Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Matthew Yglesias Equates GOP Filibusters With First-Degree Murder

While he never once mentions GOP filibusters, Matthew Yglesias clearly has Republican obstructionism in mind while writing this passage:

One of the lost elements of history is how new the idea of the filibuster as a routine supermajority requirement is. David Mayhew, the Yale political scientist, published an excellent article on this subject back in 2003 (so you can hardly say he was motivated by Democratic partisanship) called “Supermajority Rule in the U.S. Senate”. His argument is basically that while filibustering was always possible, it was also sharply constrained by tradition. After all, a lot of things are possible in our system. To the best of my understanding, nothing is stopping Rahm Emannuel from sauntering onto the floor of the Senate, murdering Republicans from states with Democratic governors in cold blood, having them replaced by new Democrats, and then getting a pardon from Barack Obama.

But that would obviously be a sharp break with the traditions of our government! And filibustering was, historically, an extraordinary measure.
We do have Yglesias' piece at Newsweek last week, "You’ve Really Got a Hold on Me." Discussing legislative "holds," a procedural move to slow legislative action, which requires that interested senators request from the Senate leadership that items be blocked from consideration on the floor. And Yglesias argues that it was "was usually Republicans who were" issuing holds to prevent Democratic judicial nominations "from coming to the floor for a vote."

Hence, for Yglesias, as practiced by the GOP, the hold, which "originates from the Senate's self-conception as something more like a tony gentleman's club than a parliamentary body," is tantamount to premeditated murder.

And note that Yglesias is joining the chorus of Ezra Klein and Josh Marshall who've been putting the pressure on for a change in Senate rules to abolish the filibuster. Frustrated they don't have 60 votes, they're trying to weaken the rules and norms that have evolved in recent decades to protect against majority tyranny.

So, keep that point in mind: Democrats for tyranny, that's who these folks really are, and although it's pretty obviousy, we see new demonstrations of it from time to time.

Know them, resist them, and fight your partisan enemies. These are bad people.