[COLUMN] Ending Democracy with a gavel, not a bomb

Harry Reid

The hypocrisy of the left has soared to new heights and the American people are the ones being damaged.

In what can only be classified as a raw power grab, the likes of which have rarely been seen in the history of the Republic, U.S. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and 51 of his Democratic buddies have shamefully overturned more than two centuries of lawmaking precedent.

And the legions of uninformed voters with D’s on their voter registration cards cheered the collapse of another pillar of freedom as the American march toward totalitarianism picks up speed. Indeed, after the vote Reid threw a party. Nothing like popping Champagne after a hard day of radically transforming America into something it shouldn’t be.

Reid’s move eliminates the ability of the minority party to filibuster most presidential nominees and gives President Barack Obama carte blanche power to appoint hundreds of socialists/communists/fascists to important federal posts, including judges who serve for life. And all without any check whatsoever by the minority party.

Indeed, this allows 51 Americans to fundamentally alter American society for generations.

This cuts both ways. When the GOP retakes the Senate, and the GOP will at some point in the future retake the Senate, they will also have this power. That alone should have given the Democrats pause before eliminating the minority party’s most important counter-majoritarian power.

Worse, Reid overturned this age-old rule with a simple majority vote, the so-called nuclear option. Even three Democrats thought he was going too far and voted against the measure. Usually, Senate rules can only be changed with a two-thirds supermajority. The filibuster and the supermajority rule were checks to prevent a small majority doing exactly what Obama and Reid did.

Now, with the precedent set, the majority party can change the rules willy-nilly to accomplish whatever it wants. How is that possibly good for America?

The Democrats have been trying to destroy the Senate for the last 100 years. Every major change of the rules to move the Senate from its proper role as the more deliberative body — free from the temporary passions of the masses — to just another majoritarian body such as the House, has been instituted by Democrats.

The worst being the 17th Amendment in 1913, which called for the direct election of Senators, making them more concerned with public opinion than doing what is right. In 1917, Democrats introduced a way to end a filibuster with a two-thirds vote because some senators were obstructing President Woodrow Wilson’s desire to enter World War I. Then in 1975, the Democratic Senate reduced the number of votes needed to end a filibuster to 60.

Reid’s rationale was spurious at best. He claimed the Republicans were obstructing Obama’s nominations. Yet, the numbers show that the Senate had approved 71 percent of Obama’s judicial nominees. Contrast that with the 67 percent the Senate approved for President George W. Bush. While Obama’s nominees faced more filibusters, they were ultimately approved.

What makes this particularly disgusting is that Obama, Reid, Joe Biden and the rest of the gang were opposed to the nuclear option in 2005.

Obama in 2005: “What [the American people] don’t expect is for one party, be it Republican or Democrat, to change the rules in the middle of the game so they can make all the decisions while the other party is told to sit down and keep quiet.”

Reid in 2005: “The right to extended debate is never more important than the one party who controls Congress and the White House. In these cases the filibuster serves as a check on power and preserves our limited government.”

Joe Biden in 2005: “This nuclear option is ultimately an example of the arrogance of power. It is a fundamental power grab.”

Perhaps, though, of all the Democratic hypocrites, none said it better in 2005 than Sen. Max Baucus, the Democrat from Montana. Back then he said, “This is the way Democracy ends. Not with a bomb but with a gavel.”

Yet, on Thursday, Mr. Baucus voted for the very thing that he said marked the end of Democracy.

This, more than anything, defines today’s Democratic Party.

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