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View Diary: Abbreviated Pundit Round-up: Post-election posturing (135 comments)

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  •  Only one minority is ever protected (2+ / 0-)
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    Laconic Lib, Ohkwai

    "Once the majority can change the rules by majority vote, the Senate will soon be like the House, where the majority doesn’t consult the minority but simply controls the process."

    Someone needs to tell Arenberg that his nightmare has already come true.  There's no "once" about the ability of a simple majority to change the rules of the Senate.  It already exists.  

    And yes, if the rules can be changed by a simple majority, that majority can control the process within the Senate.  We know this is true because a simple majority that merely threatened to change the rules avout the filibuster was thereby able to deny the Democratic minority the use of the filibuster.  This too, control of the process by a simple majority, is already an established fact, but is a tool only available to simple majorities willing to even threaten to change the rules by a simple majority.

    Arenberg is so nostalgic for a bygone, almost forgotten, era of bipartisanship, that he wilfully ignores the reality we can touch and feel and hear and see today.  The Senate is already a place where the majority controls the process -- if and only if that majority is Republican.  And then, because Democratic majorities have proven unwilling to retaliate in kind when they hold the majority, the Republicans get to block everything even when they are in the minority, a power to block that is denied the Democrats when they are the minority.

    Maybe there was a time when either party in the minority could be relied on to not so abuse every parliamentary means at its disposal to control the Senate, if only in the negative sense of keeping it from doing anything.  The minority would filibuster only the rare, isolated majority measure that it found really intolerable, or the occasional nominee who was simply unacceptable to a large minority.  Sure, there was some value in that, some value in a check on the most extreme intentions of the majority of the moment.  But now we have one party that uses the filibuster in the minority to block everything the majority tries to do, and then when iself the majority denies the other party the exercise of the filibuster by threatening to kill it by simple majority vote should the minority dare use it.

    Majority rule is vital.  The party that wins the election has to be able to get the people's business done.  Putting some minority limits on majority rule is nice to have, but not sustainable if we have one party that uses measures designed to be checks, to instead control even when it is in the minority.  Talk all you want about the supposed horrors of untrammeled majority rule in the Senate, they can't be worse than what we are already experiencing, untrammeloed minority rule in the Senate.

    However the Senate rules dictate the balance of power within that body, the ultimate control and limit on its actions has to be the will of the people.  Let the majority do what it will, let it ride roughshod over the minority in the Senate, and, you know what, that's exactly what the people intended when it sent that party into the Senate as the majority.  If the majority abuses this trust the people put in it, there's always the next election and throwing the bums out.  There's an American tradition of governance we can all get behind, majority rule and then majority accountability at the next election.  What Arenberg fails to ackowledge is that that tradition is no longer compatible with the filibuster.  One must go, democracy or the filibuster, and it shouldn't be democracy that getc canned.

    We should have destroyed the presidency before Obama took office. Too late now.

    by gtomkins on Thu Nov 15, 2012 at 06:19:27 AM PST

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