Monday, December 12, 2011


Via Mistermix, I see that James Fallows has been referring to the GOP use of the filibuster in the Senate as "nullification." Fallows quotes a commenter who says:

I believe what will happen will in some ways be worse, at least in the short term, if perhaps sadly better in the long term: if the GOP retakes the Senate after the 2012 elections, they'll simply abolish the filibuster.

In the long term, that will actually perhaps be for the good of our country, considering how the GOP has abused and short-circuited the legislative process. In the short term, however, the results are obviously likely to be terrible.

I actually don't think the Republicans will abolish the filibuster. I'm no expert on what the legislative niceties of this would have to be, but I think they'll find a way to suspend the filibuster for two years, with the suspension ending at the end of the 2013-14 Congress.

Then, if the Republicans hold on to the Senate in the 2014 midterms, they'll simply suspend the filibuster for two more years. And so on every two years. But they'll structure this in such a way that whenever they lose the Senate, the filibuster will be back in force the next January -- when they're in the minority and will be able to use it.

But, er, if they find a way to restore the filibuster just before the Democrats regain Senate control, can't the Democrats simply reverse this, getting rid of the filibuster themselves when they take over in January? Well, in theory, yes -- but I bet the Republicans will work like hell to flip a couple of Blue Dogs and prevent that from happening. They'll crank up the noise machine; we'll suddenly see a rash of op-eds by seemingly independent voices arguing that the lack of filibuster subjects us to "the tyranny of the majority" and is contrary to the wishes of the Founders. (That will be particularly shameless, because the mid-level history professors who write these op-eds will have been recruited by the GOP, which will have been the majority to whose tyranny we'd been recently subjected.)

And the Republican restoration of the filibuster will stick, just in time for Republicans to use it.


c u n d gulag said...

Jesus, Steve!

I thought I was the King of pessimism!

I'm Russian and Ukrainian, so when we see a glass with the liquid at 50%, we don't think the glass is half full or half empty - we wonder who drank half our vodka!?!?!

But you're starting to make me look like Rebecca of Sunnybrook Farm!

Steve M. said...

They tell me I'm Italian, but I'm so gloomy, sometimes I wonder if some genes from your neck of the woods slipped in there....

c u n d gulag said...

Well, I keep telling people that one of the prevailing fears of being Slavic is that eventually, we know that, "The Germans Are Coming, The Germans Are Coming!!!"

Usually, Italians join them in their folly - but maybe the results have finally taken their toll on the usual Mediterranean sunny optimism that's Italy.

Btw - did I really just write "sunny optimism' to describe people of Italian heritage?

Well, after all is said and done, at least none of us have the world view of Jewish people, who think that everyone's against them.
And just because they feel that way doesn't mean it's not true.
After all, they have ample evidence to prove it. :-)