So if you look at the top half or so of Memeorandum‘s front page, you’ll see a lot of wailing and gnashing of teeth over Scott Brown’s victory in Massachusetts. This apparently makes it impossible for the Democrats to pass any legislation evar, because those big meanie Republicans might threaten to filibuster in the Senate, and that’s just game over. If that were actually true, the American government would be even more salubriously deadlocked than Harper’s minority has been for the past few years, and we’d all be better off. But apparently the health-reform bill is dead, and it’s time for hair shirts and self-flagellation until November.
Seriously, Dems: what the fuck?
You have a Democratic President. You have a Democratic majority in the House. You have a Democratic majority in the Senate. And you still claim you can’t pass legislation? For that matter, you’ve had a supermajority in the Senate for about a year now. What shit have you been doing with all that?
Oh, right! Pissing and moaning about college football. How could I forget?
But suppose we take all the unbecoming yowling at face value, and suppose that a 41-seat minority party in the Senate can bring government to a standstill if that party doesn’t like what the majority party has to offer. I don’t believe it, but suppose it’s true. What does that say about the Democrats in 2000-2008?
Let’s ask Wikipedia what the Senate numbers looked like after the four relevant elections:
- 2000: R 50, D 50. Republicans get it on a tiebreaker from the VP. No Republican supermajority.
- 2002: R 51, D 49. No Republican supermajority.
- 2004: R 55, D 45. No Republican supermajority.
- 2006: D 51, R 49. No Republican majority, let alone supermajority.
(The numbers are complicated slightly and irrelevantly by a few independents.)
Gosh, it’s a good thing the Democrats didn’t let Bush 43 do anything stupid between 2000 and 2008, when they had the same credible filibuster threat that’s apparently impeding health-care reform now. If they had, we might’ve pissed away liberty in a failed attempt to buy safety, or gone haring off on a quixotic, nation-destroying quest for imaginary WMDs, or crapped moral hazard all over the economy, or increased the federal debt-to-GDP ratio by nearly half. All those interminable filibusters, where the Democratic Senate minority stood staunchly by their principles in the face of Republican pressure to be “bipartisan” and “coöperative”, were worth it in the end. I may have to apologize to Senator Clinton.
So if we take the pathetic grass-eating aristocrats who’re bitching about the Republicans’ 41-59 majority at their word, all of Bush 43’s excesses are their fault. If the minority party in the Senate can dictate national policy simply by whispering “filibuster” under a full moon at midnight, why the fuck didn’t they do it when they had the chance?