by Patrick Appel
A few days ago, I noted Ed Morrissey's criticism of Yglesias's call to repeal the filibuster:
Funny, but I don’t recall Yglesias demanding those changes while Democrats were in the minority in the Senate.”
It asks too much of senators--among the most self-interested of creatures--to approach the filibuster as though they were behind a veil of ignorance. They know all too well who would benefit (President Obama and the Democrats) and who would be harmed (Republicans and grandstanding centrists) were the filibuster suddenly to be amended or eliminated. It is naïve to think they might put this knowledge aside.
The passage of time, however, creates an opportunity to drape a veil over politicians’ eyes. There is no way Republican senators would agree to the immediate abolition of the filibuster. But what if the proposal on the table was to get rid of the filibuster in 2017? By then, even a potential second Obama term would have ended. Every sitting senator would have faced re-election at least once. And, most importantly, there is no way to know which party would be in the majority and which would be in the minority.