Play With Fire, Get Nuked

Kevin D. Williamson, National Review

The continuing contraction of the filibuster results from its continuing misuse.

Mitch McConnell did the right thing by deploying “the nuclear option,” taking away the filibuster as a tool of Democratic obstruction in the matter of Neil Gorsuch’s nomination to the Supreme Court.

But we should take a moment to mourn the filibuster nonetheless.

And we ought to take a much longer moment to mourn the collapse of a political culture that produced leaders with senses of responsibility sufficient to be trusted with such a tool.

We sometimes speak of organizations that run “like a fine-tuned machine.” Our federal government is not one of those organizations, though it is, as democratic republics go, arguably the finest machine going and the oldest extant design. In that it is a little like the Porsche 911. Do you know what the most expensive performance option currently offered on a Porsche 911 is? Superior brakes. As passengers in my beloved 1982 Honda Prelude learned from time to time, an excellent machine that can accelerate but cannot quite stop provides a dangerous and terrifying ride.

The Senate, with its minority-empowering rules and procedures, is one of the federal government’s most important brakes. Every branch has a brake: The president has his veto, the Supreme Court is pretty much all brake, and the legislative branch has a complex braking mechanism: Congress is divided against itself, with the unruly and robustly democratic House often frustrated — by design — by the Senate, which before the direct election of its members had an even less democratic character than it does today. (The 17th Amendment is a scar on the Constitution and one of the worst of the idealistic measures of the Progressive era; surely Republicans looking at the current situation in the state legislatures must lament it.) The committee structure is another important decelerator.

The filibuster gets a bad rap, in no small part because Democrats have used it to nasty ends. The most infamous filibuster was Strom Thurmond’s 24-hour-plus assault against Republican civil-rights legislation being shepherded through Congress by the Eisenhower administration with the assistance of Richard Nixon. Huey Long, the subtropical Bernie Sanders, used the filibuster to keep control over patronage jobs in Louisiana. I personally prefer the Republican filibuster, especially the one during which Senator Rand Paul attempted to browbeat his less courageous colleagues into submission by reading them my columns. That was a good filibuster.

Senator Paul was working to draw attention to the serious question of the U.S. government’s conducting drone assassinations around the world, a project that has included the extrajudicial killing of U.S. citizens. That’s a real issue. Senator Alfonse D’Amato (remember him?), a New York Republican (remember those?), read his colleagues the phone book in his stand against a military-spending bill, and Fighting Bob La Follette, a Wisconsin Republican who was not as fond of fighting as his nickname implied, filibustered against a measure that he believed would draw the United States into the war against Germany in 1917. That’s consequential stuff.

Chuck Schumer is full of a different kind of stuff.

Read full article

You May Also Like:

On Social Media, What's Genius For Obama Is Scandal When It Comes To Trump [Watch] Ben Shapiro, The Hill

The Problem Is Facebook, Not Cambridge Analytica Leonid Bershidsky, Bloomberg

The Sad Hysteria Of The Southern Poverty Law Center Shikha Dalmia, The Week

‘Armed School Resource Officer’ Took Down Maryland High School Shooter Christian Datoc, Daily Caller

What Went Wrong At The FBI Thomas J. Baker, The Wall Street Journal

Nafta Is A Critical Part Of The U.S.’s Economic Future Dan K. Eberhart, Investor’s Business Daily

Hillary Should Just Admit She Hates Half Of America Katherine Timpf, National Review

Democrats’ Obstructionism Is Unprecedented John Hinderaker, PowerLine Blog

Collapse Of Credibility In Mainstream Press Puts Burden On Readers Ira Stoll, New York Sun

At $21 TRILLION, The National Debt Is Growing 36% Faster Than The US Economy Simon Black, Sovereign Man

Two Million Get Off Food Stamps During Trump's First Year Tom Knighton, PJ Media

RNC Raises $12.8 Million In February, Breaks Another Fundraising Record Jack Heretik, Washington Free Beacon

What Could Go Wrong With Obama-era Appointees Putting All Our National Security Eggs In Amazon's Basket? Jared Whitley, Weekly Standard

Alert: Dems Just Got 5 Congressional Seats Courtesy Of The SCOTUS Kevin Daley, Conservative Tribune

The Truth About Medicaid Work Requirements Angela Rachidi, American Enterprise Institute

Millennials Aren’t Saving Because They Think Capitalism Will Be Finished By The Time They Reach 65 Matt Vespa, Townhall

Homeschooling: The Best Hope For America's Future Lloyd Marcus, American Thinker

For More go to the Home Page >>>

Join Our Email List



FreeMarket Central

Some titles recent, all recommended -

Special Video Feature

FreeMarket Central

Voices From The 2017 International Students For Liberty Conference


In Search Of History

The Reagan Tax Cuts Worked

Thanks to "bracket creep," the inflation of the 1970s pushed millions of taxpayers into higher tax brackets even though their inflation-adjusted incomes were not rising. To help offset this tax increase and also to improve incentives to work, save, and invest, President Reagan proposed sweeping tax rate reductions during the 1980s. What happened? Total tax revenues climbed by 99.4 percent during the 1980s, and the results are even more impressive when looking at what happened to personal income tax revenues. Once the economy received an unambiguous tax cut in January 1983, income tax revenues climbed dramatically, increasing by more than 54 percent by 1989 (28 percent after adjusting for inflation).


-- Daniel J. Mitchell,

Shadow Stats Snapshot

FreeMarket Central

ShadowStats alternate economic indicators are based on the methodology of noted economist John Williams, specialist in government economic reporting.

  • Unemployment:
    FreeMarket Central BLS: 4.14%
    FreeMarket Central Shadow Stats: 21.8%
  • Inflation:
    FreeMarket Central February Year-to-Year: 1.8% (CPI-U*)
    FreeMarket Central Shadow Stats: 9.9%

*[cpi-u is the Bureau of Labor Statistics inflation rate for all urban consumers]