Inspection- Filibuster!?

Ken Carman,

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Today we’re launching a campaign to end the filibuster…

Markos Moulitsas, Daily Kos

Mr. Maulitsas,

I will not be joining your cause, or signing any petitions to end the filibuster. As I’m sure you know the Republicans kept threatening to do this, over and over, during the Bush administration… usually threatening to do it before anyone even whispered the word “filibuster.” Gutless Dems pretty much refused to even consider a filibuster back then, but still the Republicans bragged about considering “the nuclear option:” a successful attempt to preempt even the thought entering some poor, wimpy, Democratic pol’s head. Dems pretty much refused to even consider the option.

Essentially Repubs said: “Boo!” …and Dems cowered under their legislative beds; refused to consider doing their legislative duty: represent those who brought them to the party. I guarantee you won’t get the same response from Republicans who happen to find out about your meager attempt… though I’m guessing there will be a lot of mirth at your expense.

Like back then, I am against ending the filibuster today… or ever. The filibuster is actually a great concept, when used properly, that prevents the majority from constantly doing a hit and run on any minority, who otherwise would be tied to the legislative tracks by being part of the minority. I believe, correctly implemented, the filibuster strengthens representative democracy because it gives the minority a path by which it can attempt to express itself and hopefully continue to be an influence on society. But true filibuster is not an easy path, nor should it be.

And that’s the problem. No one has to stand hour after hour and drone on and on, doing all they can to tie up the works what they have to do to make a filibuster succeed. That kind of filibuster is incredibly hard: as it should be. And it is the only kind of true filibuster. But that kind of filibuster has been extinct for a long time due to an agreement between the two major parties.

What we have now is not “filibuster.” It should be referred to, at best, as “the threat to filibuster rule,” where all they have to do is threaten to filibuster to have the same effect. That is not a filibuster. It is simply a way to enable bullies. In fact it’s worse than that. It’s as if the schoolyard bully says, “You know, I’m thinking tomorrow I might consider bullying you out of your lunch money eventually, so you might as well give it to me now, and every day from now on…” We have pre-agreed to give him our lunch money if he says that.

Interesting how that always seems to only works one way between the two major parties, isn’t it, Mr. Maulitsas? But even if it did work both ways, it would still be just as wrong, and certainly isn’t a “filibuster” in any sense.

Now, if you want to start a campaign to make sure filibusters are actual filibusters: that they have to stand and talk for hours and hours, just tell me where to find your petition. Without any conditions that would weaken the concept of a return to true filibusters, I absolutely would sign it. I’d write my politicians to promote it. I’d dedicate an edition or two of Inspection to it. I’ll even take to the streets to advocate for it. Hell, I’d pitch in something for billboards all across the nation demanding we go back to real filibusters.

By the way, you might want to reconsider your E-mail and your current petition. As early as 2011, after the 2010 elections, we may need the filibuster back. When will we learn: Republicans, Democrats and other; that when political winds shift any rule change we ask for; like ending the filibuster, can always turn around and take a huge chunk out of our own political ass?

Sincerely…

Ken Carman

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Inspection is a column that has been written by Ken Carman for over 30 years. Inspection is dedicated to looking at odd angles, under all the rocks and into the unseen cracks and crevasses that constitute the issues and philosophical constructs of our day: places few think, or even dare, to venture.

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Ken Carman and Cartenual Productions
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