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The Senate still needs reform

By Ezra Klein

A couple of commenters asked how I can say, on the one hand, that this Congress was the most productive in 40 years, and still hold, on the other, that the Senate's rules need to be reformed to make action easier. Here's your answer.

By Ezra Klein  | November 2, 2010; 1:51 PM ET
Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   StumbleUpon   Technorati   Google Buzz   Previous: The end of the 'do-something' Congress
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So, Ezra, how did Blanche Lincoln's runoff in Arizona turn out?

Posted by: portsmouthjoe | November 2, 2010 2:59 PM | Report abuse

In selecting an appropriate visual symbol of the Senate in its founding period, one might consider an anchor, a fence, or a saucer. Writing to Thomas Jefferson, who had been out of the country during the Constitutional Convention, James Madison explained that the Constitution's framers considered the Senate to be the great "anchor" of the government. To the framers themselves, Madison explained that the Senate would be a "necessary fence" against the "fickleness and passion" that tended to influence the attitudes of the general public and members of the House of Representatives. George Washington is said to have told Jefferson that the framers had created the Senate to "cool" House legislation just as a saucer was used to cool hot tea.

Posted by: marteen | November 2, 2010 3:31 PM | Report abuse


You are talking about a different Senate. Remember that Senators were not supposed to be elected by a popular vote.

Posted by: 54465446 | November 2, 2010 3:42 PM | Report abuse


You are talking to progressives, here. They are smarter than you. They are smarter than me. They are smarter than Jefferson, Madison, and Washington combined. They know how you should run your life better than you do. Why can't you just get that through your head?

The Constitution is soooo 200 years ago. We have progressives like Ezra that know better than those old farmers how to run a country.

If Ezra could have his way, there would be a simple rule that only activates the filibuster when the GOP holds the majority. When Democrats hold the majority, the filibuster rule would be invalid so progressives could run rampant with all their grande college-classroom theories without having to actually debate them with anyone else who has actually worked and run businesses in the real-world.

Posted by: dbw1 | November 2, 2010 3:55 PM | Report abuse

"without having to actually debate them with anyone else who has actually worked and run businesses in the real-world."

Once again, dbw1 shows that he's the kind of GOPper who thinks that you run a country with a copy of Quicken.

Posted by: pseudonymousinnc | November 2, 2010 7:20 PM | Report abuse


I think you might wish to rethink changing the Senate rules. It will be very narrow after tonight and that margin depends on Manchin, Lieberman, Ben Nelson, Carper, McCaskill, Webb, Tester, Baucus, Conrad, Pryor, and Warner. Moreover, many of those seats -- in red states -- are up in 2012 so the Senate can easily flip then.

Posted by: brucel2 | November 2, 2010 9:17 PM | Report abuse

psuedo wrote:

"Once again, dbw1 shows that he's the kind of GOPper who thinks that you run a country with a copy of Quicken."

Well one thing for sure. Very few people in this administration have ever run anything before, certainly not the economists like the hapless Christina Romer. I guess tonight we found out it matters.

Posted by: 54465446 | November 2, 2010 10:42 PM | Report abuse

Thank you for providing a link to your article. I appreciate an answer to my question.

Reading through many of the comments here, I am surprised that you have the stomach to even bother reading them yourself!

Posted by: puzzlemuse | November 3, 2010 6:03 AM | Report abuse

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