Harry Reid is throwing around threats of a so-called “nuclear option” in the Senate.
When Harry doesn’t get his way, which to him means that Republicans aren’t acting in a bipartisan fashion (which in plain English means that they aren’t rolling over and playing dead), he threatens to change the rules of the Senate to block all filibusters that might derail the nominations of Obama sycophants to positions in the judiciary or critical positions that can only be filled by Presidential appointment … but Constitutionally require the advice and consent of the Senate.
Filibusters are one of those quaint ideas that have entered into American politics over the last two centuries. Filibusters aren’t limited only to the august chambers of the United States Senate. It can inhabit the Senate chambers in those states with a bi-cameral legislature as well. Witness the filibuster of one Texas Senator, Wendy Davis, who used the filibuster technique to some effect in the recent abortion debate in Austin just a few weeks ago.
But filibusters are merely a delaying tactic. Inevitably the filibuster comes to an end, a vote on the matter is taken, and the filibuster becomes an exercise in futility. Senator Davis from Texas filibustered the proposed abortion bill that would have, in Texas, outlawed abortions for a woman whose fetus was more than 20 weeks old. The Texas legislature was recalled into a special session, the vote was taken, the measure passed and became the very law that Senator Davis ranted about.
Filibusters might be great theatre, but not very effective legislating.
All Presidential appointments that require confirmation by the Senate are subject to limitations. Judicial nominees, if confirmed, can be impeached. Non-judicial nominees, such as cabinet secretaries, serve “at the pleasure of the President” and are pretty much done when the president’s term ends. Non-judicial appointees are also subject to subpoena by Congress where they can be forced to defend actions taken by their agencies which are incredibly stupid, incredibly partisan or detrimental to the interests of the United States. Some nominees that get past the filibuster and are confirmed, through dint of hard work and creativity, manage to score a “hat trick” and get called before Congress for all three at once.
But the dust up over the concept of the filibuster is not, of itself, of great importance. What is displays is a much greater issue, the lack of representation of the States themselves, in the governance of the nation as a whole.
As originally written into the Constitution, the legislatures of the several states chose the members of the Senate. The 17th Amendment changed that method to one of direct election thanks to the efforts of “reform” politicians such as William Jennings Bryan, who like Woodrow Wilson, was a Progressive.
The rationale put forth by proponents of the 17th Amendment was that the “vested interests” were able to control state legislatures and thus these interests controlled the selection of Senators. It’s easy to see that they must have been correct. It must be so much easier to sway the legislators in thirty-three or thirty-four states, totaling several thousand individuals than it is to exert the power of the campaign contribution over the thirty-three or thirty-four U.S. Senate candidates up for election every other year.
Yes, that sounds so much better. It sounds so much less exposed to the corrupting influence of special interest money.
So the end result is what we see being played out in the Senate. Senators whose main job is to represent not the voters of a state, but the interests of their state, and the nation as a whole, have lost sight of what they are supposed to be doing. They now represent the interests of their respective parties, and not much else beyond their personal electoral survival.
Issue after issue, whether immigration, taxes, government spending, or confirmation hearings for Presidential nominees center almost exclusively on the question of which political party will “win” on the issue. The question never seems to be will it be good for the nation, or does it serve the national interest, but will it be good for their political party in the next election.
And this becomes a critical point. Too many cities and states, mostly “blue” ones, are on the verge of bankruptcy. California, Illinois, New York City and State, the city of Detroit and the state of Connecticut have debt that in total is approaching one TRILLION dollars.
Given the mindset in the Senate that the “party” must win, Senators might be inclined to bail out these cities and states so that the local politicians, mostly Democrats, can continue their profligate ways into eternity. But if these Senators were appointed by their respective state legislatures, there is a good chance that even if they and the legislature are Democrat, Iowa for example, would be loathe to tell their Senator to vote for a bailout which would be funded in any part by the citizens of Iowa. The state legislators would like to get re-elected, too, so they wouldn’t be in favor of robbing Peter to pay Paul. This seems a very logical reason to repeal the 17th Amendment. Soon.
There was a time in this nation when the head of General Motors could say in a congressional hearing “What’s good for GM is good for America!” Thanks in large part to the continuing socialist inspired indoctrination of our students, such a statement would never pass the “smell test” today. Nor should it.
Democrats try to paraphrase what that gentleman said as “What’s good for the Democratic Party is good for America!”
What the Republicans, as well as the rest of us need to respond is, “No. What’s good for the Democrat Party is only good for, well, the Democrats. The rest of us are suffering and you’re not helping.”
Originally published at Canada Free Press