Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Ending The Senate Filibuster

Ezra Klein was on Countdown last night, discussing with Lawrence O’Donnell something that left wing progressives have been drooling about since 2006, ending the filibuster in the Senate so that minority Republicans can no longer prevent the Democrats from carrying out their ideas unobstructed. The discussion was remarkable primarily for its failure to address the real impact of doing that.

Klein went on at length about how the danger of talking about it and not doing it was that if Republicans achieved majority that they would do it and then Democrats would be the powerless minority that they had talked of turning the Republicans into. He failed to mention that the same result would be achieved by the Democrats ending the filibuster rule and then losing the majority, which they will inevitably do sooner or later.

The point is that ending the filibuster means that the party in the minority is rendered utterly meaningless, almost to the degree that it is pointless for them even to bother to attend sessions of Congress, which is a very good idea only if you are in the majority. When, as will undoubtedly happen sooner or later, Democrats lose power, they are going to bitterly regret having ended the filibuster.

The point is that the filibuster rule is not bad in itself; it provides the minority with a voice, and assures that the minority is allowed to remain a part of the governing process. It provides balance in governance, preventing ideology from running rampant.

There is no question that the rule is being abused at this point, but that does not mean that the rule should be abolished, thereby damaging the integrity of our governance. The problem is not the rule itself, the problem is the current abuse of the rule. There should be found some way of preventing the abuse of a rule that has served us well for a very long time.

1 comment:

bruce said...

Amen, brother... A sane voice in the wilderness.

Another of your "vote the bums out" moments? thereby getting rid or / holding accountable the persons abusing the rules?

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