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View Diary: HUGE--All returning Democratic Senators support reforming the filibuster (168 comments)

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  •  Why it still matters. (31+ / 0-)

    Yes, the initial objection will be that the filibuster might be necessary in order to block the enactment of  the craziest initiatives of a runaway reactionary majority in the House. But there's another tool available for stopping that, and it's called having the majority in the Senate. The veto is there, too, but the first line of defense is marshaling a Democratic majority to actually defeat bad policy.

    More than that, if the Senate is going to function as a body -- and since Democrats still hold the majority there, they might consider it a good thing if it also functioned -- there's going to have to be reform. It would be a tremendous mistake, I think, for Democrats to surrender their ability to use the house they still control because they lost control of the other one. The Senate can't just sit there unused for two years. Especially if there's going to have any hope of Democrats winning anything in the next election. Only one of the houses of Congress is going to be capable of formulating the Democratic legislative policy agenda and putting it before the public heading into 2012. But that capability is, as we all know, too easily hamstrung under the current rules. Without reform, the filibuster renders it a nullity.

    Yes, the House will send the Senate bad legislation over the next two years. So what? Don't pass it in the Senate. Don't even bring it to the floor. That's still the prerogative of the majority in the Senate. And more than that, pass good Democratic legislation and send that to the table. If the Senate is used as nothing but a filibustering backstop for the next two years, I don't see how Democrats make any argument to win the next election. The Republicans may be able to win on the "Party of No" platform, but I don't think that's equally true for both parties. Certainly not while Democrats still hold the Senate and the White House and everybody knows it.

    When the House passes bad legislation, ignore it. Pass a Democratic bill in its place, and put that up as an alternative. It may well be that neither side is able to ultimately pass anything. True, that's the same result you'll get if the filibuster stays in place and the Senate simply blocks everything. But with the filibuster still functioning as it currently does, there won't even be an the opportunity to pass Democratic alternatives and put the ball back in the Republican House's court. Democrats will filibuster Republican bills coming from the House, and Republicans will filibuster Democratic bills originating in the Senate. But the Republican House will come out as the one with the record of passage. Democrats won't have a counter unless they can actually force votes. And that's simply not possible unless the filibuster is reformed.

    •  I'm particularly proud of my support (5+ / 0-)

      for Tom Udall because of his leadership in this area.

      I also like that when I write him a letter his office personally calls me back to discuss it. He's a class act.

      Yeah, well, you know, that's just, like, your opinion, man.

      by NMDad on Wed Dec 22, 2010 at 05:14:53 PM PST

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    •  In an ideal world, I agree. It's the pressure for (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      RJDixon74135, HylasBrook

      presidential, and by extension Senate Democratic leadership, capitulation to the House agenda that I'm worried about.

      When the House passes bad legislation, ignore it. Pass a Democratic bill in its place, and put that up as an alternative.

      I just don't trust Harry Reid to follow this game plan.  Nor, sadly, the White House.  Oh well... I guess in that sense filibuster reform can't be much worse than the history (with notable recent exceptions, I will grant you) over much of the last two years.  Maybe it will be better.  

      Point taken, either way, about the long-term need for reform of Senate rules.  Just wish the heck they'd done it back when the House was an ally, rather than an impediment.

      [Conservatives are] engaged in one of man's oldest exercises in moral philosophy; ...the search for a superior moral justification for selfishness. JK Galbrai

      by Vtdblue on Wed Dec 22, 2010 at 05:22:43 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  Very good points, David (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      princesspat, DrToast

      Notice:  Anybody who skipped over David Waldman's comment because it's long should now go back and read it.

      Tax cuts for everybody, but no EXTRA tax cuts for the rich.

      by RJDixon74135 on Wed Dec 22, 2010 at 05:43:46 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  Here's to hoping the Dems don't pussyfoot. (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Vtdblue

      It will be interesting to see if the Reps are smart enough to play ball so they don't get left in the cold on this one, and if Dems will be smart enough to slam the door shut on their fingers.

      •  Oh and Btw, for those who didn't know... (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Angie in WA State, Vtdblue, fojo

        The US Congress is the only remaining democratically elected governing body in the developed world where the concept of filibustering continues to exist. We're the only country in the world where the losing side can literally shout down the rightfully elected winning side, and stop society dead in its tracks for no good reason at all. Literally everyone on the planet already figured this out years ago, and banned it. Why can't we?

        Why is it that in our society, 100 men utterly detached from reality can hold a nation of 309 million people hostage to their personal whims?

    •  Plus, Senate bills have to be reconciled... (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Angie in WA State

      Yes, the initial objection will be that the filibuster might be necessary in order to block the enactment of  the craziest initiatives of a runaway reactionary majority in the House. But there's another tool available for stopping that, and it's called having the majority in the Senate. The veto is there, too, but the first line of defense is marshaling a Democratic majority to actually defeat bad policy.

      Plus, laws from either chamber have to be reconciled and then voted on by bother houses. 'Crazy' stuff flat out can't get through, unless the whole asylum is in on it.

      It's clear to anyone who studies the issue, the filibuster either needs to go away all together, or at least be severely restricted by making them tougher to start and sustain.

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