Though this was written before the Health Care Summit between Democrats and Republicans, George Will defense of the filibuster as a sound constitutional principle needed to be posted:
Some liberals argue that the Constitution is unconstitutional. Their reasoning is a non sequitur: The Constitution empowers each chamber to “determine the rules of its proceedings.” It requires five supermajorities (for ratifying treaties, endorsing constitutional amendments, overriding vetoes, expelling members and impeachment convictions). Therefore it does not permit requiring a sixth, to end filibusters.
“Great innovations,” said Jefferson, “should not be forced on slender majorities.” Hence Barack Obama recently embraced a supermajority mechanism: The 18-member commission he created to recommend measures to reduce the deficit requires that any recommendation be endorsed by 14 members.
Filibusters are devices for registering intensity rather than mere numbers — government by adding machine. Besides, has a filibuster ever prevented eventual enactment of anything significant that an American majority has desired, strongly and protractedly?
Televangelist Pat Robertson’s psychotic ramblings seem to often catch people off guard, so in the wake of disaster in Chile and warnings of tsunami in Hawaii, I thought I would try a pre-emptive approach.
Chile recently elected a center-right leader in the form of Sebastian Pinera. While his right of center politics may seem like Robertson should like him, Pinera says that he voted to end the Pinochet regime in a 1988 referendum. When Pinera made that fateful vote (I have a suspicion that Pat Robertson was or would have been a Pinochet supporter), was he making a deal with the devil and thus bringing on today’s disaster?
Recently, a bill came before the House of Representatives aimed at providing a 21st century version of “separate but equal” for Native Hawaiians by creating a parallel government for a portion of Hawaii’s population. It’s called the Native Hawaiian Government Reorganization Act and is by all means a political regression into an age of ethnic separatism and segregation. Perhaps Pat Robertson would believe that the tsunami is coming as God’s wrath over the bill before the House?
Where has this guy been and why does he care about the deficits and debt now when the Federal Reserve, which he oversees, has been an enabler to Congress and a large part of our problems in general:
With uncharacteristic bluntness, Federal Reserve Chairman Ben S. Bernanke warned Congress on Wednesday that the United States could soon face a debt crisis like the one in Greece, and declared that the central bank will not help legislators by printing money to pay for the ballooning federal debt.
Recent events in Europe, where Greece and other nations with large, unsustainable deficits like the United States are having increasing trouble selling their debt to investors, show that the U.S. is vulnerable to a sudden reversal of fortunes that would force taxpayers to pay higher interest rates on the debt, Mr. Bernanke said.
“It’s not something that is 10 years away. It affects the markets currently,” he told the House Financial Services Committee. “It is possible that bond markets will become worried about the sustainability [of yearly deficits over $1 trillion], and we may find ourselves facing higher interest rates even today.”
It’s not that Bernanke hasn’t said that the debt is a problem before, he’s just never been this direct about it. Better late than never, I guess.
Michael Tanner, a health care expert from the Cato Institute, explains reconciliation and what it means for Democrats if they decide to change the rules of the House in using the the controversial procedure:
Reconciliation was established in 1974 to make it easier for Congress to adjust taxes and spending in order to “reconcile” actual revenues and expenditures with a previously approved budget resolution. Thus, at the end of the year, if Congress found that it was running a budget deficit higher than previously projected, it could quickly raise taxes or cut spending to bring the budget back into line. Debate on such measures was abbreviated to just 20 hours (an eyeblink in Senate terms), and there could be no filibuster.
CNN is out with a new poll that shows Americans don’t trust the government when it comes to safeguarding their rights, and rightfully so:
A majority of Americans think the federal government poses a threat to rights of Americans, according to a new national poll.
Fifty-six percent of people questioned in a CNN/Opinion Research Corporation survey released Friday say they think the federal government’s become so large and powerful that it poses an immediate threat to the rights and freedoms of ordinary citizens. Forty-four percent of those polled disagree.
The survey indicates a partisan divide on the question: only 37 percent of Democrats, 63 percent of Independents and nearly 7 in 10 Republicans say the federal government poses a threat to the rights of Americans.
Some would say that this is paranoia, but it’s not. Over the last several years, we’ve seen a dismantling of the Bill of Rights through restrictions on speech, attempted restrictions on the Second Amendment (Heller was a rare victory), a running over of the Fourth and Fifth Amendments, which guarantees the right to privacy, due process and private property. There is also no protection of economic liberty by government anymore.
If you watched the Health Care Summit sham yesterday, you may have caught an exchange between Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-TN) and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) about reconciliation.
I have a suggestion and a request for how to make this a bipartisan and truly productive session. And I hope that those who are here will agree I’ve got a pretty good record of working across party lines and of supporting the President when I believe he’s right, even though other members of my party might not on that occasion. And my request is this, is before we go further today, that the Democratic congressional leaders and you, Mr. President, renounce this idea of going back to the Congress and jamming through on a bipartisan — I mean, on a partisan vote through a little-used process we call reconciliation, your version of the bill. You can say that this process has been used before, and that would be right, but it’s never been used for anything like this. It’s not appropriate to use to write the rules for 17 percent of the economy. Senator Byrd, who is the constitutional historian of the Senate, has said that it would be an outrage to run the health care bill through the Senate like a freight train with this process.
The last several years have not been easy for libertarians to stomach. The U.S. government, which had bloated under President George W. Bush and a Republican Congress - the annual budget had climbed from $2 to $3 trillion under Bush and that didn’t count much off-budget military spending - has grown even more under President Barack Obama and his Democrats.
The latest polling from Gallup shows that Americans still oppose the health care reform proposal brought to the table by President Barack Obama and Democrats in Congress. Even worse for Democrats is voters’ opposition to reconciliation.
John Stossel explains the broken window fallacy:
A day after the the Senate passed (by a voice vote, no recorded vote was taken) renewal of provisions of the PATRIOT Act that were set to expire on Sunday, the House followed suite by passing the Bill of Rights gutting legislation by a vote of 315 to 97:
Many liberals in the House opposed the controversial act, saying it tramps Constitutional protections and civil liberties.
Congress adopted the Patriot Act shortly after September 11th.
Many lawmakers wanted to rewrite or even kill some of the most controversial provisions in the act. But Congressional leaders didn’t have the appetite for a major battle with the economy and health care reform swinging in the balance.
Many of the renewed provisions involve wiretaps and eavesdropping measures.
The Senate ok’d the package earlier this week. President Obama is expected to sign the bill into law.
Just to make sure I’m reading this right, Democrats are too busy other assaults on individual liberty, free markets, the Constitution and loading up debt on the next generation by trying to pass ObamaCare and endless “stimulus” bills to put up a fight on civil liberties that they claim to be defenders of. Right? Got it.
Please, don’t let our liberties stand in the way of your agenda.