We see what happens when a House of Congress has a significant hold on the majority. And we see it when the part line is at its strongest; we get the US House of Representatives. A powerful and respected body to be sure, but one that moves so fast and with such little input by the minority it can be dizzying.
If the partisanship is bad enough and/or the majority strong enough, the minority, in some cases, may not even need bother show up.
So we have the filibuster. To calm the rushing tide of the majority. To protect the nation from the tyranny of the majority. To that end, it has served it’s purpose for a long long time.
But the time may have come to change the rules.
I firmly believe that the purpose of the Senate is to slow things down. To encourage debate and encourage amendments. However, in the end, the debate on a bill should end and it should come up for a vote. And only in the extreme cases should a bill be prevented from that vote; and only then for the purposes of compromise.
We’ve left those amiable days long ago. Gone are the days when the floor was open for debate. Gone are the days when amendments to particularly high energy bills could be added. Instead, we have Senate leaders preventing such actions, and, as a result, the minority simply offering the filibuster in response.
As we stand today, the system is in need of tweaking. I suspect that the Democrats in the Senate understand that the day will surly come when they find themselves in the minority. And they’re gonna wanna have the protection of the filibuster; AND amendments.
And so it most certainly will be a combination of both that will be presented by Reid when he asks for a vote on rule changes. He’ll ask for a less powerful filibuster but he’ll also propose a strengthened ability for the minority to affect the actual bill itself.