaration of the Immediate Causes which Induce and Justify the Secession of the State of Mississippi from the Federal Union, January 9, 1861,” The Civil War Home Page

14.    1860 Republican Party Platform:















Obama Admin. planning to Delay Obamacare Enrollment till after Midterm Elections


In a move that is clearly meant to save their bacon, the Obama Administration is reported to be planning a delay in Obamacare enrollment until after the upcoming 2014 election cycle:

The Obama administration plans to delay the start of next year’s ObamaCare enrollment period, a move pitched as a way to give consumers and insurance companies more time to study their options — but which also conveniently pushes the second round of enrollment past the 2014 midterm elections…The administration will allow consumers to start signing up on Nov. 15, 2014, as opposed to Oct. 15. Enrollment will last until Jan. 15, 2015, instead of Dec. 7.

So sign up starts on Nov. 15th 2014, when the elections are on Nov. 5th, 2014; but I’m sure its just to let everyone explore their options right? The Administration knows that Obamacare is now a losing issue, with people reacting negatively when they hear the name, and the Administration slowly trying to drop the term.There is no way that Democrats can possibly run on Obamacare as a positive issue, especially those who voted for it, which is why the Administration is trying to shield their vulnerable seats from the consequences of running on Obamacare by delaying the consequences of Obamacare itself.

This is an issue the GOP needs to hammer HARD; the Republicans need to stress at every point possible what the Democrats are doing with Obamacare; point out the convenience of the delay for their opponents; point out that Obamacare is such a devastatingly bad law that even its authors and signers are doing everything possible to make sure they are not hurt by it. The people need to have the lows to which the Democrats will stoop, pounded into their heads; they need to be warned that the Democrats cannot be trusted to not do this again if re-elected.

This is your big change GOP, please, please don’t screw it up!

This just in: Senate changing Filibuster rules; also, Harry Reid is a Hypocrite


According to the National Journal:

“The American people believe Congress is broken,” Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid said on the floor Thursday morning. “The American people believe that the Senate is broken. And I believe that the American people are right.”

With that, the Nevada Democrat set in motion a change to the Senate’s filibuster rules that has been years in the making…The change comes after a series of Republican filibusters on Obama nominees to the D.C. Circuit Court. Reid said on the floor that he would like to see an up or down vote on nominations, not including the Supreme Court.

So Harry Reid wants to change the rules of the Senate to make it harder for the Republicans to filibuster whatever radical leftists that President Obama nominates to the courts. Harry Reid believes that this is the right move, and that he has the authority to do this; but apparently he forgets that he was on the other side of the issue when George W. Bush was President. As the Wall Street Journal points out:

“In 2008, Mr. Reid himself swore that as long as he was leader, he would never turn to the nuclear option, saying it would be a “black chapter in the history of the Senate.”

Ironically, back in 2005, Reid called the tactics he used today “Un-American, and Illegal”:

As if that were not enough, Harry Reid participated in tactics today that ‘will poison Washington” and that go against what “the Founders had in mind”…at least according to then Senator and current President Barack Obama:

But then again, its only an Illegal, Un-American, poisonous black chapter that the Founders would have been against when the Republicans do it right? Hypocrisy thy name is Harry Reid.


According to Fox News, the Democrats succeeded in their mission:

Senate Democrats bowled over Republicans on Thursday to win approval for a highly controversial rule change which would limit the GOP’s ability to block nominees.  Majority Leader Harry Reid, moving quickly following days of speculation, used the so-called “nuclear option” to pass the change. Typically, major changes like this take 67 votes, but he did it with just a simple majority.  With Republicans fuming, the change weakens the power of the minority to stall nominations for top positions. Instead of needing 60 votes to break a filibuster, the change means Democrats will now need just 51.