Oh what a difference a few years makes.
Name that President who was a Senator in 2005:
“You know, the Founders designed this system, as frustrating it is, to make sure that there’s a broad consensus before the country moves forward,”
“And that is now prompting, you know, a change in the Senate rules that really I think would change the character of the Senate forever.”
“And what I worry about would be you essentially have still two chambers — the House and the Senate — but you have simply majoritarian absolute power on either side, and that’s just not what the founders intended,”
But he isn’t the only one with a change of heart. Name that Senate Majority Leader:
The filibuster is far from a “procedural gimmick.” It is part of the fabric of this institution. It was well known in colonial legislatures, and it is an integral part of our country’s 217 years of history.
The first filibuster in the U.S. Congress happened in 1790. It was used by lawmakers from Virginia and South Carolina who were trying to prevent Philadelphia from hosting the first Congress.
Since 1790, the filibuster has been employed hundreds and hundreds of times.
A conversation between Thomas Jefferson and George Washington describes the United States Senate and our Founders Fathers vision of it.
Jefferson asked Washington what is the purpose of the Senate?
Washington responded with a question of his own, “Why did you pour that coffee into your saucer?”
“To cool it,” Jefferson replied.
To which Washington said; “Even so, we pour legislation into the senatorial saucer to cool it.”
And this is exactly what the filibuster does. It encourages moderation and consensus. It gives voice to the minority, so that cooler heads may prevail.
It also separates us from the House of Representatives – where the majority rules.
And it is very much in keeping with the spirit of the government established by the Framers of our Constitution: Limited Government…Separation of Powers…Checks and Balances.
Mr. President, the filibuster is a critical tool in keeping the majority in check. This central fact has been acknowledged and even praised by Senators from both parties.
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. 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 217 years of Senate history in the quest for absolute power.
They want to do away with Mr. Smith coming to Washington.
They want to do away with the filibuster.
They think they are wiser than our Founding Fathers.
I doubt that’s true.
Oh, I know, I know. The noted pederast, Harry Reid deems this to be an important measure to be taken now because of the GOP “abuses” of the filibuster rule. (I guess it isn’t an “abuse” to avoid passing a budget for 4 years, but I guess when you can’t guarantee Federal love for cowboy poetry, I guess it is important to make sure you can ram through whatever you want.)
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