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As Long as We Remember...

October 4, 2017

Abolish the filibuster now and end gridlock

Edward Lulie III

Not reaching 50 votes needed, the effort to pass Graham-Cassidy Health Care measure in the United States Senate failed (for the moment). It was not even brought up for a vote.


It seems clear that the death spiral of Obamacare with fewer insurers every day, higher premiums and more people opting out of coverage due to cost, will continue.  Democrats, for some reason, are still convinced that Obamacare is popular and are gleeful that the GOP hasn't succeeded in repealing it.


President Donald Trump is right in urging the Senate to abolish the filibuster, which would make it easier to pass Obamacare repeal and tax reform.


We should begin by considering Nevada Sen. Harry Reid's gift to democracy when he changed the rules on judges and reduced the number of votes needed to approve candidates for the federal bench, thereby eliminating the filibuster which would require 60 votes to end. He would have done the same for Supreme Court appointments, but he lost the Senate before a vacancy arose.


Now President Trump urges Senator Mitch McConnell (R., KY) to abolish the filibuster and go to a 50 vote threshold. You should note that even doing that does not insure that a repeal of Obamacare will happen. After all, it just failed to get the 50 votes needed. That could well change with a few months of hearings and a full court press by President Trump to repeal and replace. Graham-Cassidy was much better than what was considered before, and it isn't far at all from gaining the support needed. A lower threshold would give the time needed for repeal as the time limit of reconciliation would be eliminated.


Republicans remember the bad old times when Democrats ruled Washington, and the only obstacle they faced was the filibuster. It survived out of old school feelings, that you, too, might need it one day if you became the minority party. That sentiment may still exist, but the chances of Minority Leader Sen. Chuck Schumer (D., NY) honoring it – should he become majority leader – are nonexistent.


Democrats would not hesitate to abolish it. Just recall how they cheated and bribed to shove Obamacare down our throats. Why should Republicans foolishly hold to tradition just to watch the filibuster disappear anyway when they no longer control the Senate?


There is no upside in honoring tradition over political necessity. Democrats no longer play by the rules, why should Republicans? Does anyone really believe that Senator Schumer would honor tradition over partisan advantage?


Consider Roy Moore's primary victory in Alabama. He won by nine points over an establishment-backed candidate that Senator McConnell worked hard to support. The Washington Post, still in delusion land, thinks that this is a repudiation of the president. That doesn't recognize that the victory of former Alabama Supreme Court Judge Moore was clearly won by the same populist base that stunned the left (and Washington Post pollsters) when Trump won last November.


This doesn't mean that they don't support President Trump anymore, clearly they do. They just ignored his fling with the GOP establishment and Mitch McConnell and voted for someone who promises to follow what President Trump promised. It was a vote for Trump's agenda and a candidate that legacy media despises. It would make sense if the GOP acts now and removes the filibuster as the president desires.


Support for Trump hasn't diminished. Despite an unprecedented assault by legacy media, he continues to have strong support from the voters who elected him. Don't believe the polls, they haven't improved in accuracy since the election.


The problem for many pundits and pollsters is one of Cognitive Dissonance; it is a mental condition where deeply held beliefs prevent one from seeing reality. This condition is widespread among many in the legacy media. Judge Moore's election proves the Washington Post is still wrong. Trump's supporters haven't gone away and still strongly support his agenda. He may say things they don't agree with, but they want his agenda to succeed. Don't forget the four congressional elections since November where the GOP won and Democrats lost.


Getting rid of the filibuster is probably necessary for the GOP to succeed. I hate to see it go as it was a check on the excesses of the majority party, but it is already an endangered species as Harry Reid proved.


Since it is doomed anyway, we should accept the inevitable and choose expediency over tradition. It will only hurt the GOP if we do not act.


Count on legacy media to promptly lead the assault against abolishing it. They will argue for tradition and claim dire consequences if the filibuster is repealed by the GOP.


Of course, if Democrats regain control of the Senate and it is abolished, then legacy media will praise the act as noble, modern and refusing to bow to outdated traditions. If the GOP abolishes it over the loud protests of legacy media and the resistance minority party, there would be plenty of time for Obamacare to be repealed, and that would allow weeks of hearings as well, thus allowing time for Graham-Cassidy to be improved and to succeed.


It would allow us to end the death spiral and crash of Obamacare, allowing people to have more choices for insurers and giving control to the states. It would also allow for a functioning government and end gridlock.


This is an opportunity for Republicans to keep their promises. They should act now.


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