12/21/2009

That Bizarre Filibuster Thingy

Much like the sudden disappearance of the "No Blood For Oil" liberal objection to the ongoing war, we have also seen the sudden disappearance of the liberal's love affair with the filibuster.

E.J. Dionne as quoted in The Corner:
Of course what has happened on the health-care bill is enraging. It's quite clear that substantial majorities in both houses of Congress favored either a public option or a Medicare buy-in.

In a normal democracy, such majorities would work their will, a law would pass, and champagne corks would pop. But everyone must get it through their heads that thanks to the bizarre habits of the Senate, we are no longer a normal democracy.

Because of a front of Republican obstruction and the ludicrous idea that all legislation requires a supermajority of 60 votes, power has passed from the majority to tiny minorities, sometimes minorities of one.
I am not sure why this is a problem for Dionne, given that the Dems have apparently secured their needed 60 votes. But it is the process by which the Dems got those 60 votes that screams for the need of an official form of 'obstructionism'.

It is telling though that Dionne would consider Harry Reid dispensing billions of dollars, graft, and favoritism in back-room deals to be "normal democracy". Oh the horror that the GOP might consider using approved parliamentary tactic to try and counter-act this blatant Christmas shopping spree for votes.

But the best part of course is that Dionne used to loooove the filibuster when it was used to oppose the evil W. Leave to an astute WaPo reader to point this out....
E.J. Dionne Jr. ["Democratic fratricide," op-ed, Dec. 17] views the Senate as a "dysfunctional and undemocratic partisan hothouse," presumably because of the ability of 41 senators to prevent a bill from coming to a final vote.

Mr. Dionne has not always taken such a dim view of undemocratic procedures, however.

In 2003, he heartily approved of Democratic obstruction of two judicial nominations by President Bush: "The filibuster is the only way to prevent the president from creating a federal judiciary dominated by ideologues of his own persuasion, appointed to satisfy his political base" ["Order and the Courts," op-ed, May 9].

If a filibuster was justified merely to keep two conservatives off the bench, why should it not be used by senators who believe that the health-care bill would be a disaster for the country?

Richard L. Lobb, Fairfax
Kudos to Mr. Lobb, and the WaPo for actually running the letter.

A pox on Dionne for being a transparent, partisan hack. At least there is some transparency in Washington nowadays....