Wednesday, March 23, 2005

Republicans vs. the Consitution: The nuk-u-lar option 

E.J. Dionne makes two good points:

According to the Census Bureau's July 2004 population estimates, the 44 Democratic senators represent 148,026,027 people; the 55 Republican senators 144,765,157. Vermont's Jim Jeffords, an independent who usually votes with the Democrats, represents 310,697. (In these calculations, I evenly divided the population of states with split Senate delegations.) What does majority rule really mean in this context?

1. Bottom line: the majority of the people have no effective representation at all. It's just like the "Slave Power" before the Civil War, isn't it?

If the Republicans pushing against the filibuster love majority rule so much, they should propose getting rid of the Senate altogether. But doing so would mean acknowledging what's really going on here: regime change disguised as a narrow rules fight. We could choose to institute a British-style parliamentary system in which majorities get almost everything they want. But advocates of such a radical departure should be honest enough to propose amending the Constitution first.
(via WaPo)

2. Honest? The Republicans? [Pause for hysterical laughter] But seriously, I remember Barney Frank making the same argument during the Clinton impeachment hearings; essentially, the whole ginned up scandal was the equivalent of a "no confidence" vote in the Parliamentary system.

So, as usual, it seems like the Republicans are even more radical than we thought. In the name of majoritarianism, they propose to rule without a majority, while relying on the tiny margins that the Rove political machine is able to provide them.

And, apparently, they think they can pull this coup off and keep it stable—that's the implications of the Partei rallies where only those who are "with us" are considered true citizens, and thus allowed to attend.

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