December 23, 2010

"Now Might Be A Really Great Time (For Republicans) To Weaken The Filibuster."



Seven Machos said...

Do not weaken the filibuster. Do not change the filibuster. What foolish (non?) advice.

Lem said...

I agree.. leave the filibuster alone.

If something is important enough it will pass on the merits.
ie don't ask don't tell repeal.

I like the idea of congress not having an easy time passing new laws.. even if it may mean not an easy time cutting back the size of government.. its not like they are eager to cut programs to begin with.

So yea, leave the filibuster alone.

Lem said...

The filibuster also has the added advantage of telling us what a senator is willing to stick his neck out for... thereby (so the theory goes) helping focus the attention of the voters.

The filibuster made Strom Thurmond.

Revenant said...

If we're going to have any chance of rolling back government programs, the filibuster will probably have to be weakened first.

Beldar said...

No, no, no.

Per Buckley's comments about standing athwart history yelling "Stop!" it's far more likely to be in the GOP's interest, year in and year out, to slow things down and to maintain the Senate's traditional "saucer" function to cool down the hot coffee from the House.

There will never be a time when it's to the GOP's long-term overall advantage to weaken the filibuster. I'm not even sure the move down to the present 60-vote cloture rule was a good idea.

(NB: I'm talking about legislation, not treaties or presidential nominations, on which I think the Senate's express role in providing advice & consent implies an obligation to permit an up-or-down vote.)

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Revenant said...

Per Buckley's comments about standing athwart history yelling "Stop!" it's far more likely to be in the GOP's interest, year in and year out, to slow things down

Generally speaking that's a good policy.

But we're at a point now where the government has grown well past the point of sustainability. We can't just yell "stop!". We have to yell "turn around! go back the other way!".

The filibuster preserves the status quo. The status quo is unsustainable. We need the power to roll back the state.

edutcher said...

Agree with Revenant (?!), but this is one of those, "Be careful of that for which you wish..." moments.

They may come to regret it later. It does have its uses.

rhhardin said...

Should rule 22 be changed has been a topic written about for a hundred years.

Apparently not, ought to be the lesson.

tim maguire said...

We need a new name for what we have today, because it's not really a filibuster anymore. The filibuster in its traditional conception is an important minority protection rule. BUT, it's become too easy.

When a filibuster meant talking forever, the side that cared more won. But now, when someone can just say "I filibuster this" with no obligation to back it up with some sweat, it's merely changed the voting rules to require a super-majority on almost any senate bill.

And that should be done through the constitutional amendment process, not senate rules.

Jay said...


Where were these people when the Democrats were filibustering judicial nominees in 2005 (which was unprecedented)?

By the way, here is good Democratic government in action:

minic joined dozens of children yesterday at the annual Toy Gun Bash in the gymnasium of Pleasant View Elementary School. There, they lined up to toss their toy guns, from dainty purple water guns to camouflage-painted pistols, inside the Bash-O-Matic, a large black, foam creature with churning metal teeth and the shape of a cockroach spliced with a frog.

Prodded by Attorney General Patrick C. Lynch, who wore a fuzzy Santa hat, the children stared curiously as the Bash-O-Matic mashed up their guns and digested them into a plastic bin near its tail. . . . Some children were not thrilled with the trade.

Malik Hall, a round-eyed second-grader, looked apprehensive as he stood in line with his favorite toy, a thick, blue gun with plastic sword underneath the muzzle. The 8-year-old was furious when his mother, Amanda, told him he would have to give it up. Yesterday morning, he tried to hide it under his pillow, she said.

Isn't that swell?

New "Hussein" Ham said...

"If we're going to have any chance of rolling back government programs, the filibuster will probably have to be weakened first."

Republicans have not even advanced rolling back government programs as a party platform.

And that's because Republicans have no interest nor desire to roll back government programs.

And not for nothing, but it's seriously time to educate the Althouse crowd about some basic American civics:

1) All appropriation bills must emanate from the US House of Representatives. The Senate cannot pay for things.

2) Republicans control the US House of Representatives, following the historic mid-term elections which ousted Democrats from those seats.

3) No government program can exist without funding.

4) Republicans control all funding, since they control both the Appropriations Committee and the US House of Representatives.

5) No government program can thus exist unless The Republican Party approves of the funding of it.

Every single government program that continues to exist past March of 2011 (when the continuing resolution currently in effect expires) will only do so because the Republican Party wants that government program to exist.

Otherwise, funding for those programs would be eliminated from the Republican budget that Repbulicans control as a result of Republican control of the U.S. House of Representives.

We will see, in a very few short months, where the Republican Party actually stands regarding funding of the Department of Education, the NEA, liberal PBS, liberal think tanks, liberal colleges and universities ...

... ad infinitim.

The filibuster only occurs in the Seate ... and while it is important, it is irrelevant if the House passes a budget which eliminates government programs that ONLY help perpetuate the Democrat Party.

We have a historic opportunity to completely eliminate all forms of funding which accrue to the benefit of Democrats.

We'll see by what they do (not what they say) whether Republicans have the balls to do it.

Clyde said...

@ Jay

From How the Lynch Stole Christmas

You're a mean one, Mr. Lynch.
You really are a heel.
You're as cuddly as a cactus,
You're as charming as an eel.
Mr. Lynch.

You're a bad banana
With a greasy black peel.

You're a monster, Mr. Lynch.
Your heart's an empty hole.
Your brain is full of spiders,
You've got garlic in your soul.
Mr. Lynch.

I wouldn't touch you, with a
thirty-nine-and-a-half foot pole.

You're a vile one, Mr. Lynch.
You have termites in your smile.
You have all the tender sweetness
Of a seasick crocodile.
Mr. Lynch.

Given the choice between the two of you
I'd take the seasick crocodile.

You're a foul one, Mr. Lynch.
You're a nasty, wasty skunk.
Your heart is full of unwashed socks
Your soul is full of gunk.
Mr. Lynch.

The three words that best describe you, are as follows, and I quote:

Stink, stank, stunk!

You're a rotter, Mr. Lynch.
You're the king of sinful sots.
Your heart's a dead tomato splotched
With moldy purple spots,
Mr. Lynch.

Your soul is an apalling dump heap overflowing
with the most disgraceful assortment of deplorable
rubbish imaginable,
Mangled up in tangled up knots.

You nauseate me, Mr. Lynch.
With a nauseaus super-naus.
You're a crooked jerky jockey
And you drive a crooked hoss.
Mr. Lynch.

You're a three decker saurkraut and toadstool sandwich
With arsenic sauce!

(original credit: Dr. Seuss)

Clyde said...

The Grinch wore a fuzzy Santa hat, too, as a disguise. Coincidence? I think not. I think there's an Attorney General in Rhode Island whose heart is three sizes too small.

Lincolntf said...

Now is not the time to play around with the filibuster.
The Dems are in the process of fracturing into two distinct groups, the "sane and worried about re-election" and the "moonbats". Let's keep the rules just the way they are and spend the next couple years watching the Dems frantically try to present a united front at the same time they're murdering each other behind closed doors.
There's no good reason to take the pressure off.

Harsh Pencil said...

There is an interesting constitutional question here: How many votes does it take to change the Senate rules associated with filibusters at the beginning of a new Senate? Can the minority filibuster the new rules?

I think the answer is probably not. The Senate rules do have in them that that until there are new rules, the rules from the old Senate apply, so that would appear to allow a filibuster to prevent the weakening of the filibuster.

But the Constitution also requires each house to make its own rules. That can be interpreted as the new Senate makes its own rules and can't be beholden to rules made by a previous Senate.

Original Mike said...

I don't understand Jacobson's argument that now is a great time. If you can change the filibuster rules with a majority vote, and if the Repubs get the majority in 2012 and want to eliminate the filibuster then, they can do it then. I don't see the advantage to the Repubs if the Dems do it now. In fact, it clearly weakens the Repub position now.

But I do agree with those who have disdain for the way the filibuster works now. If you want to filibuster somthing, stand up and read the phone book. Or better yet, talk about the actual bill ad nauseum.

Hoosier Daddy said...

I say get rid of the filibuster. I have no problem with straight up and down votes on anything. If the majority of leftists Democrats can get their legislation passed then fine. Let the electorate decide, just like they did in November whether it should stand. Same goes for the GOP.

PETER V. BELLA said...

Keep the filibuster.

Fred4Pres said...

The filibuster may be an accident of arcane rule making in the Senate, but anything that tempers the power of the Senate is probably good. The Senate was intended to be the sober slower half of the legislature. Yes the filibuster makes getting rid of bad laws harder, but it also makes imposing bad laws harder.

MaggotAtBroad&Wall said...

The title of his post is misleading. It sounds like he's advocating to weaken the filibuster. I don't think he is.

He wrote the post in response to a a letter sent to Harry Reid, signed by all returning Senate Democrats, suggesting they want to change the filibuster rules in the new Congress. He's pointing out that Democrats may be in the minority sooner than they expect. And if the Democrats change the rules and they suddenly find themselves in the minority, then the plan could backfire and the advantage the Democrats tried to give themselves could instead accrue to the Republicans.

AllenS said...

Find out what the Democrats want, then do the opposite.

MadisonMan said...

I say get rid of the filibuster. I have no problem with straight up and down votes on anything.

Part of me finds that very appealing. But if I were planning something long-term, the prospect of each successive Congress changing already-enacted laws because Senate filibusters (1) didn't stop their enactment or (2) can't stop their repeal? I wouldn't like that.

aronamos said...

We need the power to roll back the state.

And with a straight up or down vote in the Senate we'd now be paying for a "public option" in Obamacare and heaven knows what else that Nancy and Barney could get through the house.

Keep the fillibuster for when the pendulum swings the other way.

ken in sc said...

BTW,in the early 1800s, the word 'filibuster' referred to what today we call a 'coup'. When a small group of adventurers—most of them Americans—took over the government of a Central American country, it was called a 'filibuster' (I think it was El Salvador). This word came to mean whenever a minority thwarted the will of the majority. That's how it came refer to a single senator holding up the business of the Senate.

c3 said...

OK, now that we've discussed this can the Professor please put up one of her patented polls so we can vote on the issue?

Ankur said...

For those suggesting we should preserve the filibuster just as they are, I recommend the following brand-messaging strategies.

Filibusters: Keeping tyranny of the majority in check since [insert appropriate year here].

or another one..

Filibusters: Protecting the rights of minority parties since [you know the drill]


Filibustering: Why win elections when you can F-I-L-I-BUSTER!!

Ankur said...

Here's another idea - lets suspend the filibuster everytime the republicans are in power, and re-institute it everytime the democrats are in power.

I mean - we all know who the powerabusing sumbitches are, don't we? don't we?

Beldar said...

Yes, things need rolling back.

But if it weren't for the filibuster, things as they are NOW would ALREADY be vastly worse. Obama's and the far Left's entire wish-list would be law.

We will need the filibuster again someday.

The roll-back needs to be done through conventional means. Yes, we need a filibuster-proof conservative senate, and control of the House and the White House, to fully accomplish that roll-back.

It's going to take a four-year cycle, folks, to undo the results of the 2008 election. That's simply built into the bones of the Constitution.

I can't think of anything that could possibly be more foolish than for Republicans to weaken the filibuster, and only someone who lacks historical perspective and is entirely focused on instant gratification could fail to understand that.