Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Be Careful What You Wish For

Senator John Kyl (R-AZ) reports to radio host Hugh Hewitt that Senate Democrats are planning to kill the filibuster. They want to get their cap-and-trade bill through to passage before the new Congress, with probably a lot fewer Democrats, assembles in January.

I say: be careful what you wish for, liberals.

You chaps don't understand the correlation of forces or your own interests.

The next few years are going to be hell for liberals. Because the next few years are going to be about cutting government debt and deficits. Guess where most of the problem comes from? Right first time: liberal programs for government pensions, government health care, government education and government welfare.

There's nothing quite like having a nice filibuster and supermajority requirements in the Senate to hold back the tide of change. Southern Democrats understood all of that in the Civil Rights era.

If Democrats end the filibuster to pass their liberal agenda this year then they are just making it easier for a Republican Congress and a Republican president to roll back the welfare state next year. Or the year after that.

I'd say that the filibuster has already been enormously helpful to liberals. It lets them pass their stuff when they have a temporary supermajority, as in the 1930s, the mid 1960s and right now. Then, after the liberal supermajority disappears it becomes almost impossible to repeal the liberal programs. Because it takes a supermajority.

All in all, as a conservative, I want to keep the supermajority requirement of the filibuster. I don't want change in a conservative direction unless it is supported by a large majority of the American people. I believe in the notion of "the consent of the governed." I believe that government is force and you need more than a bare majority to legitimize force. You need a solid majority to give political change real staying power.

Napoleon wanted his generals to be lucky. Lucky was better than good. Liberals don't really appreciate how lucky they have been over the last century.

They got to put the blame for the Great Depression on the Republicans, although it was probably Progressive era politics and the mania for big government that created the mess. They got to shovel through a ton of liberal programs in the mid 1960s after Republicans nominated Barry Goldwater for president and he got tagged as an extremist. They got to elect a supermajority in the context of a banking crisis that issued mainly from their own insane home-mortgage subsidies.

But luck runs out in the end.

And when it does, you sure appreciate having a shelter from the storm. Like a filibuster that requires a supermajority before evil Republicans can toss your beloved programs in the trash can.

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