Friday, January 25, 2013

Boxer and Feinstein fail on filibuster reform

Oh, yes it's so great that we have more women in the Senate, because blah blah blah. During the debate---such as it was---about reforming the filibuster, Senators Boxer and Feinstein were conspicuously silent. Just like having more women---just because they are women---on the Board of Supervisors, our spineless senators, like the good old boys who dominate the Senate, weren't keen on reforming the filibuster, and they didn't want to talk about it.
Check out Feinstein's website and you'll search in vain for even a mention of the filibuster. Boxer at least had one lame sentence on the bogus reform: "We need to reform the Senate so we can get the work of the American people done, and today‚Äôs agreement is an important step forward in reaching that goal." Right. A journey of a thousand miles begins with one step, this is the first day of the rest of your life, etc. The Republicans are pretty bad, but the Democrats, with the help of the Sisterhood, can be pathetic.
Jonathan Chait gets it right:
Liberal reformers have been trying to change the dysfunctional Senate, and today they announced a compromise plan that will introduce very tiny alterations...The reformers didn't propose anything as crazy as changing the rules so that whichever side has more votes wins, because that would be communism...The essential Senatorial belief is that to be a United States Senator is to establish a bond of prestige with one's fellow Senators that is stronger than party, ideology, or any rational sense of good governance. That sense has weakened in recent years, but remains strong with the back-slapping old-timers like Carl Levin, who helped sink any reform. The compromise tinkers slightly around the edges. There won't even be a talking filibuster. Instead, there will be some procedural changes, the gist of which will be to make it harder for the minority to tie the Senate up in knots. As it currently stands, the minority side can stop all business for days on end pretty much at will, and that's what this compromise will limit.
Basically, what happened here is that the good government instinct met the senatorial ego, and the latter prevailed because it is the most powerful force on Earth.