Killing Liberty


Last Thursday, the Senate Democrats, led by Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.), committed what might have been the most important assassination in 50 years. In a shocking move, Reid murdered the lone protection against a misguided Congressional majority: the Senate filibuster. While some have suggested Reid’s move was an attempt to distract the Democrats’ low-information base and sycophant media from the flaming wreckage of Obamacare, others noted that killing the filibuster was merely a continuation of Reid, President Barack Obama and their accomplices’ efforts to crush dissent by any means: legal, ethical or — perhaps especially — otherwise.

Reid’s attack doesn’t bring him into conflict merely with over two centuries’ of Senatorial standards. By killing the filibuster, Reid has also brought himself into direct conflict with… Senator Harry Reid. In May 2005, then-Senate Minority Leader Reid rose in defense of the filibuster:

[The filibuster] encourages moderation and consensus. It gives voice to the minority, so that cooler heads may prevail. It also separates us from the House of Representatives — where the majority rules. And it is very much in keeping with the spirit of the government established by the Framers of our Constitution: Limited Government… Separation of Powers… Checks and Balances. … [T]he filibuster is a critical tool in keeping the majority in check.

In a further demonstration of Reid and the Democrats’ almost pathological tendency to venerate partisanship over principle, Reid’s murder of the filibuster also puts him at odds with another fairly prominent former Senator. In 2005, a rising star in the Senate ranks sounded the alarm against ending the Senate filibuster. Then-Senator Barack Obama of Illinois whined:

[E]veryone in this chamber knows that if the majority chooses to end the filibuster — if they choose to change the rules and put an end to democratic debate — then the fighting and the bitterness and the gridlock will only get worse.

Ironically, although the then-majority Republicans did consider the “nuclear option,” they stayed their hands out of respect for the filibuster’s necessity, history’s lessons of unfettered majority and a willingness to maintain a semblance of comity about which their Democrat colleagues have no concern.

With their own statements obviating any Democrat claim that the hit on the filibuster was motivated by anything other than a naked lust for power, they’ve resorted to their sad, old dodge of blaming the opposition. The President formalized his membership in Reid’s hypocrisy herd by lauding Reid’s political hatchet-job:

[O]ver the past five years, we’ve seen an unprecedented pattern of obstruction in Congress that’s prevented too much of the American people’s business from getting done. … A deliberate and determined effort to obstruct everything, no matter what the merits, just to refight the result of an election is not normal, and for the sake of future generations, we can’t let it become normal.

It never occurs to Obama and the Democrats that his abysmal track record — including, but certainly not limited to, Obamacare, Attorney General Eric “Fast and Furious” and Benghazi, Libya — might have something to do with conservative resistance. They also seem to have missed out on Mom’s advice about large groups of stupid people and the Brooklyn Bridge.

It’s also worth noting that if a simple majority is the Democrats’ idea of an acceptable method of governance, then Obama himself should be booking his flight home. (And he should take Obamacare with him when he goes.) Obama has tumbled so far down the polling scale that 50 percent might as well be on the moon, and Obamacare has never achieved a majority approval.

Then-future President James Madison stated in Federalist No. 10: “[T]he public good is disregarded in the conflicts of rival parties, and that measures are too often decided, not according to the rules of justice and the rights of the minor party, but by the superior force of an interested and overbearing majority.”

When they didn’t own the majority in the Senate, both Reid and Obama shouted their agreement with that sentiment. Now, their shameless hypocrisy and raw desire for authority have gunned down a key aspect of that which separates the great American republic from the chaos of pure majority rule. In slaying the filibuster, Reid and the Democrats have not assassinated liberty. But combine this latest crime with the rest of Obama’s war on freedom, and liberty is certainly in need of a rescue — and soon.

–Ben Crystal

Personal Liberty

Ben Crystal

is a 1993 graduate of Davidson College and has burned the better part of the last two decades getting over the damage done by modern-day higher education. He now lives in Savannah, Ga., where he has hosted an award-winning radio talk show and been featured as a political analyst for television. Currently a principal at Saltymoss Productions—a media company specializing in concept television and campaign production, speechwriting and media strategy—Ben has written numerous articles on the subjects of municipal authoritarianism, the economic fallacy of sin taxes and analyses of congressional abuses of power.

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