Most would think the stunning election of Scott Brown to Ted Kennedy's old senate seat in Massachusetts should bring Democrats to their knees. Instead, it seems to me that liberals have been done a great favor by ditching the super-majority albatross that has been swinging from their necks since last year.
Make no mistake, last night's victory by the GOP clearly is a harbinger for November. But it also should be a positive wake-up call to Democrats. Rather than living by the premise that liberals need 60 votes to pass any legislation in the Senate, they now merely must round up 50 senators, with Vice President Joe Biden breaking the tie. This is good news because gone are the whiny slugs like independent Sen. Joe Lieberman of Connecticut and Nebraska's raider-like Sen. Ben Nelson. Their votes -- among others -- have been neutralized because they are no longer needed.
Of course, the real problem is whether Republicans will filibuster each and every piece of legislation the Democrats propose. To Senate "leader" Harry Reid, I offer one piece of advice: Dare them to do it. I dare the Republicans to stand in the Senate chambers and read the Holy Bible or the telephone book or My Dog Spot while America endures 10 percent unemployment and 30 million people are without health care.
The last time a serious filibuster was used happened in 1964 while debating the landmark Civil Rights Act. But it wasn't the minority party that threw a fit and threatened to block the legislation. Rather it was the southern Democrats that had to be neutralized.
So while the health care debate is effectively over -- with absolutely no indication about what will happen next -- it should be noted that other legislation CAN pass with 51 votes. This notion that 60 senators are needed for ALL legislation is absurd. And proof of that is in 2003 when President Bush pushed through the Medicare Part D legislation that essentially was a multi-billion dollar boon for the prescription drug companies. The vote on that monstrosity?
4 weeks ago