E-mail Scott
Scott's Links
About the Author
Opinion Archives
Social Media:
Google Plus
Monthly Archives:

January 2010
February 2010
March 2010
April 2010
May 2010
June 2010
July 2010
August 2010
September 2010
October 2010
November 2010
December 2010
January 2011
February 2011
March 2011
April 2011
May 2011
June 2011
July 2011
August 2011
September 2011
October 2011
November 2011
December 2011
January 2012
February 2012
March 2012
April 2012
May 2012
June 2012
July 2012
August 2012
September 2012
October 2012
November 2012
December 2012
January 2013
February 2013
March 2013
April 2013
May 2013
June 2013
July 2013
August 2013
September 2013
October 2013
November 2013
December 2013
January 2014
February 2014
March 2014
April 2014
May 2014
June 2014
July 2014
August 2014
September 2014
October 2014
November 2014
December 2014
January 2015
February 2015
March 2015
April 2015
May 2015
June 2015
July 2015
August 2015
September 2015
October 2015
November 2015
December 2015
January 2016
February 2016
March 2016
April 2016
May 2016
June 2016
July 2016
August 2016
September 2016
October 2016
November 2016
December 2016
January 2017
February 2017
March 2017
April 2017
May 2017

Powered by Blogger
Subscribe via RSS

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

The filibuster and the supermajority

Posted by Scott Tibbs at 4:30 AM (#)

It's no secret that Democrats in the U.S. Senate are thinking about getting rid of the Senate rule that requires a 60-vote supermajority to stop debate in the Senate. It was only five years ago that leading Democrats, including Vice President Joe Biden and President Barack Obama, attacked Republicans for considering changing the rules to allow a simple majority. Back in 2005, Democrats bitterly complained it represented the arrogance of power.

My, how times have changed. This isn't a complete surprise. The Democrats have been unable to pass health care "reform" despite controlling 60 votes in the Senate. When Scott Brown was elected in January, they lost the supermajority in the Senate and now have to get at least one Republican vote to stop debate and move forward.

Personally, I think it is good that the Senate is not efficient. Any time government acts to do anything, we lose part of our liberty. It may be a small sliver or it may be big, but some of our freedom is taken away. This is why it is good that there are mechanisms in place to slow things down and allow the minority party to obstruct legislation they believe to be harmful to the country. The Democrats were right to decry changing senate rules in 2005.

In addition, Republicans were dangerously short-sighted five years ago. Just as a video with Democrats supporting the filibuster demonstrates their hypocrisy, Republicans are caught in a similar trap. No political party holds power in perpetuity, and it is critical for the majority party to think ahead and consider whether actions taken now - especially changes in Senate rules - could be harmful to them when they are eventually in the minority.

One of the complaints Democrats have is that the filibuster is being "overused." One possible solution is to demand a real filibuster, where Senators are required to occupy the floor and continue speaking. Once the minority party has no one to speak, a vote is taken. On matters of deep conviction, the minority party would be able to muster enough Senators to keep the debate going and the option exists to slow down the process.

Overall, the filibuster is a good thing. It prevents the majority from rashly pushing through legislation, and slowing down the process allows the American people to become educated on bad legislation. If the legislation being considered is a good idea and popular with the American people, then enough members of the minority party will allow a vote to take place out of concern for their own re-election. If Democrats change the rules now, they will have little room to complain if Republicans capture the Senate in November and use the rule change to their advantage.

Below are the rules for commenting on ConservaTibbs.com.

  1. A reasonable level of civility is expected. While it is expected that controversial political and social issues may generate heated debate, there are common-sense limits of civility that will be enforced.

  2. This blog is a family-friendly site. Therefore no cursing, profanity, vulgarity, obscenity, etc. will be allowed. This is a zero-tolerance rule and will result in automatic deletion of the offending post.

  3. Anonymity has greatly coarsened discourse on the Internet, so pseudonyms are discouraged but not forbidden. That said, any direct criticism of a person by name cannot be done anonymously. If you criticize someone, you have to subject yourself to the same level of scrutiny or the comment will be deleted.

  4. Please keep your comments relevant to the topic of the post.

  5. All moderation decisions are final. I may post an explanation or I may not, depending on the situation. If you have a question or a concern about a moderation decision, e-mail me privately rather than posting in the comments.

Thank you for your cooperation.