03 February 2010


Last month Paul Krugman lamented the Dangerous Dysfunction in the senate given the ahistorical use of the filibuster by Republicans. In this effort, Krugman quotes a political scientist whose data show that the filibuster was used ("affected") 8% of major legislation in the 1960s; 27% in the 1980s and then mushroomed up to 70% since 2006 (when Republicans returned to the minority). So it looks like use of the filibuster jumped 63%. And it did if you skip the 1990s and mid-2000s when guess which party was in the minority. Then the filibuster was used 51% of the time.

Why does Krugman skip this time period? One can only guess. Maybe it's because back in 2005 he was afraid of extremists trying to eliminate the filibuster.

He also states that "the Constitution sets up the Senate as a body with majority-not supermajority-rule." No, it doesn't. Article I, Section 5, clause 2 says "Each House may determine the rules of its proceedings." I know I've mentioned this before, but he keeps insisting on getting this wrong. The best part is, if you want to change the filibuster rule, it takes 67 votes. It would be nice to bring this to his attention, but he would probably just ignore it now anyway, and thank the good heavens it there in a few years when he wants it to keep the evil Republicans from jamming things down our throats.

I shouldn't be shocked by his intransigence at this point. I don't know why I am. I also don't know why anyone would take him seriously.

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