In this thread, it is claimed that the republicans are a problem in this country in part because they are "scornful of compromise". I don't wish to debate the merits of that claim, but I think it raises some interesting questions: Are the current rules of the legislature exploitable by those who do not wish to compromise and, if so, should anything be done to fix them?
With respect to the Senate, I think it's pretty clear that the current rules are exploitable; I doubt that the Founding Fathers envisioned a system where filibusters and cloture votes were an everyday occurrence. However, I'm not sure if simply eliminating filibusters and cloture votes would be a good idea because there's clearly a problem with a system where a 1-vote majority could pass any piece of legislature with impunity.
I think this is a good discussion topics. However, the only solutions would necessarily involve a 'compromise'. So it's kind of a catch 22, assuming that neither party reaches 60 members of the Senate. And when that happens, they usually don't feel any kind of incentive to change the rules.
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Actually, the Senate rules for a given session are set by simple majority at the beginning of that session. It would raise a bit of a storm if someone put in a substantiative change at that point, but it's fully possible for it to happen at any point. It's only after that first vote to adopt the rules of order passes that all of the procedural rules (like the filibuster, which had little to do with the founding fathers- it was created out of Arron Burr's recommendations for thinning out the rules of order as he was leaving the Senate because of his mistaken assumption that there would never be a need to force a matter to come to a vote) come back into play.
quote:Originally posted by Pyrtolin: Actually, the Senate rules for a given session are set by simple majority at the beginning of that session.
No, not really.
quote: In the United States Senate, rules permit a senator, or a series of senators, to speak for as long as they wish and on any topic they choose, unless "three-fifths of the Senators duly chosen and sworn" (usually 60 out of 100 senators) brings debate to a close by invoking cloture under Senate Rule XXII. According to the Supreme Court ruling in United States v. Ballin (1892), changes to Senate rules could be achieved by a simple majority. Nevertheless, under current Senate rules, a rule change itself could be filibustered, with two-thirds of those senators present and voting (as opposed to the normal three-fifths of those sworn) needing to vote to end debate. Despite this written requirement, the possibility exists that the filibuster could be changed by majority vote, using the so-called nuclear option, also sometimes called the constitutional option by proponents.
That's a description of what it takes _during_ as session. Not at the beginning of a session before the rules that require that procedure to change them have been adopted. The filibuster doesn't become a rule until the Senate actually adopts the rules that provide for it, which it does at the beginning of each session.
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I'm not even inclined to try, really. I lost faith in government these past few years. I came of political age during the reign of Bush the 2nd, and at the time I pegged the woes of the country on him because I'm not really a fan of conservative ideals.
Then Obama came along, and while he shares a lot more with me in regards to policy, the ease of him being hamstrung and the vapidness with which he fought back just finished me off. Not to mention his track record regarding prisoner and civil rights.
I think the system doesn't work in todays world, and the nature of it's deficiencies, combined with apathy and a lack of self-interest in the voting population, means that it never will.
Huzzah, I have officially joined the ranks of those who believe that every politician we have is a piece of useless scum raised by a degenerate system.
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quote: the ease of him being hamstrung and the vapidness with which he fought back just finished me off
There's no denying that there was tough opposition, but think of where the country was in November 2008 and what would have constituted success.
quote: every politician we have is a piece of useless scum raised by a degenerate system
Blanket cynicism is as lazy as blanket optimism. Do you think we would be in exactly the same place with McCain/Palin? Even if you are incredibly cynical, is your judgment that every example of what you see as useless scum is no worse than the worst useless scum that there is?
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