I'm convinced. I'm a political junkie, but I was not aware that the Senate filibuster could be eliminated by a simple majority vote. If that's true, let's push for it, by all means. Literally. I can't think of a more worthwhile procedural reform, other than maybe finding some way of banning gerrymandering, which has killed all possibility of bipartisan cooperation.
I'm not clear on one point, though. Wouldn't the current "reformed Rule 22" enable any Senator to invoke filibuster and require a sixty-vote supermajority on the resolution to kill the requirement for a sixty-vote supermajority, which would make Rule 22 essentially the same as Heller's Catch-22? Clarification, please. Would someone kindly explain how that problem could be avoided?
On the merits, though, and with due recognition of the possible downsides, it seems almost self-evident that progressives should favor elimination of the filibuster. By definition, progressives are people who believe that we should draw upon accumulating human knowledge and experience to make things continually better, to make our Union "more perfect." That's as opposed to the conservatives' inclination to fear and resist change. The filibuster rule, as a tool to prevent change, is inherently advantageous to the interests of conservatives rather than to those of reformist progressives.
So, if it's mathematically possible to eliminate the filibuster with a fifty-one-vote majority of the Senate, it's something we should definitely do. For starters, let's get MoveOn involved in putting together a campaign to inundate all Democratic Senators with mail demanding their support.
Kenneth Burgdorf, Ph.D.
Aug 26 2009 - 1:18pm