I know there’s a trench war being fought with bayonets this week over whether the Senate should maintain traditions and stop Bill Frist and the Republicans from changing the filibuster rule. Well-meaning Democrats and lefties are out there fighting for the status quo, for sacred traditions, even invoking Mr. Smith Goes To Washington imagery.
To which I say, good luck with all that. Really, I mean it. But should there ever come a day that we aren’t dusting off for the next battle, let’s talk about really getting nuclear and changing the system – not simply defending the status quo.
What if, for example, we just abolished the damn Senate? I am telling ya people, it could save us a boatload of time, money and aggravation in the long run.
I know, I know, about all the 1790s Constitutional debates and compromises that went into the idea, the need to cool down them crazy masses, to be nice to Rhode Island and tiny states, to let “educated” folk make sure that there is “reasoned” debate to balance out the views of the rabble etc. Hell, it’s all there in America The Book by Jon Stewart.
To which I say, forget about it. Let’s roll the dice -- and stop letting blowhard, blow-dried Senatorial committee chairs grind America into an endless debating society.
To progressive folks who believe we are better off in the long-term letting the right-wing nutballs be as nutty as they can, this idea is a winner.
To folks who have ever tried to pass laws and actually govern when WE have the White House, don’t tell me that this idea doesn’t have some appeal.
To folks from Nebraska, home of a finely functioning uni-cameral legislature, or closeted American fans of the parliamentary system, you know this idea is not as crazy as it sounds.
To those folks who are legitimately scared that the Senate is our only lifeline to stop Bush and company from creating a theocracy or worse, consider the possibility that a “Senate majority” may be just an enabling excuse not to go out, invest and win local elections -- so we can run the joint.
Worried about ever winning elections because of computerized cheating?
So am I. So let’s make that the GRAND deal: if Big Bill Frist wants to end the filibuster, we’ll take verified voting done OUR way.
Obviously this idea ain't happening anytime soon -- but is mainly fodder for perhaps a few fun flames. But if you truly believe that Democrats should dig in at trench line to stop EVERYTHING this year as EJ Dionne recently observed, please tell me what we are FOR on other critical topics because – as the old saying goes, sort of -- we can’t fight everything, with nothing.