Thursday, January 24, 2013
The Thom Hartmann Show: Video: Senate Leader "Harry Reid Caves on The Filibuster": What Progressives Don't Understand About Congress
I need to start this post by clearing up a myth, the US Constitution gives Congress both the House and Senate the ability to right their own rules. That alone makes the Senate filibuster Constitutional, so this idea that the filibuster is not in the US Constitution. Is Unconstitutional is bogus and I could be harsher then that because people who make the claim. Progressives generally know better or they should no better and if they don't know better. Then they aren't as intelligent as I thought and again you make the its not in the Constitution. Argument, remember what else is not in the US Constitution, the Department of Health and Human Services. Department of Education, Medicare, Social Security, go down the line, doesn't mean they are Unconstitutional. The Constitution doesn't prohibit the Federal Government which Congress is clearly part of from doing things. Just because those things aren't in the Constitution and if Progressives want to be taken more seriously by the Democratic leadership. On issues like this, then they not only need to know the facts but stop saying things that aren't true.
Now I want to imagine a World where someone like a Rick Santorum or someone with that mindset is President of the United States. Republicans now control thirty Governorships, lets say they pick up five in 2014 and now control all of the Governorships in the swing states. And start passing rules that make it difficult for traditional Democrats to vote. They start passing new "Voter ID" law which are really Voter Prevention laws and the Supreme Court decides not to. Hear them until after the 2016 Presidential election so more then half of the people voting for President. In America are Republican or Independent, thats how someone like a Rick Santorum could get elected. President of the United States, it will probably never happen but these are things that people who say abolish the filibuster should think about. Now you got a President Santorum with a Republican Congress that has a House with 240+ Republicans and Senate with. Lets say fifty five Republicans, of course Mitch McConnell now that the filibuster is gone and he's the new Leader will say. The hell with the Democrats we are in charge now and we can do whatever the hell we want to do.
The big thing that Progressives don't understand about responsibility and actions as well as Congress. Is that Congress operates under precedent, especially the Senate the House is a hell of a lot more partisan. The majority party there can basically do whatever they want but the Senate operates under precedent. When the majority does something bad to the minority, like shut them out from committee meetings to use as an example. Which is how the Senate operated when Bill Frist was Leader from 2003-07, once the minority party comes back to the majority. They tend to hit them back and generally hit them harder like preventing the minority from offering amendments. The filibuster has been abused and I believe it should go but not because its Unconstitutional because it clearly is. But because it ends up giving more power to the minority which sometimes is a coalition of Democrats and Republicans. When there's Bi Partisan opposition to legislation which happens from time to time, just ask President Bush. When it came to the Iraq War and gives power over a minority over the Leader and Minority Leader. But minority rights needs to stay but reforming them has to be done.
Like I blogged a couple of weeks ago I would eliminate the filibuster and replace it with a motion to table. That could only come after debates on legislation are over right before final passage, that only the Minority Leader could make. I would go a lot further as I blogged a couple of weeks ago that you can read in the Congress section of this blog. But not remove minority rights because its a check on abusive power whether it comes from. Republicans or Democrats which is something we have to have in a Liberal Democracy.