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Posted at 8:30 AM ET, 01/ 6/2011

Stalling on filibuster reform

By Jennifer Rubin

For ever-hopeful liberal bloggers, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid's introduction of a filibuster reform measure yesterday was a sure sign, yes indeed, that the Democrats are serious about filibuster reform. But are they?

Reid could have staged a vote, but instead, as I predicted, that will have to wait until after the Senate returns on January 24. (Only in Congress do you show up for the first day of work and then go on vacation for three weeks). A senior Senate adviser scoffed that if Reid had the votes, there'd be no delay. The only reason to put this off is to come up with an alternative that will allow the Democrats to withdraw the "nuclear option" gracefully.

It seems some Democrats have figured out the downside of lessening the rights of the minority. The Hill reports:

A senior Senate Democratic aide said some of the younger Democratic senators are having second thoughts about filibuster reform because they expect to be in the minority at some point in their careers.

"Believe me, when you're in the minority, you want the filibuster," said the aide.

And guess what? That might be as soon as 2012. In fact, it might be even sooner. In an interview yesterday, Sen. Claire McCaskill (D-Mo.) indicated that she'd like to reconsider the individual mandate. Maybe there are a few others. Well, presto, there is a majority. Surely Democrats would want and deploy every rule in the book to slow down that train, no?

It never ceases to amaze me how liberals fail to grasp the concept of "unintended consequences," be they the result of their own procedural rules or their legislative output. I suppose when you are convinced that you are very smart (with an Ivy League diploma to prove it!) you imagine that all the angles are covered. More often than not, that's wrong. And rushing decision-making only makes it more likely that you'll miss something. Democrats can mull all that over for the next few weeks.

By Jennifer Rubin  | January 6, 2011; 8:30 AM ET
Categories:  Senate Democrats  
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"It never ceases to amaze me how liberals fail to grasp the concept of "unintended consequences," . . .

Generalize much?

Posted by: Echo21 | January 6, 2011 9:11 AM | Report abuse

"It never ceases to amaze me how liberals fail to grasp the concept of "unintended consequences," . . .

Generalize much?

Posted by: Echo21 | January 6, 2011 9:11 AM


She generalizes all the time. Easier than thinking.

Posted by: mypitts2 | January 6, 2011 10:40 AM | Report abuse

Hit a nerve, did she? All columnists generalize (a generalization). That's what makes their products "opinion columns" and not "articles" or even "books". There's nothing wrong with generalizations if what you're saying is generally true. That sophomoric "gotcha" game for generalizations was old thirty years ago (when you probably weren't born yet).

Posted by: Posteroid | January 6, 2011 12:32 PM | Report abuse

I can count on the fingers of one hand the number of Democratic senators that appear to be truly serious about filibuster reform.

But consider this: You're sworn to uphold the Constitution of the United States (in your oath of office). So please read Federalist Paper No. 58 by James Madison starting with "It has been said that more than a majority ought to have been required for quorum....."

According to Madison, who is considered
to be the main author of the Constitution, the fundamental principle of free government would be reversed and the power transferred to the minority if any more than a simple majority would be required for a quorum or a decision on an issue (other than the 5 specified issues requiring a 2/3 vote). In that case, according to Madison, the minority would be able to "extort unreasonable indulgences" from the majority on the legislation.

Sound familiar? Like what recently happened with health care and all the other legislation in the past year that Republicans opposed but were able to water down.

So unless the Dems are serious about passing meaningful reform of the filibuster rule I suggest that they drop it.

I am sick and tired of seeing ineffective legislation touted as, "Well, if we didn't pass it we'd all be worse off" or whatever. That dog won't hunt anymore.

Posted by: billeisen1 | January 7, 2011 6:34 AM | Report abuse

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