When 140 Characters Isn't Enough
Congress: Changing the filibuster rule come January has suddenly become a top priority for Senate Democrats who want to help their re-elected president complete his fundamental transformation of America.
Minority Leader Mitch McConnell on Monday blasted Democratic-led efforts to reform the filibuster, something the Democrats once vehemently opposed but which Majority Leader Harry Reid has promised to bring up in the next Congress, fearing the Republicans will dig in to block President Obama's agenda.
What Reid and the Democrats will come up with is unknown at this point. Among the options is to ban filibusters that block the start of floor debates and House-Senate conference committees from convening.
One proposal would force senators to actually get up and talk endlessly in order to filibuster legislation, which senators were required to do until 1975, as depicted in the classic Jimmy Stewart film, "Mr. Smith Goes To Washington."
Then there's the so-called "nuclear option," which would call for just a simple majority, or 51 votes, to change Senate rules. Changing the rules usually requires two-thirds of the chamber, or 67 votes. It's something Reid vehemently opposed in 2005, when Senate Republicans ruled the roost.
Some GOP senators in 2005 considered the nuclear option to push President Bush's judicial nominees that were being held up, but only for judicial nominations. Sen. Reid was a valiant defender of the filibuster then, saying: "Some in this chamber want to throw out 214 years of Senate history in the quest for absolute power ... . They think they're wiser than our Founding Fathers. I doubt that's true."
Agreeing with Reid was then-Sen. Barack Obama, who in April 2005, complained that the nuclear option would "change the character of the Senate forever." Obama complained about having "majoritarian absolute power on either side and that is not what our Founders intended."
Indeed, it would change the Senate forever and is not what the Founders intended. As frustrating as it is, the Senate was designed as a barrier against the whims of the more populist House of Representatives, a bulwark against the passions of the moment and the tyranny of the majority.
Read More At IBD: http://news.investors.com/ibd-editorials/112712-634828-reid-to-impo...