Did Democracy die in America yesterday when Senate Democrats used the Nuclear Option to end filibusters on lower court appointments? Majority Leader Harry Reid led the Nuclear Option in the Senate votes which limits filibusters winning 52-48. What is the Nuclear Option and what does this mean to you? Simply put, it changes the rules of the U.S. Senate allowing lower federal court judges to be appointed by a simple majority vote. No longer will the minority party be able to block such appointments by means of a filibuster with just 41 senators backing up the block. Harry Reid claims that the Republicans have used the filibuster some 80 times to stop such appointments by Barack Obama, just over half since the Reagan Era. Oddly enough, in 2005, when the GOP ran the Senate, Reid, Obama and other Democrats opposed the Nuclear Option when they blocked court appointments made by George W. Bush more than 40 times. So how would this impact you, Joe or Jane Public? Did Democracy in America die yesterday?
The most significant outcome from this is now Obama will be able to stack the courts with Liberal judges who would block any legal challenges against the federal government. The lower courts could prevent such cases from advancing to the Supreme Court. In the big picture of slippery slopes, it opens the way to expanding such Senate votes for higher court appointments, as well as cabinet members and ambassadors. If one party controls both the Senate and the White House, they can pretty much do what they please. If they have the House of Representatives as well, they can do anything they want, as we saw in Obama′s first year of office.
James Madison′s reasoning for creating checks and balances in our Constitution was to prevent such centralized power. Originally, even the House was required to have super-majority votes on weighty matters as well as filibusters there, too. The steady erosion of the Constitution has been going on since John Adams became our second president and has been accelerating over the past century since Woodrow Wilson′s terms in office. We have gone from being a republic to becoming a democratic-socialist state. Sometimes small pieces of our freedom are whittled away by court rulings or ′tiny laws′, other times large chunks are cast off by massive welfare programs.
In his masterpiece of a book, ″No Treason″, Lysander Spooner, one of America′s greatest political thinkers, warns that if the Constitution itself is not the source of our political problems, it is certainly not strong enough to prevent them. He said that back in 1867 and it is more true now than then. I recall in 1976 when I stayed up late to watch the election returns. My father came home from working his afternoon shift at Burroughs Corporation as a machinist and I told him that Carter beat Ford. He, being a UAW-yellowdog-Democrat was happy. But when I told him that America was now headed towards becoming a dictatorship, his outrage was such that we hardly spoke for the next 17 years. The divide was only mended while we were outside the church waiting for my brother′s wedding to start when I produced a bottle of Canadian Club from the trunk of my car that we began bonding again.
A lot of Conservatives and others are outraged by what Harry Reid did yesterday. Frankly, I′m not. Its to be expected. The action reminds me of the scene from the first Star Wars movie when Carrie Fisher tells Peter Cushing that the more he squeezes the more planets slip through his fingers. Polls show between 60-70% of the public think the country is headed in the wrong direction. As Liberalism continues to shove their progressive agenda down our throats, the more people will gag and reject them. So, in the long run, what little democracy we still have will keep the ship afloat for awhile.
But, all good things do come to an end eventually. Our experiment with Federalism is ending soon. It could take another 20-50 years, or it could happen quite suddenly. Germany′s Weimar Republic had the most liberal, progressive constitution of the 20th Century, and how did that work out? The Soviet Union lasted 75 years. They tried to become a global superpower, but, as we learned in ″Dr. Strangelove″, they could not keep up with the arms race, the space race and the peace race. The people wanted nylons and washing machines. They wanted to be consumers. Communist China learned from this hard lesson. They′ve been executing on a plan to develop a consumer-based economy first before becoming a global superpower. Only now are they starting to flex their muscles and build a bluewater navy to project power, as well as an aggressive space program to colonize the Moon.
America had its day in the Sun. It probably will have more in the future once the old, worn out Liberalism is displaced and collapses. Elmer Pendel teaches us that after a collapse, and a culling, those left are of hardy stock and can rebuild a better nation. Mind you, it does not happen all the time in history. But we have an advantage over past nations and empires since we have tasted the fruits of individual freedom That in itself is the basis of American Exceptionalism. We′ve been there before and will strive to return. Hopefully, we′ll learn our lesson next time around and form a government that is weaker at its center, such that our descendents will enjoy several centuries of fun rather than barely 200 years.