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Filibuster Today, Filibuster Tomorrow, Filibuster Forever

I think Matthew Yglesias and Jonathan Chait pretty effectively pummeled this silly Mike Potemra post about the filibuster, but they missed something. Potemra:

Three years from now, Palin is president, with J. D. Hayworth as Senate majority leader, and Michele Bachmann as Speaker of the House. (Of course it’s impossible – just like the election of Obama was, and the election of Scott Brown, and . . .) I imagine they, too — Palin, Bachmann, Hayworth, Secretary of Defense Liz Cheney, Secretary of Education Glenn Beck, the whole team — are going to want to pass some legislation. Would 51 Senate votes be OK for that, as far as you’re concerned?

OK: In this scenario, how do Liz Cheney and Glenn Beck get confirmed? Because Potemra is giving the Democrats 49 Senate seats, nine more than they need to filibuster anyone. And in this scenario, they watched the GOP filibuster just about everything in a not-so-secret scheme to deny the Democrats long-term victories.

The origin of the modern filibuster-mania was really the Clinton-era Republicans’ use of the trick to block the president’s nominees. The tactic was streamlined by Bush-era Democrats, and perfected by our modern Republicans. And it’s gotten so bad, as Ezra Klein points out, that the administration can neither fully staff up or fire people in Senate-confirmed positions — every nominee is subjected to political warfare. And that’s in a Senate that has had, at minimum, an 18-seat Democratic majority.

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