Republican Senate Majority Leader, Bill Frist, is continuing his campaign to entrench the new American theocracy by threatening the “nuclear option” to change Senate rules to prevent filibusters. Presently, the Senate enjoys the privilege of unlimited debate, and “cloture” can only be invoked by a vote of 60 Senators. There are now 55 Republican senators.
There are a number of ironies. First, as The Daily Kos reports, Frist has previously voted to continue a Republican filibuster against one of Clinton’s judicial nominees. As noted at Obsidian Wings, only 10 of Bush’s 119 judicial nominees have been blocked by the Senate.
The second is that the filibuster was vigorously opposed by liberal Senators in the 50s and 60s because of its use by Southern Democrats as a weapon against civil rights laws. Republicans are being somewhat specious in claiming that the struggle to “preserve a Christian nation” through a God-fearing judiciary is analogous.
Political scientists in the 50s and 60s wanted Congress to be more like a Westminster parliament with clearly defined party programmes, more block voting, and the removal of rules designed to protect minorities and ensure checks and balances. Be careful what you wish for.
Elsewhere: More over at Irant’s place.