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Thursday, December 23, 2010

Filibuster Reform: I Say Give It To Democrats

Democratic Senators sign a letter urging the Senate to change the rules of the filibuster. Go for it!!

Whenever one party holds the majority in the Senate, that same party screams about the filibuster procedure when the minority party can force a vote to require 60 out of 100 Senators instead of passing a bill with a simple majority.

It slows things down, yes, but it also gives a voice to the minority party and their constituents. When any one party wins a majority, the minority party isn't supposed to go home and wait for the next election and hope that they win back the majority. The rules are set up the way they are for a purpose and that is exactly what filibusters do.... preserve the integrity of Senate body and force them to compromise in certain areas where no compromise would be made if the ruling party simply could shove through whatever agenda they wanted with no opposition.

With that said... I say if Democrats are so short-sighted that they do not take into account that in 2012 they have 23 seats up for grabs in the Senate with Republicans only a handful and that for the next two years the GOP has control of the House of Representatives, so without cooperation barely anything could make it to Obama's desk for signature, give it to them.

Reform the filibuster and let them take their chances in 2012 and also let them pray that they do not lose control of the Senate and/or the Presidency, because if they do then the reform they are chomping at the bit for now, will come back and bite them on the ass in a major manner.

[Update] William A. Jacobson, from Le-gal-In-sur-rec-tion, makes the point a little more clearly than I just did.

With a solid Republican majority in the House, the filibuster takes on less importance for Republicans. The threat of a filibuster still will play into the politics of judicial nominations, but not much else. With so many Democrats in the Senate up for reelection, the "centrist" block of Democrats may make a filibuster unnecessary in most events.

So if Democrats change the filibuster rule, will they be shooting themselves in the foot?

In 2012 there is a reasonable likelihood of a Republican majority in both houses of Congress. If Obama loses, and Republicans find themselves in the position Democrats have been in the past two years, things could get very interesting with relaxed filibuster rules. Even if Obama wins, the ability of a Republican Senate to pass on legislation to Obama -- requiring a veto -- will be an important political tool.

What goes around, comes around. Senators, having the long memories they do, understand this, even if the rabble in the left-wing blogosphere do not.

The proposed changes would not eliminate the filibuster, it seems they would actually makes things move along more slowly in the Senate, contrary to the hype that claims it would speed things up, but hey, the Senate is supposed to be the deliberative body.

I say contrary to the hype because if Senators actually have to get up and filibuster (talk almost endlessly) and they do it, then things slow to a crawl and those of us that watch C-Span from time to time to see the Senate in action, will need pots and pots of coffee and may even expire of boredom, although the media will have more statements and gaffes to report on!!

Message to the far left
- Go for it!! Do not cry, whine, stomp your feet and beat your chest though, if in 2012, Republicans take the Senate and/or the White House and your party cannot use the same methods to protect their constituents and are forced to abide by the reform rules that Democratic Senators are pushing for now with the help of the liberal blogopshere.

(This post has been added on to and updated)