Thursday, March 17, 2005

Nuclear Politics

I believe that the Republicans will not resort to the "Nuclear" option of changing Senate rules to stop filibusters.

The problem is that the greatest strength of the Republicans, namely, their belief in the sanctity of the process of democracy is also their greatest weakness. I don't believe that, if their positions were reversed, the Democrats would hesitate to change the rules. (Interestingly, Sen. Byrd, who has decried this threat to Democratic obstructionism, called upon the Democrats to use the exact same maneuver in the 1970's)

While the Democrats are clearly misusing the threat of filibuster, there are reasons not to go that route: 1. There are other ways to limit the amount of debate using current Senate procedural rules. While not foolproof, it can help 2. The Repubicans know full well that if they embrace this change, it will be used against them at some point in the future.

Increasingly, Democrats seem willing to do anything to prevent the Republicans from enacting their agenda.

Republicans, traditionally, have avoided taking off the gloves because they fear damage to the institution of the Senate. Also, they are largely unable to get their side of the story out via the mainstream media, so they usually end up looking like the bad guys.

While it is a shameful display by the Democrats, I believe the Republicans must maintain the traditions of the institution that is supposed to be the "adult supervision" of Congress.


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