Quite. *eyeroll* I get tired or the way people forget what it feels like to be winning when we're losing, and vice versa.
Augh. I've sent my response as well. This is reprehensible.
The more people let them know that this is foolish, the better. Thanks.
I question whether the filibuster is a good thing, but I do so quietly and actually questioningly (i.e. not going "It's not") given that I'm not American, I don't know the history of it's use and therefore the need for it.
It's a tool that allows the minority a voice when there is an imbalanced majority - i.e., both houses and the presidency are one party. It can be frustrating, but it prevents runaway changes.
There is legitimate reason to want to revisit the use of the filibuster because threats of a filibuster have doubled, or even tripled in the last couple of years*
compared to any other time in history. It's always been an option to be used sparing, as a last resort. Threatening non-stop filibustering breaks the system. I don't think anyone has previously anticipated a strategy of grinding to a halt on anything and everything. Having no problem with rule before someone found a way to break the system shouldn't negate pointing out the system is broken. We should be able to expect reason and rationality from Senators rather than have to legislate to the lowest common denominator so it's idiot proof. People saying they're against filibustering being used this way, and won't vote support Senators who do it is exactly what should happen.
* here's a whole mess of charts looking at it in different ways, but they can all agree on a huge spike.
The increase of threats may be a problem, but the notion of getting rid of it is dangerous.
We should be able to expect reason and rationality from Senators rather than have to legislate to the lowest common denominator so it's idiot proof.
This is what the Republicans said when Democrats were filibustering. Be careful what you wish for.
To be fair a) you're right and b) filibusterer are always stupid. they're stupid when my side uses them and they're stupid when the other side uses them. they are only a tool to stop voting and voting is sort of how democracy happens.
You can rebalance the filibuster quite simply by returning to the old rules: make the filibuster halt the business of the Senate. Make them actually get up and hold the floor. And it'll be on TV.
Right now, they just say 'Filibuster', and everyone says 'OK', and the Senate goes on to some other thing. That's not how it was originally intended to work, and it's the reason why it's so broken now.
And that makes sense, but just getting rid of it, no.
people who filibuster should have to put in their time on the floor, reading (not being able to lave for the restroom , standing up, etc) , and get the bad news coverage that goes with it, unless their cause is noble, in which case they should not think of such coverage as negative.
IANAL and you are, but... I have to disagree with you in this case. The filibuster is not a freedom. It's a rule of procedure, laid down by the Senate for the Senate's purposes and subject to repeal by the Senate for the Senate's purposes.
In theory, the filibuster gives a minority bloc the ability to derail legislation that it can't live with. In practice, it gives power to derail all legislation to any bloc that wants to see the majority bloc fail -- thus, paralyzing the government's ability to form a more perfect Union, establish justice, insure domestic tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general welfare, and secure the blessings of liberty.
It is, perhaps, time to reconsider the value of the filibuster to the purposes of the Senate in particular, and to the government in general. Is it actually fulfilling the function envisioned for it?
It prevents a party in power from overrunning the 49% who didn't vote for them.
I used to say this kind of thing to conservatives during the Bush years. They didn't listen then, and liberals aren't going to listen now. Rules are great when you're down and terrible when you're up.
So I wouldn't be embarrassed to be associated with the same political views; this kind of hypocrisy spans the spectrum. If you're going to be embarrassed, it'll have to be on the ground of sharing the same species.
(Side note: I fully agree with the calls to do away with the "threat of filibuster is as good as a filibuster", and I feel that way regardless of who's down.)
Filibustering isn't a freedom, it's a quirk of parliamentary procedure. Australia, for example, is no less free simply because its governing body has strict rules limiting how long a member may hold the floor.
I'm not happy with the use of the filibuster by either party to obstruct the business of the Senate. I want to see the same rules that govern filibusters in the House be applied to the Senate.
Obstruction is an essential part of protecting the 49% from the appalling policies of a small majority. I agree that it's being abused, but it protects the public.
IMHO, the less that government can get done, generally, the better. The current poisonous partisanship is pathetic, but checks and balances are necessary.
2010-04-15 01:25 am (UTC)
(Parenthetical comment, tangential to the subject of this discussion)
Freedom has a price, you'd better be willing to pay it.
Freedom isn't a privilege, it's a right.
These two statements are mutually contradictory.
As Robert A. Heinlein pointed out in 1959*, mankind has no natural rights of any kind. The rights that we enjoy are not God-given, but extended to each other through our social contract -- the Constitution. What we call the Price of Freedom is the obligation to keep each other honest vis-a-vis that contract.
What I am seeing in this whole conversation is that some of The People are calling "Foul!" on their representatives for recent behavior. (And, in a comment parenthetical to the parenthetical comment, you are to be congratulated on the remarkable level of sanity and thoughtfulness displayed by your flist.) Some of The People agree that a foul has been committed; others don't.
You would heap shame on some who call Foul. Please don't -- we need to encourage them to talk, and others to respond. As long as people are talking, they're not shooting. Or worse.
* Starship Troopers
2010-04-15 04:14 am (UTC)
Re: (Parenthetical comment, tangential to the subject of this discussion)
"You would heap shame on some who call Foul. Please don't -- we need to encourage them to talk, and others to respond."
This is kind of a pet peeve of mine, so please forgive me in advance if I'm misconstruing what you're trying to say.
IMO, freedom of speech and the freedom to call people when they speak falsehood are not antagonistic, they're complimentary. The fact that you have a right to say X, and that I will vigorously defend that right, doesn't mean I won't simultaneously explain in detail why X is wrong, and try to encourage people to believe not-X.
If that "shames" you, tough titty. You say something I don't like, I have the right--and, in some circumstances, the obligation--to speak up against what you say. Not against you as a human being, mind, but against the fact that you're saying it.