Last Thursday, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV), effectively achieved, albeit exclusively in in the United States Senate, what Progressives have been striving for since just before the turn of the 20th Century. In “breaking the rules to change the rules,” in order to effectively defang the procedural tactic of the filibuster, Mr. Reid made gigantic inroads to literally transforming the United States of America from a Constitutional Republic to a Democracy. In doing so, Mr. Reid has thrown the Framers’ intelligently designed system of checks-and-balances – a system that protected above all else the rights of the minority – to the wind.
One of the few things on which the Framers’ agreed was that Democracy was absolutely not what they wanted as the system of government for the fledgling United States of America. They recognized, not only through a working knowledge of history, but through an exercise in logic, that Democracy was nothing more than mob rule; majority rule; 51 trumps 49. It is for this specific reason that our country was created as a Constitutional Republic; a representative form of government that utilized a democratic process in legislation, but with built-in checks-and-balances so that minority rights would be protected. The filibuster was one of those checks-and-balances…right up to the point when Harry Red twisted enough arms to affect mob rule in the United States Senate.
Progressives from the very beginning of their ideological assault on the United States, have held steadfast to the goal of transforming the United States from a Constitutional Republic – in which minority rights were protected through checks-and-balances and representative government, to a Democracy – where majority rule (read: mob rule or 51 trumps 49), facilitated by faction politics, could produce a government run almost completely through an unelected bureaucracy and bureaucratic means. And while the bureaucracy has been in place for quite some time (if you don’t think so ask yourself just how affected the nation was by the so-called “government shutdown” that just transpired) it hasn’t experienced the luxury of a neutered elected government; the bureaucracy must still answer – in however a snide and jaded manner – to those elected to office (witness the indignant testimonies given during the IRS scandal, Fast & Furious, the Benghazi hearings, the NSA scandal and now the Obamacare debacle).
But the first step toward the automation of the US government as bureaucracy has been achieved, courtesy of Harry Reid and the majority of Senate Democrats sans Sen. Carl Levin (D-MI), who saw not only the danger in the move, but the threat to our form of government’s very existence:
“So why do I not join my Democrat colleagues in supporting the method by which they propose to change the rules? My opposition to the use of the nuclear option to change the rules of the Senate is not a defense of the current abuse of the rules. My opposition to the nuclear option is not new. Republicans threatened in 2005 to use the nuclear option in a dispute over judicial nominees. I strongly opposed their plans, just as Senator Kennedy did, Senator Biden did, Senator Byrd did, and just about every Senate Democrat did, including Democrats still in the Senate today…
“My position today is consistent with the position that I took then, that every Senate Democrat took then, and that’s just back in 2005. That was to preserve the rights of the Senate minority. I can’t ignore that.
“Nor can I ignore the fact that Democrats have used the filibuster on many occasions to advance or protect policies that we believe in…
“And let us not kid ourselves. The fact that we changed the rules today just to apply to judges and executive nominations does not mean the same precedent won’t be used tomorrow or the next year or the year after to provide for the end of a filibuster on legislation, on bills that are before us, and on amendments…
“No Senate majority before us has assumed to change the rules at the will of the majority. Before we do something that cannot easily be undone – and we have now done it – before we discard the uniqueness of this great institution, let us use the current rules and precedents of the Senate to end the abuse of the filibuster. Surely we owe that much to this great and unique institution.”
The key words to pay close attention to in Mr. Levin’s plea are these:
“…And let us not kid ourselves. The fact that we changed the rules today just to apply to judges and executive nominations does not mean the same precedent won’t be used tomorrow or the next year or the year after to provide for the end of a filibuster on legislation, on bills that are before us, and on amendments…”
Indeed. Is there really anyone among us who believes that an administration and political party willing to lie, cheat and steal in an effort to defraud the American people out of private-sector, free-market choice in health insurance – purely for political power, isn’t capable of using this “nuclear option” now executed to affect victory in all things legislative; in all things political? To believe that the usurpation of the filibuster won’t apply to legislation is to be naïve in the highest order.
Now that mob rule is the functioning order of the day in the United States Senate, are we to believe that this minority-rights-killing rule change won’t be applied to the next “crisis”; to the next big “too big to fail” legislation? Are we to believe that immigration reform will not be affected by this rule change? That Mr. Obama’s radical environmental agenda will not be advanced using this rule change?
And let us not forget the primary reason Mr. Reid – possibly the most destructive politician to be elected to office since Woodrow Wilson where the advancement of Progressivism is concerned – made this move: To protect the Affordable Care Act (a.k.a. Obamacare) from any court challenges that would run through the DC Circuit of the US District Court of Appeals. And our nation suffers for this protection; politically motivated to affect an ideological goal anathema to freedom and liberty.
On Thursday November 21, 2013, Mr. Reid and his Democrat colleagues voted to “break the rules to change the rules.” These Progressives and subordinate political tools decided that holding on tooth and nail to a perceived political victory – no matter how damaging to the country, our free-market system and to our citizenry that “victory” might be – is more important than protecting minority rights in the United States of America.
This, my fellow Americans is why our Framers and Founders warned so seriously about faction politics.
Frank Salvato is the Executive Director for BasicsProject.org a non-partisan, research and education initiative focusing on Constitutional Literacy and the threats of Islamofascism and Progressivism. His writing has been recognized by the US House International Relations Committee and the Japan Center for Conflict Prevention. Mr. Salvato sits on the board of directors for Founders Alliance USA, a solutions-oriented non-profit organization. He also serves as the managing editor for The New Media Journal.