Blog Credo

The whole aim of practical politics is to keep the populace alarmed (and hence clamorous to be led to safety) by menacing it with an endless series of hobgoblins, all of them imaginary.

H.L. Mencken

Wednesday, February 1, 2017

To Filibuster Or Not

With the nomination of Gorsuch to the Supreme Court, the question is now whether the Democrats should filibuster the nomination, as was done to Merrick Garland, and force McConnell to nuke the filibuster.

There are two arguments against it, one of which makes no sense.  The argument that they need to save the filibuster for the next nominee - should a liberal justice die or retire - is simply nonsense.  Because if they do filibuster that hypothetical nominee, McConnell will simply nuke the filibuster then.  I suppose you could hope to pick up three Senate seats in 2018, but if so, simply stop the nominee with a majority vote.

The second involves rules and norms.  Republicans won the White House - and what's more - they won the Senate.  This is the cost.  There are more Americans who would like a Democrats president and Congress, but we don't live in the right areas.  So the Republicans won, and they get to pick the Justice.  Of course, the Republicans broke all sorts of rules and norms by denying Garland his seat.

The question becomes: Should the Democrats continue to erode the rules and norms of governance?  They would certainly be justified in doing so, given how Republicans have acted over the last eight years.  But the Democrats are the party of responsible governance.  Violating those norms would undercut their position as the Responsible Party.

However, that leads to the second question: Does anyone care which party is responsible?

Doesn't seem that way.

UPDATE: Certainly the GOP doesn't care about the rules.

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