It reminds a little of watching Jurassic Park and hearing Ian Malcolm talk about “Chaos” and “Entropy” and then ride into the sunset at the end with a smug sense of satisfaction, thinking he was right. Except that Jurassic Park wasn’t brought down by “Chaos,” or because “Life found a way.” It was SABOTAGED by a fat guy with a bad credit rating. In the Senate, the part of
My concern comes with the following examples, one from the Republicans, and one from the Democrats, in mind:
1) The “nuclear option.” If you don’t listen to Fox, you may remember that this was what Trent Lott (R-MS) called the Republican proposal at the time to do away with the filibuster for Judicial Nomination and Political Appointees, back when the Minority Democrats were trying to stop some of the more Jack-Booted Right Wingers that Bush was pushing from acquiring lifetime appointments to the bench. Basically, it would have eliminated the “Hold” procedure and force an up-or-down vote. Now I didn’t like this at the time, and I still don’t, but consider how weak the Republicans would be right now if the could put holds on every Obama appointee? They have shot themselves right in the foot! Whatever you propose, you’ve got to accept that one day the tables would be turned.
2) In 2004, when John Kerry may have vacated his Senate Seat, had he won the election and become President, the Massachusetts legislature TOOK AWAY the power of then Governor Mitt Romney (R) to appoint Senate replacements, instead insisting on holding a special election. But then, come 2009 and the death of Senator Kennedy, that same legislature, fearing a Republican victory, tried to give that power BACK to Governor Duval Patrick (D). This failed, in part because people recognized the bullshit game they were playing, and Scott Brown (R-MA) won the special.
Situations like these are why I hold, as one of my stated and most sacred principles, the following maxim:
Never assume a power you won’t grant your opponent. Never place a limitation on your opponent that you wouldn’t have placed upon yourself.
Apart from just being principled as well as both the right and decent way to behave, long term it is simply in your best interests to do so! Despite what the Republicans think, the “Golden Rule” is not, “He, who has the gold, makes the rules.”
So while I applaud Senator Bennet ’s efforts, I would caution him, and all Senators who want to meddle in these things, to consider that above maxim, and remember that the balance of power will shift, and the rules may one day end up stymieing their own ability to stop some truly egregious excesses in the future. After all: if the Republicans had won on the “Nuclear Option” Obama’s administration would be in much better shape right now, and if Massachusetts had just taken their chances with Romney’s potential Senate appointment in 2004, we’d have 60 votes in the Senate today.
Be VERY, VERY careful what you wish for.