The filibuster is a Senate tradition. It’s an option that has given the minority party in the U.S. Senate a voice and a recourse to a trampling majority, REGARDLESS of which party has that majority. It has provided a “check and balance”, making the Senate a truly deliberative body rather than a “rubber stamp” for overreaching administrations. The filibuster is such an incredible action that it has even been featured heroically in the film “Mr. Smith Goes to Washington”. Though it’s roots go far back into Ancient Rome, the filibuster has become a distinctly American political action, representing the fighting spirit, never-give-up, underdog attitude that typifies the United States.
…and on Wednesday, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) threatened to get rid of the filibuster, by exercising the appropriately named “nuclear option” – changing the traditional rules of 3/5ths vote into a straight majority vote, and giving unchecked power to the majority party
Senator Reid already has the power to call for a cloture to end a filibuster, for all intents and purposes shutting up a minority voice. Senate Democrats added the cloture rule in 1917 to silence opposing senators, but that has ceased to be adequate for Senator Harry Reid.
With increasing regularity and arrogance, Senator Reid has been running roughshod over those who oppose his or the administration’s viewpoint, including those in his own party. To all appearances, Senator Harry Reid has become enamored with the power he now wields, and the Senate is suffering because of it.
In a meeting behind closed doors, obstensively to find some way to avoid the “nuclear option”, and with nearly every U.S. Senator present, Harry Reid corralled the group by consistently and repeatedly threatening “We are voting on this tomorrow”. After a tentative resolution was reached in that meeting, Reid continued the threats in his comments to the media. “They’re not sacrificing their right to filibuster and we damn sure aren’t giving up our right to change the rules if necessary,” Reid said
“Unlimited power is apt to corrupt the minds of those who possess it” was the sentiment expressed by the British Prime Minister William Pitt in 1770. He may have glimpsed Harry Reid when making that statement, because it is clear by his actions and attitude that Senator from Nevada has fallen victim to that corruption.
No matter which party wields the majority, the filibuster is a necessary part of the U.S. Senate. That is the belief of many elected officials and average Americans, including myself, whether Republicans or Democrats hold the Senate. Regardless of who wields the majority, the filibuster is a necessary part of the U.S. Senate. That has been the opinion of many, including myself, whether Republicans or Democrats hold the Senate. Unfortunately, Harry Reid has made it clear that although the filibuster will be kept for now, it is kept at his own discretion. Should Republicans use it in any manner that Reid views as “obstructing”, he will quite likely move for the permanent repeal of that senatorial tool.
Harry Reid has been a U.S. Senator for 26 years – long enough to remember when the Democrats were the minority party, and at those times he and others had used to filibuster to stand in the way of the Republican agenda. Now he argues against it’s use, claiming that the Constitution only demands a greater than 50% vote to determine a win. Apparently, the Constitution is only the governing document of the United States when it’s working in his favor.
If Mr. Smith were to go to Washington, DC today, to stand firm against the corruption, conceitedness, and megalomania, Senator Reid would promptly throw him directly out the nearest window. Perhaps the time has come to revisit an idea proposed at the 1787 Philadelphia Convention where the U.S. Constitution was being worked upon. That idea was the ability to hold a “recall election” for federal elected officials. We can only hope that idealistic Mr., Miss, and Mrs. Smiths will continue to step up to challenge and fight the obdurancy and imperiousness of Harry Reid and the Majority that he leads.