Posted by Curt on 9 December, 2016 at 4:01 pm. 3 comments already!


David Harsanyi:

I won’t lie. After reading the CNN piece titled “Senate Dems, Powerless to Stop Trump Nominees, Regret ‘Nuclear Option’ Power Play,” I experienced some deeply satisfying schadenfreude. Feel free to keep President Barack Obama, Senator Harry Reid and those who implored Senate Democrats to blow up the filibuster a few years ago in your thoughts as President-elect Donald Trump names his Cabinet and judges. But be sure to remember how recklessness begets recklessness in Washington, D.C.

“I do regret that,” Senator Chris Coons of Delaware, a Democrat who voted to weaken the filibuster three years ago, tells CNN. “I frankly think many of us will regret that in this Congress because it would have been a terrific speed bump, potential emergency brake, to have in our system to slow down nominees.”

It always was a terrific speed bump, senator. One of the reasons we value tradition, norms, and process is that we don’t know what the future holds. But, you’ll note, these Democrats don’t regret their vote for majoritarianism or power grabs. They regret that Trump (and it would be the same for Mitt Romney or any moderate Republican, for that matter) will now be able to operate under the rules they set for themselves.

It’s worth remembering that Democrats didn’t use a parliamentary procedure to change the rules so that federal judicial nominees and executive-office appointments can move to confirmation votes with a simple majority for some grand ideological purpose. They did it for short-term political gains that no one will remember. Does any Democrat believe helping Obama name some left-wing populists to run the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (which didn’t even exist until 2011) and the National Labor Relations Board was worth it?

Senator Jeff Merkley (D., Ore.) another leading proponent of destroying checks and balances, charged at the time that without the nuclear option Republicans were “going to disable” the executive branch. “It’s come into a realm where it’s just unacceptable because if the executive branch can’t function, then the nation can’t respond to the big challenges it faces,” he explained. He seemed to be under the impression that presidents make laws — or maybe just liberal presidents.

The liberal punditry hammered the filibuster back then the same way it’s hammering the Electoral College today. In 2010, Paul Krugman wrote a column in the New York Times claiming that the filibuster would destroy America.

I do not exaggerate. He wrote: “We’ve always known that America’s reign as the world’s greatest nation would eventually end. But most of us imagined that our downfall, when it came, would be something grand and tragic. What we’re getting instead is less a tragedy than a deadly farce.”

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