Libertarians are always somewhere between irate and amused at how the Coke and Pepsi parties suddenly change their principles based on who is in the White House. The latest example: As the left cries foul on the Republican use of the filibuster in the lame duck session, Democratic leader Harry Reid once praised the filibuster, at least back in the day it was a bull-work against Bush-Cheney fascism:
"¦when legislation is supported by the majority of Americans, it eventually overcomes a filibuster's delay, as public protests far outweigh any senator's appetite for filibuster. But when legislation only has the support of the minority, the filibuster slows the legislation, prevents a senator from ramming it through and gives the American people enough time to join the opposition.
Mr. President, the right to extended debate is never more important than when one party controls Congress and the White House. In these cases, the filibuster serves as a check on power and preserves our limited government. "¦
For 200 years we've had the right to extended debate [i.e., filibuster]. It's not some procedural gimmick. It's within the vision of the founding fathers of our country. "¦ They established a government so that no one person and no single party could have total control.
Some in this chamber want to throw out 214 years of Senate history in the quest for absolute power. They want to do away with Mr. Smith, as depicted in that great movie, being able to come to Washington. They want to do away with the filibuster. They think they're wiser than our founding fathers. I doubt that that's true.
I like the filibuster most all the time. I once suggested that the rules be changed to not allow filibuster when the Senate is exercising its duty to approve administrative officials and judges, but I am not sure I support even that exception.