What Have The Democrats Done With The Nuclear Option?


Will invoking the “nuclear option” and changing Senate rules to get rid of the filibuster backfire on Democrats? At Free Republic one writer thinks this will put a fork in any chance the Senate will have of getting the House to take up any of its legislation.

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As Philip Klein notes, the Democrats will now be able to ram through judicial appointments and other nominees, but that in the long run it could end up helping conservatives. Klein also believes that now that the Democrats have set this precedent it won’t be limited to lower level judicial appointments.

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The reason is that liberals are simply much better at demonizing conservative judicial appointees, even those with sterling credentials. In many cases, this has prompted Republican presidents to choose “stealth” nominees who end up taking an expansive view of the Constitution once they’re on the bench.

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Scrapping the 60-vote threshold will make it easier for a future conservative president to choose judges who believe that the Constitution granted limited powers to the federal government.

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That’s the end of any upside. Then comes this:

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Historically, the hurdles to passing legislation created by Senate procedure have been the bulwark against the United States evolving into a European-style social welfare state. In parliamentary systems, one party can get into power and implement major changes without much resistance.

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Ending the legislative filibuster would make the U.S. government more closely resemble a parliamentary system and make it easier for Democratic presidents to enact a sweeping liberal policy agenda. (Read More)

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Da TechGuy thinks that the suppression of the voice and influence of the minority party will have even wider implications.

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This change is going to have horrible consequences, it will give strength to the party extremes, it will make the stakes even higher for those seeking to use government to obtain power or wealth and it will inflame the passions of those who feel their rights are being violated, not something you wish to do in a land as well armed as ours.

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Unless the senate reverses itself and I mean fast, within a few weeks, this will lead us further down a path that will be so destructive to this country that future historians will marvel that the leaders would have been so foolish as to take such a step. (Read More)

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Perhaps Reason summed it up best with this short video.

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Update: Well, it didn’t take long for Tom Harkin to push to extend this new rule to apply to legislation. And the editors of The New York Times were for the nuclear option, before they were against it, and now they’re for it again. Let’s see how they feel when Republicans take control of the Senate.