Saturday, February 13, 2010

Kill the filibuster

Back when Republicans were threatening "The Nuclear Option" to abolish the filibuster, I was really hoping they would. You recall that Republicans were hoping to get Justices Roberts and Alito confirmed, and, anticipating Democratic objections, threatened to do away with the filibuster rule.

I hoped they'd kill it because I knew one day Democrats would be back in power and Republicans would use it to stymie their agenda. So, I supported getting rid of it then, and I support it now. For several reasons.

Elections should mean something, and the minority should not be able to stop the majority from enacting its agenda. If the agenda is unpopular, well, elections come along every two years.

More importantly, I think it's unconstitutional. Not unconstitutional in the sense that it violates some provision of the Constitution, because the legislature gets to organize under their own rules, but unconstitutional in the sense that it doesn't comport with the system intended by the framers.

The framers put plenty of safeguards into our system of government to protect minority political views. The Senate by it's very existence is a protection for small states, i.e., minorities. Legislation is hard enough to get through without some additional stupid hurdle enacted by the senators. The US Senate is deeply dysfunctional, enabled by the filibuster rule. This country can't seem to fix any of its problems, and the filibuster rule is a big part of that.

Our problems are too pressing, and we are having too much competition from China, to not be able to made adjustments and pass legislation. So, I support abolishing the filibuster. Yes, some day Republicans will be back in power in the Senate. But by then perhaps we will have made some progress. And there will always be another election.

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