Thoughts on the filibuster.

The filibuster is an undemocratic tool of an undemocratic branch of government.

It allows a group of 41 senators, possibly representing the 21 least populated states to prevent anything from happening. To put that in perspective, that means that if all of the senators from WY, VT, AK, ND, SD, DE, MT, RI, HI, NH, ME, ID, BE, WV, NM, NV, UT, AR, KS, MS, and one from IA got together, they could stall the government. And they represent only about 33 million people, or LESS THAN the population of California alone.

That’s what I call bullshit. If you consider that it only requires a 50.000001% majority of that 33 or so million, then we’re talking only 16 or 17 million people potentially ruling the other roughly 280 million, and why? So that Yankees won’t come and take away someone’s plantation?

If the filibuster were an implement of the House, I would be singing a slightly different tune.

So, if I were drafting the Constitution today, it’s not the filibuster I would take out, it’s the Senate (with appropriately strengthened 9th and 10th amendments).

But in the rough and tumble of today’s political world, this has nothing to do with increasing democracy. In fact, it’s the opposite. It’s an attempt by an ideological minority to control yet another undemocratic branch of government, the courts, with their own activist partisans.

If I’m forced to choose between “activists” like Earl Warren, who to appropriate a phrase came to fulfill the Constitution, not to end it–and “activists” like Clarence Thomas who would repeal the twentieth and nineteenth centuries (how that’s gonna work out for him, I’m not sure–a low-tech lynching?), I’ll take the former.

The problem with people like Kaus is that for all of his criticisms of liberals and Dems, he never gives an equally tough rundown of the otherside. We’re hypocrites because we’re “non-nuclear” just because the Republicans are in charge?

Bumpkus. We’re hypocrites if we’re pro-nuclear when we have full knowledge that the result will be several lifetime appointments meant to go against everything that liberals stand for. Vote for me, I’m pro-whatever, but only on a floor vote? If there are any abstractions in the way I’m not?

It’s exactly this kind of self-doubt inducing analysis–the kind only Democrats get caught up on–that lets them win.

3 thoughts on “Thoughts on the filibuster.

  1. Conversely, the fillibuster can be a Democratic tool in an undemocratic institution. The 45 Dems (counting Jeffords) in the Senate represent more constituent votes than the 55 Republicans – no doubt largely on the strength of Boxer, Feinstein, Schumer, Clinton, Obama, Durbin and Nelson. This under-represented majority deserves to have its voice heard when choosing judges who will have a lifetime appointment and whose decisions will have an impact on the nation as a whole.

  2. That’s an excellent point. Historically, though, I think it’s done more harm than good.

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