Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Filibuster Proof Senate

Following the state Supreme Court decision today, Al Franken has finally won the senate seat in Minnesota. While I am happy to see this contest come to an end, I must admit that I am disappointed about the Democrats reaching 60 votes* in the US Senate. With 60 votes, the Dems now have a "filibuster-proof" majority. In other words, Republicans can no longer mount a full-on protest or stage procedural hold ups because the Democratic majority can put an end to such actions.

This sounds great, but not really. With 60 votes, the onus is now completely on Dems to perform and to deliver. Failure to do so, will likely lead to loss of votes in the mid-term election. Just as troubling for me is that Dems are now closer to being able to act without regard for Republican opinions. The last thing we need in this polarized country is a completely unified House, Senate and Presidency. Dissenting opinions are more powerful when they have a platform.

Let's hope that the Dems don't use their filibuster-proof majority as an excuse to dismiss good Republican ideas.

* The 60 seats include two independent senators, Joe Lieberman (CT) and Bernie Sanders (VT). Lieberman is an independent democrat and Sanders is an independent. Both caucus with the Dems.

1 comment:

Pilar said...

The author's central point is fundamentally flawed because it is based on the assumption that Senator Franken and his Democratic colleagues will always vote along party lines. Given the diversity of this country and the nuances of the political spectrum, this is simply (for Democrats, at least) not always the case-- thankfully. As the author himself points out, our political system was built upon dialogue and debate-- as only through differing opinions can a truly representative government emerge.

However, as a side note, I am incredibly happy by the Court's decision, and I welcome the Democratic sweep in the recent elections.