And so it came to pass that the filibuster was dismembered, dishonored, and indefinitely detained. With the end of the filibuster came the end of any semblance of comity and compromise on Capitol Hill.
The party that never seemed to care much for the rule of law broke the rules of the Senate to change the rules. Senate rules for two centuries allowed the filibuster. To change the rules required a two-thirds majority.
When the Parliamentarian ruled that the Democrats were breaking the rules, the Democrats simply over-ruled the Parliamentarian. The rules, it seems, are not binding upon Democrats.
We shouldn’t be surprised that the party that believes in a living, breathing, ever-evolving Constitution might not believe that Senate rules are important.
We shouldn’t be surprised that the party that believes that morality is unfixed, unchained to any constants, that all ethics are situational, would break the rules.
Is anyone really surprised that a party with no apparent concern for the burden of debt they place on every American family, that such a party would break the rules to get their way?
We are told they are upset that the Senate takes too long. They want their way and they want it now. The ironfisted rule of rule breakers has begun. There will be no return.
What passed for gridlock before will pale in comparison to the poison that seeps from the hands of those who are careless and reckless with the law.
Where the filibuster once created conversation, the ironfisted rule will stifle it.
For you see, contrary to popular belief, the filibuster actually fostered compromise, dialogue, and results. In exchange for release of nominations, in exchange for release of legislation, Republicans and Democrats would agree to votes.
The filibuster would encourage a reluctant president to cooperate with oversight from Congress.
Information about malfeasance or transparency could be pried from a President in exchange for relinquishing a hold or ending a filibuster. The filibuster was Congress’ tool to exert power or balance power with the president.
The loss of the filibuster weakens Congress and makes any executive, regardless of party, more powerful and less likely to be transparent.
In short, giving power to the party in the minority worked for two centuries to coax compromise.
In the era of filibusters and holds, someone like myself could put roadblocks in front of a Federal Reserve nominee. That hold could then be exchanged for a vote on a bill that had been held hostage for years, such as Audit the Fed.
Such compromise will no longer occur. The Senate will now be run with an iron fist, a fist clenched so tightly, a power wound so closely, that dissent will no longer be heard, debate will be stifled, and amendments to legislation will become non-existent.
The Senate has been described as the saucer that cools the tea that boils out of the cup that is the House of Representatives. The Senate was the saucer that cooled the tea, deliberated and gave review and time for calmer minds to prevail. The Senate was one of the items that our Founders established to separate our Republic from the whims of the majority, from the headlong dash of an unrestrained mob-ocracy.
The public will be burned more often as the Senate becomes less saucer and more boiling cauldron. The loss of the filibuster will lead to more.