filibuster why I16 Apr 2005
There’s a great debate in the comments on a post on the filibuster debate over at Nathan Newman’s blog. Some good food for thought by Nathan:
Those in favor of the filibuster are those who despair of progressives regaining any political power. Those who think that the Dems are a semi-permanent minority power of course think the filibuster is vital. And that defensive mindset will probably keep the Dems in that minority if they stick to that thinking.
He also later characterizes an argument for the filibuster:
Of course the filibuster is anti-democratic, which many people see as a virtue. Of course, people can define democracy to mean whatever they want, but majoritarianism has always been closely associated with the term. The Senate was specifically conceived originally to be an “aristocratic” body where the “democratic” impulses of the House would be checked. This is a common argument for the filibuster to enhance that role of the Senate to stop the demagogic – note the root demos – majoritarian laws passed by the House.
Majoritarianism has always been closely associated with democracy, but it goes without saying that our government certainly isn’t a pure democracy in that sense. So there are many checks in our government against majoritarianism that protect the little guy – is filibustering one of them? I think that’s a case that is a little harder to make.