Founding Fathers had no notion of Senate filibusters




   Senate filibusters, which amount to the tail wagging the dog, may or may not be unconstitutional, but they represent a prostitution of the legislative process that probably has the framers spinning in their graves.


   Thomas Geoghegan makes a STRONG ARGUMENT in that regard.




  1. Pat and I have gone back battled back and forth on this many times in the past year. I will concede that this article is probably the best one I’ve read for argument against the filibuster process. But as is always the case in liberal arguments, there are several flaws.

    The major one being the statement that Senators from the 21 “smallest states” are the ones causing the trouble. Since when are Texas and Florida small states? And why should the state size or population even be part of the argument? I’m surprised that Mr. Smith, by citing the Federalist papers several times, was not aware of Jefferson’s firm belief in state’s rights as evidenced by the Kentucky Resolutions.

    The filibuster is especially important considering the extreme divisiveness of opinion today. If it wasn’t for the filibuster this country would be dangerously close to becoming an ochlocracy. The author may be correct that the framers would probably scoff at the current Senate parliamentary procedures, but they would also understand the necessity of protecting the rights of the individual from mob mentality. They certainly wouldn’t view it as unconstitutional.

  2. Mike Carroll

    Strange, I do not recall this Liberal disdain for the filibuster during the years that W occupied the White House. I’m sure that my memory skills are simply fading with age since otherwise this change in attitude would seem to be the height of Hypocrisy. No, it couldn’t be that, could it?

  3. If a potential bill is really great, be it Republican or Democratic originated, then it should easily pass the Senate. There are more than enough moderates from both parties to ensure passage, and it often does. We’ve had the current Senate filibuster rules in place for how many years now? The government appears to get plenty of legislation passed every year.

    No, the ONLY reason for this article of sour grapes, is because liberals know their crappy health care and carbon tax legislation stands a much tougher chance at passing thanks to the filibuster.

  4. It’s tit-for-tat. Both recognized parties are working within a convoluted, corrupted system…
    Which makes me wonder “what context was Will Rogers’ ‘Applesauce’ quote connected to?”

  5. The filibuster allows the minority in the senate to prevent the majority party from running roughshod over the people they represent…or refuse to represent.


    President Obama’s approval rating on handling health care is at an all-time low, according to a new CBS News poll, something that is helping to drag down his overall approval rating.

    Just 36 percent of Americans approve of Mr. Obama’s handling of health care, according to the poll, conducted from Jan. 6 – 10. Fifty-four percent disapprove. In December of last year, 42 percent of Americans approved of the president’s handling of health care, and 47 percent approved in October.

    Yet things could be worse: With Democrats in Congress continuing to negotiate the terms of their comprehensive health care package, both Congressional Republicans and Democrats receive even lower marks than the president on the issue, the poll shows.

    About six in 10 Americans continue to disapprove of how both Democrats and Republicans in Congress are handling health care reform: 57 percent disapprove of how Democrats are handling the issue, while 61 percent disapprove of how Republicans are handling it.

  6. doc, the number i would worry about is the 57/61 mark. A low number of americans may approve of obamas handling of health care, but that still not enough to help the republicans overtake the democrats. Hard to win elections when you don’t win the issues.

  7. Given the numbers, I wonder if we won’t see a throw the bums out mentality in the next election cycle?

  8. expdoc: Regarding your reference to polls showing widespread disapproval of Obama’s handling of health care, I hope you’re not so foolish to equate those numbers with public rejection of sweeping health-care reform. As I’ve explained here before, some of the disapproval comes from liberals who think the Democrats’ bill doesn’t go far enough. Read this:

  9. NurseGloria

    We need to go back to the enactment of the Federal Reserve in 1913, and the 16th and 17th amendments. The 18th amendment was a distraction. Suffrage at the time was the support for Woodrow Wilson who approved the Federal Reserve althought women were not allowed to vote until World War I was over.

    These three historical events lead to our current day problems for the majority of citizens economicaly, as well as the 1975 filibuster rule change for the U.S. Senate.. The 17th amendment which provides for U.S. Senators to be elected at large, rather than by the state legislatures at first seemed more democratic to the populace.

    The power of the people was weakened due to the influence of money on the media. Look at the socio-economic status of the U.S. Senate. Add to that the current day way we finance political campaigns. And there you have it.

    We need to have academics in history, politics, and economics have a summit to determine why these changes in the Constitution occured, how it happened, who benefited, was that the intended result for the people, and what do we do about it now.

    We still have the power to determine our future. It is probably true that the population has been dumbed down academically. But the people still have their raw intelligence. And now we have the internet. to assimilate ideas.

    I don’t mind reading a blog with misspelled words and poor grammar if the person has a good idea. We can build on the ideas of the people to come up with solutions for the future. We must.

    And we must use the educated who have ethical values and who are commited to helping the majority of the people survive and thrive, just as our founding fathers did.

  10. NurseGloria

    Alice Paul was hoping Woodrow Wilson would support women’s right to vote. Her efforts were probably focused on that human right, and not on the economics of the time. The efforts to promote human rights can always be exploited by the banksters. We must be cautious.

  11. Me foolish? Hardly.

    We need reform, doctors know it, patients know it, even the insurance industry know things must change. It is the lack of leadership that Obama has shown on the issue and the way the Congress led by Reid and Pelosi have conducted the debate that people are fed up with.

    The Democrats entered this process vowing transparency,coverage for all and cost control. They have delivered on no part of that agenda. So much for hope and change.

    Their supporters are mad because there is no public option, or even better a single payor system (which is what liberals want,no matter what they say). Their opponents were their opponents before and will remain so out of principle and the all important independent voter (who doesn’t really know what they believe on most issues) is becoming disenfranchised with the politicians in both parties.

    Rather than a bipartisan effort that addresses issues that will really “bend the curve” the whole process has exposed politicians for the self serving survivalists that most of them are. We suffer from a severe lack of leadership on both sides of the aisle and the frustration of the average citizen with that realization is what I think those poll numbers reflect.

  12. NurseGloria

    I totally agree with you expdoc. The health of the U.S citicens is in the hands of people who are idiots. This is not a partisan issue. It is a life and death issue.

    How do we take it out of politics and into the hands of persons who know what is the best way to go? I believe that taking it out of the for profit market is step number one.

  13. “Taking it out of the profit market” is not going to solve, or help anything. Doctors have degrees. Degrees are very expensive. While some doctors may want to join the profession to help out their follow man/woman, many others join the profession to retire early. Take profit incentive out of the equation, and your doctor to patient ration gets even worse.

    Besides, profit margins are actually a very small percentage of the gross revenue of insurance providers.

    If everyone had access to affordable health care coverage where you can’t be denied care, that would solve most of our problems. Profit has absolutely nothing to do with it.

  14. blah…”ration” should be “ratio” above…

  15. Neftali is right again. Stop viewing profit as bad and instead use it as a motivator toward quality. As hospitals continue to drive for transparency in pricing and quality metrics, the desire for profit will actually DECREASE cost while maintaining or increasing quality and innovation.

    A large government bureacracy will only slow the evolution toward that goal. We may get there eventually, but it will only take longer and cost more money.

  16. realfoxnews

    Doc I support alot of your stuff like 99% But health care needs help why can the hospitals and doctors give Insurance companys a discount. But when you call the same hospital up and say you don’t have insurance but you will pay cash, can you give me a discount. It won’t even come close to what the insurance companys get.

  17. NurseGloria

    Paulie is a real child,

    Paulis had JMML

    rrstrar is the way we help people in winnebago county.

    why did this little boy die?

    What is the problem?

  18. realfoxnews – A simple understanding of economics would answer your question. Its all based upon bulk commodities. Think of Wal-mart. They purchase massive amounts of goods at a cheaper rate from suppliers and pass on the savings to consumers.

    Hospitals can get access to more patients with good credit by establishing business with national insurance providers or becoming affiliated with certain HMOs.

    Put it other way. Company X has 10,000 people who all have the same insurance provider. There are two hospitals in the area. Hospital “A” may want to offer a discount for the Company X insurance provider to receive more patients than hospital “B.”

    However, please there are many health care providers that do not give discounts to anyone regardless of insurance. In other words, the same rates apply to everyone.

  19. Realfoxnews,

    Hospitals give insurance companies a discount because they “steer” patients to their business(the hospital). By adding volume, they can accept less profit per encounter. Most hospitals will give you their worst negotiated rate if you ask, which is less than full price.

    This system exists because the government (medicare and medicaid) and those without insurance who get treatment but don’t pay, have gotten away with paying less than what treatment costs for years. The difference gets made up on those who have coverage.One advantage of reform that results in all patients haave coverage is that this cost shifting could be stopped and prices could be adjusted closer to actual costs.

  20. Why are insurance companies considered an essential component in the equation?
    Doesn’t the fact that they have a payroll (etc.) add considerable strain to the system?

  21. The government agency running a single payor system would have a payroll as well. Like most bureaucracies it would have no incentive to control costs. The advantage of multiple insurance companies participating in providing care is that the consumer is given a choice (where choice hasn’t been restricted by government mandate) to buy the coverage that is most appropriate for them.

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