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'Niceguy' Eddie

Political Talk Show Host and Internet Radio Personality. My show, In My Humble Opinion, (original, huh?) airs on Tuesdays at 10:PM and Saturdays at 8:PM, Eastern time on RainbowRadio.

Feel free to contact me at niceguy9418@usa.com. You can also friend me on Facebook, follow me on Twitter, and Tumblr, and support my Patreon. Also, if you don't mind the stench, you can find my unofficial "fan club" over HERE. ;)

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Monday, December 12, 2011

WHAT filibusters?

Saw a hilarious claim made by Fox News being debunked on MMFA today. Apparently the Republicans have NOT, in fact, been using the filibuster, the hold or any other tactics in an effort obstruct the Obama administration who, in fact has accomplished all of his major gosls. I left my two cents on that nonsense there, but it got me thinking…
You may not remember, but like a year and a half ago, ClassicLiberal and I had a disagreement about filibusters. (Steeve said I got ‘owned,’ but hey: it wouldn’t be the first time he and I disagreed.) Anyway, I’ve been meaning to address Classic’s points in that discussion for a LONG time now. To recap (and Classic should PLEASE correct me here, if I’m being inaccurate) his position was that the filibuster should be eliminated. Now, this discussion was happening in the context of filibuster REFORM (which I applauded, at the time) and coming on the heels of a record number of filibusters being waged and anonymous holds being placed on appointees (which amounts to the same thing) I responded that he was only bitter about how the Republicans were USING IT, and about the fact the Democrats never seem to be able to do the same. ‘Not so,’ he answered, and pointed out that the very idea of allowing the minority to override the will of the majority simply goes against the idea of Democracy. And my reaction to that intially was one of pragmatism versus principle. I agreed with him in principle, but felt that I still wanted the filibuster in ‘our’ arsenal, just in case, even at the risk that it gets used against us. (And of course if there was a way to make it less politicized and less AUTOMATIC, I have no problem with that. And that’s why I remain in favor of reform over abolition.)
But over the past year and a half, as I’ve thought about it, I started to wonder if the difference between having a 40-vote filibuster or a 50-Vote filibuster-proof majority is really all that different. So today I did a little exercise. I found some numbers from the2008 electoral roles (from here). And what I wanted to know was this: What would be the absolute minimum number of votes a Party would need to get to achieve the 40 votes needed for a filibuster, vs. the 50 votes they’d need to enact legislation, if the filibuster was eliminated.
[You can skip this paragraph if you’re not interested in the methodology] So I ranked the states by population, skipping DC, which doesn’t have a Senator. Using only the percentage of registered voters who actually voted, I cut that in half and then took THAT number of votes as a percentage of each State’s total (18+) population. I then SUMMED those totals to get these votes as a percentage of the Total U.S. (18+) Population.
Giving no consideration to the partisan leaning of each state in question, I was SHOCKED to learn that a 40-Vote Filibuster could be achieved by Senators voted in by a mere 2.3% of the population. DAMN! On a purely theoretical level, that’s a pretty solid argument against the filibuster even if it is an unrealistic scenario. And if I only used the 20 smallest, traditionally RED States, that number only goes up to 4.0%. Obviously still an absurdly small number to be able to derail popular legislation.
Now let’s say there’s no filibuster. If you take the 25 smallest States, giving no consideration to their partisan leaning, you can achieve a 50-Vote, now filibuster-proof, majority (assuming you hold the Vice-Presidency) with a number of votes totaling just 5.7% of the Population. This goes up to 9.8% if I assume only Red States. And just as a reference, a 60-Vote, filibuster-proof majority under the current system could be achieved with the support of just 10.8% of the Population, (16.0% assuming Red States only,) using the same methodology.
So the way I see it, here’s the big question on the purely theoretical level:
Would you rather have a system where just 2-4% of the population could STOP something from being enacted, or a system where just 6-10% of the population could enact ANYTHING they wanted to?
(And remember that, under the current system of assuming a filibuster every time, and using this methodology, you need just 11-16% of the population to achieve the filibuster-proof majority needed to do anything at all.)
And I don’t think this is a simple question by any means. Neither case resembles by a long shot a populist democracy, where the majority vote should be the deciding factor. In each case, I’m sure either side of the political spectrum (and the center) can conjure up all kinds of nightmare scenarios, about hos the other might use this power; some reasonable, some incredible and some which have already happened. My initial thought was a bit along the lines of a morally relative argument: That it depends on the times.
Suppose it’s the 1850’s. The country has been expanding, but the question of that abhorrent practice of slavery is threatening to come to a head and many fear that this issue may one day tear the country apart. And let’s say I’m President Pierce (or better yet, a hypothetical President Scott) and I want this issue RESOLVED. Well… I could see that the representatives of that mere 2-4% of the population being able to hold up any legislation that could resolve this issue as being far more than a mere thorn in my side. After all: blood will be shed over this, and I want ACTION! From that point of view, I might be inclined to agree with ClassicLiberal, or at least view this as a scenario in which the filibuster MUST be stopped.
BUT… Notice I didn’t say “slavery abolished,” I merely said, “resolved.” President Pierce had Southern Sympathies. And while this pretty much guaranteed the status quo would be maintained, let’s say he had enough voted to, oh... I don’t know… force Northerners to return escaped Slaves to the South or something, thus forcing them to not only enable, but participate directly in this abhorrent practice or else face ciminal prosecution? Oh wait… They had ALREADY DONE THAT! And President Fillmore signed it into law in 1850! Hmmm… Well, it seems that in that case the filibuster might have come in pretty handy to the abolitionists, would they had been able to muster one.
Does that close the case though? Not remotely. Because, I mentioned that hypothetical President Scott. And Winfield Scott was an abolitionist himself. So let’s say he’s the one setting his party’s agenda. If he needed just the representation of 5-10% of the population to END SLAVERY FOREVER? Maybe the Civil War never happens. Or maybe it happens earlier. Who knows?
(And please don’t waste anyone’s time giving me a pre-civil war American history lesson. I’m just using this all as a hypothetical example. I’m not suggesting this is how things actually happened or even worked back then. And I fully realize that I've used it in a somewhat absurd manner.)
And in either case, it doesn’t mean that either of these powers could not be abused. We don’t live in a time where we deal with an issue so fundamentally evil as slavery. And while I’m sure William will yell, “Abortion,” the FACT is that this country is not headed towards a Civil War over that issue or any other. And while we’ve seen filibusters used in an attempt to block undeniably GOOD legislation, such as the Civil Rights Act in the 60’s (and likely any legislation granting full and equal right to the LBGT population today, if the Democrats or Obama had the stones to propose anything,) without the filibuster (or the hold) we’d have had Robert Bork instead of David Souter on the Supreme Court for most of the last 25 years, and no Natural Land Reserves left ANYWHERE that don’t have oil and gas wells on them. And if we’d had a long history of such controversial legislation passing on a mere senate majority, I’m afraid to imagine what we might have seen following 9-11, for example. As bad as it was (and a lot of it WAS and REMAINS pretty bad!) concessions WERE made to get necessary Democratic support. You can question the VALUE of those concessions but that has more to do with the Democrats in question than with the system, IMHO.

If I have to choose? I’ll take the system where 2-4% can shut something down than the alternative of 6-10% being able to enact whatever they want to. Even if I assume a “we’ll clean up there messes” mentality, given the cyclical nature of American Politics the constant chaos of programs and laws and regulations beings enacted and then struck down, every 4-8 years… Well, over time, nothing gets done that way either! But I feel – and this is purely my judgment and opinion based on the facts as I see them, and I’m sure many will disagree with me – that less damage can be done by holding up progress for a few years than by the constant back-and-froth that would result for a pure majority-vote-rules Senate. In that case? Each side would spend their entire first term undoing what the opposition had done in their last term, and basically NOTHING would EVER get done in the long term.
However… I would like to give ClassicLiberals Democratic principles a nod here. Because in truth the whole IDEA of the Senate IS anti-democratic by design. So let me propose an admitedly radical third option to keeping the filibuster as it is or removing it entirely:
1) Eliminate the Senate.
2) Expand the membership in the House of Representatives so that no member has a Constituency larger than 50,000 citizens or smaller than 30,000.
For more information on step (2) please refer to the fine people over at [IMHO Hall of Famer] The 30,000. Aside from a lack of office space, there was really never any reason, nor Constitutional justification, to limit the number of Representatives. Now they don’t go so far as to suggest eliminating the Senate, but consider how much closer we would get to one-person / one-vote if we did. And consider how much less influence Political Parties and Special Interest groups would have (which in general I would say is either a good thing, or at a minimum good for democracy) if all a Representative needed to win was 50% of (whatever percentage was registered and voted) of 30-50,000. That might be as small as 10,000 people. Well… no matter how much money you have and how many mudslinging ads you run, I can go out and personally sit down with 10,000 people, answer their concerns face-to-face, educate them on the issues, explain how the ads are misleading, etc… And you can’t fight that kind of campaigning with propaganda! OTOH, if I need to get the majority of 5,000,000 people? Well… There’s no way I can combat the glut of Negative Ads and Hatchet pieces in the press on a one-by-one, face-to-face basis. So the big money and the big-connections will always to win out. Also – with literally THOUSANDS of seats up for grabs, it becomes WAAAY too expensive for even the BIG money to fight enough of those battles to win enough control by themselves. The way it is now? With so many (~1/10 as many) fewer battles to fight, it’s become VERY practical – easy, even – for the big money to wield WAAAY to much influence in the elections.
In any case, on a basic political system design level, I would not want to eliminate the filibuster altogether unless the Senate were eliminated and the House of Representatives expanded as I’ve described. Otherwise the Senate just has too much power, and represetns fro too few people. Though on a practical level I would still support the proposals of Senator Bennet (D-CO) that were being made way back when.

Too bad they didn’t go anywhere.

17 comments:

  1. " ‘Not so,’ he answered, and pointed out that the very idea of allowing the minority to override the will of the majority simply goes against the idea of Democracy."

    I wonder if he feels that way about issues that the right feel are important (such as gay marriage). Somehow I doubt it.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Here are my posts from that previous exchange:

    http://lefthooktheblog.blogspot.com/2010/03/democracy-filibuster-part-1.html

    http://lefthooktheblog.blogspot.com/2010/03/democracy-filibuster-part-2.html

    In that second piece, I ran the same numbers you did, but my results were that, "at present population dispersal, just over 5.6% of the U.S. population, residing in the smallest states (which contain 11% of the total U.S. population), can theoretically elect a sufficient number of Senators (41) to filibuster anything everyone else wants to do." You came up with 2.3%. It's been so long I don't remember exactly how I did my own calculation, but it doesn't really matter--either result supports my larger point.

    I also ran the then-current numbers about actual Senate representation: "...at present, Democratic Senators represent 74.9% of the population, while Republican Senators represent 48.7% of the population (there being overlap between states that have mixed Senate delegations). The minority is still running everything."

    I pretty much addressed everything you wrote, here, back then. The notion that we will get bad results without a filibuster is a) absolutely true, and b) of absolutely no relevance. One either believes in liberal democracy or one doesn't. If you do, you have to take the good with the bad.

    Defending the filibuster necessarily entails defending the abuse of it we've seen since Republicans lost control of congress in 2006, and particularly since 2008. That abuse has literally changed the constitutional order and is, arguably, unconstitutional. More to the point, though, it completely nullifies our elections, rendering them meaningless exercises. This, too, is something one must defend in order to defend the filibuster. In evaluating its potential merits, one has to weigh this--a complete frustration of the democratic process, every day of every week of every year, forever--against the benefit of keeping it around, and in my view (and I think history clearly supports me in this), any alleged benefit is mostly illusory. No counter at all.

    I don't see any argument in its favor.

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  3. "I wonder if he feels that way about issues that the right feel are important (such as gay marriage)."

    Newsflash, bright boy: The public supports gay marriage, and has, under various schemes, for years, now. The nut right's gays-to-the-gas-chamber views are centered in the elderly, and are well on their way to the garbage-heap of history, where they belong.

    "Somehow I doubt it."

    That is why you fail.

    Well, that and the fact that you're a moron.

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  4. Is that why, during each election, gay marriage issues are voted down? Yet, rogue liberal judges keep instituting the opposite of the will of the people. Here's a test for you: present one election where gay marriage was approved by VOTERS. Of course your unsupported stat about "the elderly" probably includes anyone over 20.

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  5. William: Election after election, huh?

    Connecticut, Iowa, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New York, Vermont and the District of Columbia ALL recognize gay marriage, and California, Hawaii, Illinois, Maine, New Jersey, Nevada, Oregon, Rhode Island, Wisconsin & Washington offer Civil Unions. (Is that burn HOT? Can you FEEL IT, baby?)

    My home state of Michigan doesn't, but I can personally vouch for the absurd amount of wall-to-wall negatives ads that ran during that particular ballot measure. The people chose, but there was a HELL of a lot of money levied to influence them. And teh very fact that ths is even an ISSUE is a sign that progress is happening and that your side (as it always does) will eventually lose. Just ove ra decade ago, homosexuality was still a crime in a few backwater states. Now there's a trend toward marital recognition. Not surprisingly, the knuckledraggers stand in the way of social progress, once again. They always have. The Aboloition of Slavery, Women's suffrage, Civil Rights... were ALL fought against by the Conservtaives of their day, and here you lot are, once again, fighting against the rights of those who ask nothing and harm no one.

    Tell you what... So that this stays ON TOPIC - namely about the filibuster - I'll do a piece on gay rights. I read something earlier today that I want to write about anyway, so give me a day, and then I'd like you to answer the challenge I'll post there. OK?

    And I'll respond to your Abortion comments at the same time, and I'll have another challenge for you there too, OK?

    This will be fun. Bear with me one another day, OK?

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  6. Eddie, of those 6 states, how many VOTED to legalize gay marriage? Isn't that what classicliberal is denouncing? That the minority should not be creating law over the will of the people? I am merely pointing out his hypocrisy as he says what he said. When you bring me the evidence of those voters voting to approve gay marriage, I'll correct my statement. Also, I've supported civil unions from the beginning. There is nothing wrong with getting equal treatment through law regarding their choices, but I have a problem with them DEMANDING it be called marriage. I will not vote for that.

    And the idiocy of you comparing gay marriage rights to civil rights. Since when is a choice a civil right? I choose to walk fast as I walk, therefore I demand special civil rights to guarantee that I'm allowed to walk fast with no one being allowed to stop or slow me down! Umm, do I get to demand a "civil right" for being a fast walker?

    BTW, I was on topic with my first response. I asked how classicliberal would feel about issues that the right support when he spouts that the minority should not be deciding for the majority regarding law. I gave an example of his unrealistic attitude and you all flow with the example with the usual hateful rhetoric but ignore the actual statement. And this entire topic started because you and classicliberal disagreed on the minority being allowed to over-ride the majority's wishes in a democracy, correct? That is what I commented on and gave an example of what a hypocrite he is for saying such a thing.

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  7. William: CHILL.

    I know full well what you were doing, and have no problem with it. I nver siad you were off-topic. I said that I wanted this to "STAY on topic" as opposed to devolve into a discussion about gay rights. That was meant as much for everyone else, and myself, as it was for you.

    Any of the broader points that were aimed specifically at ClassicLiberal, I'm keen to let him address. (He can certainly hold his own against me, so I have no doubt in his ability to take care of business elsewhere.)

    But I am specifically NOT going to address your counterpoints to mine HERE. Because, like I said, I don't want this to become an in-depth discussion specifically about Gay Rights (or any other single issue) rather than the Filibuster in general. It's fine as an example, but I prefer take up the detailed back and forth on any specific issue in another thread, K?

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  8. Classic – You seem to be making two arguments at the same time, one principled and one pragmatic. When you say “You either believe in Liberal Democracy or you don’t,” that’s principled. But when you lament the abuse that has come about within only the past couple years, (the past couple administrations at the most,) that’s pragmatic. And this is an important distinction, because ABUSE can be addressed with REFORM. Making a principled argument the point is entirely different – that’s saying that the practice is fundamentally wrong even were it NEVER abused. Which, if I understand you correctly, is where you stand.

    Just an aside, but I’ve noticed this before and if I under you correctly, it makes for a good parallel: Consider the previous death penalty discussion… You, Conchobhar and JLarue (hope I didn’t forget anyone) were all opposed to Capital Punishment IN PRINCIPLE. IOW: It’s simply wrong for the state to kill people. Yet most of the arguments revolved around errors that were made by the system – IOW pragmatic arguments. But at the end of the day, even if it could be guaranteed that no errors were ever going to be made – COULD ever be made – you would still opposed the practice: Because you oppose it IN PRINCIPLE. (It doesn't matter that we might execute the innocent, if your still opposed to executing the guilty!)

    I bring all this up because saying, “To defend the filibuster is to defend its abuse,” is no more profound that me saying “to do away with the filibuster is to defend the abuse of those who can now act unopposed.” And what’s more, it’s simply NOT TRUE. I can defend the filibuster IN PRINCIPLE, but still greatly desire that it be reformed, in order to prevent abuse. Don’t start arguing like a conservative: This isn’t an all or nothing proposal. I remain ABSOLUTELY IN FAVOR of filibuster REFORM. And the filibuster HAS been reformed in the past, so it DOES happen. Not too long ago it took 67 votes for cloture. Now it’s only 60. That's an improvement. Until recently you had to actually GET UP AND SPEAK in order to filibuster. Now it's merely procedural. That’s an example of progress in the wrong direction, granted, but maybe we should go back to that! Make these guys get up and reveal themselves for the naked partisan sellouts that they are! And Senator Bennett (D-CO) had other ideas that would make the practice BETTER. But I won’t press any of these points, because you oppose it in PRINCIPLE.

    (con't)

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  9. (con't)

    As usual, I dispute none of your facts. The filibuster IS inherently un-democratic. And while we came up with slightly different numbers, both of us have shown that an incredibly small percentage of the population can end up bringing EVERYTHING to a grinding halt. Fine. But the point you fail to address in all of this is: Taking away the filibuster does not change the fact that just a slightly larger, though still absurdly small, minority could then do WHATEVER THEY WANTED TO. In proving the point that the filibuster is undemocratic, you fail to deal with the fact that the Senate, in its current form, is no less undemocratic, with or without the filibuster. And I’m sure it isn’t lost on ANY of you guys that the very DESIGN of the Senate gives disproportionate representation to those who live in States where NOBODY ELSE LIVES.

    What's more, consider the two largest states for each Party: California and Texas. I’ve been to both, I’ve done business in both, and I have friends and colleagues in and from both. They are both VERY DIVERSE States, racially, economically and politically. And in the current Senate, 40-some percent of each State entirely lacks representation! And hey: because they have a six year term and rarely run for reelection at the same time, if one party consistently keep 51% support in ANY state, the other 49% will continue to consistently lack representation! This is what I like about the idea of not only the District-based approach, but one with VERY SMALL DISTRICTS and MANY MORE Representatives: It reduces the amount of people not being represented, and makes sure that each State’s delegation more closely resembles their states overall demographics.

    In conclusion, I would GLADLY concede the filibuster point to you if you would show me why the Senate without it somehow DOES resemble a liberal democracy. And I won’t be satisfied with you saying that it’s ‘better,’ or ‘closer,’ because failing slightly less miserably is still failing miserably. When you’re talking 5-10% either way, you’re about half an order of magnitude LESS than the 50% that a liberal democracy calls for to pass legislation. I fail to see how the Senate any more closely resembles a liberal democracy without it. And I won’t let you off the hook should you choose to concede that point, because if the Senate IS undemocratic ON THE WHOLE, BY DESIGN, then one more or one less undemocratic practice within that structure is, IMHO, immaterial.

    So THIS is your challenge to convince me: Why is the filibuster any less democratic that the Senate is by design, even without it?

    THAT is what I’m not buying, and is why I would KEEP the filibuster – to allow for debate and protect the rights of the minority - although there is NO QUESTION in my mind that significant REFORM is still needed, and has been for some time.

    ReplyDelete
  10. Eddie, I think I have kept it on topic, even with the gay marriage reference. The filibusters that you have a problem with and the minority controlling the 'democracy' that classicliberal has a problem with are directly related to my mention of gay marriage. The people elected these people into office to represent their will. All of them are elected by US citizens for the reason 'to represent what they expect done'. Gay marriage is a perfect example of that. NO state has voted to approve gay marriage. Not even the ones you mention as having gay marriage laws present (those were instituted by rogue judges who ignored the will of the people after a legal voting process). Similar circumstances may very well be in action for the filibusters that are being mentioned in your article. "The will of the people" is what is expected from the men/women they elect to represent them. Do you agree? How can you differentiate the simple fact that filibusters happen because those who do them are trying to achieve their elected goal? Or are you saying they are doing the filibusters for personal gain?

    It would seem to me that when a republican or democrat proceeds with that method it is because their constituents would disagree with the options the other side is offering. A filibuster is a simple tool to use that allows some to achieve their goal of representing the people who elected them into office in the first place. I wish we could use that option to keep those rogue judges out of office who ignore the legal democratic process with their personal opinions.

    ReplyDelete
  11. My reply ran a bit long, Eddie, so I plastered it over at my own humble hole in the internet:
    http://lefthooktheblog.blogspot.com/2011/12/filibuster-revisited-part-2.html

    ReplyDelete
  12. "The filibusters that you have a problem with and the minority controlling the 'democracy' that classicliberal has a problem with are directly related to my mention of gay marriage."

    And again, you're eyes are brown. Polling has shown public support for legal recognition of homosexual relationships for years. The CBS News poll--one of the best, because it gives a more detailed breakdown--started asking respondents about this way back in 2004. In March '04, 55% favored legal recognition. They've asked the same question in 14 subsequent polls, and the number either remains steady or goes up. In March '05, it was 57%. In March '07, it was 60%. In April '09, it was 67%. In Aug. '10, it was 70%, and, by then, 59% of Republicans were, for the first time, endorsing legal recognition. Opposition is centered in adults over the age of 40, and heavily concentrated in adults over the age of 65.

    The word "marriage" used to be a word that affected the outcome of the polls, and the only polls that have shown majority opposition to legal recognition for years are those that don't offer "civil unions" as an option. Of the CBS polling, "legal marriage" has been favored, by respondents, over "civil unions" since May '08. The wording thing hasn't been an issue in the polling for nearly a year, though, because a majority now tell every poll they favor "gay marriage." In April, 51% told CNN/Opinion Research that "marriages between same-sex couples should... be recognized by the law as valid, with the same rights as traditional marriages." In July, the same number told the ABC News/Washington Post poll "it should be legal... for gay and lesbian couples to get married."

    What you've identified is a problem of democracy (the political process being slow to reflect public opinion), not an example of it.

    ReplyDelete
  13. Here's an idea, Eddie:
    When Louie Ohlmert (Id, Texas) proposes his amendment to repeal the 17 Amendment and end popular election of Senators, let's respond with a competing amendment, abolishing the Senate altogether. Neither one will get out of the Congress, but I would like to see the look on Louie's face.

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  14. "Polling has shown public support for legal recognition of homosexual relationships for years. "

    That may be (I even said so myself), however we're not talking about public opinion are we? I'm still waiting for the list of states that VOTED to allow gay marriage. I think I may wait for a while because the only way that has happened is for rogue judges to overturn the will of the people. And since the will of the people are what drives every filibuster, well ... nuff said. Nobody, here, is interested in reasons why filibusters happen, there only concern is that they work for democrats and not be allowed to work for republicans. As exampled by classicliberals statements about minorities controlling a democracy. But when asked about a favorite liberal issue he backs down from that stance. I'm sure you only meant as long as everything else (except your favorite issues) are being filibustered. But, should one of your favorite issues become the "very idea of allowing the minority to override the will of the majority simply goes against the idea of Democracy" ... well ... you're all for that. Huh? Is that an example of being a hypocrite?

    "The general direction of the country, for better or worse, is, properly, a matter for the ballot box."

    That was from yours and Eddie's discussion that he referenced to in this article.
    Do you feel that way still .. say, concerning gay marriage? Or are certain issues not allowed to be voted on? The statements you made following that one are even more funny. You whined that republicans brought the nation to a standstill by using the filibuster after Bush was gone, and whined that the democrats couldn't effectively use the filibuster while Bush was in office. So, really what you're saying is the filibuster is no good simply because your side are a bunch of idiots who don't know how to use it? Therefor it doesn't work? Or, at least, shouldn't be allowed to work for the side you don't like?

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  15. "however we're not talking about public opinion are we?"

    This entire discussion really has gone that far over your head, hasn't it? The democratic process is meant to reflect public opinion. And you're insisting that the process isn't yet reflecting it (because many states have banned legal recognition), and that the manifestation of this lack of reflecting it (the bans) is an example of democracy itself, rather than a problem of the democratic process.

    Step-by-step, for the brick-thickest of brick-thick morons:

    The public overwhelmingly supports legal recognition of homosexual couples' relationships. That's the will of the people.

    As of last year, about 40 states ban same-sex unions. There's no reason to get into polling in individual states, here--given the national numbers, it's reasonable to assume that a few of those states have a majority that actually want same-sex unions banned, while it's quite obvious that most of them don't.

    The ban on legal recognition in most of these states is an outcome counter to the will of the people. The democratic process, in these cases, is not reflecting the will of the people.

    Yet you are choosing to hang the label "will of the people" on this failure of the process to reflect the will of the people. The process produces a result we know is counter to the will of the people, and you want to wrap that counter-democratic result in a sacred appeal to democracy.

    "And since the will of the people are what drives every filibuster, well ... nuff said."

    The filibuster is, in almost every case, an instrument to stymie the will of the people, and, in every case, to stymie the democratic process. That's the entire point of it, and why it has become a lightning rod.

    The discussion Eddie and I have been having flew as far over your head as a space shuttle in orbit, and as it would take a book to correct both your misrepresentations of it and your lies from the next few paragraphs, I won't bother. Anyone can read what's been written; no one who reads it with any comprehension will see you as anything other than a huckster or a cretin.

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  16. The difference, classicliberal, is that "polls" aren't the same as "voters". When a same-sex union is put on the ballot in California, I'll vote for it (I would also agree with that wording if I was included in a poll). However, the desire is to demand the word "marriage". I will not vote for that or agree with that in any poll. When you stop playing word games and realize, YES-everyone CAN read what has been written you might recognize you are being hypocritical on that issue. Voting is different than polling. Legal representatives work with voters not pollers.

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  17. Still waiting for ANYONE to provide evidence that "gay marriage' has been approved in ANY state by the VOTERS. Why is this so tough when there are so many of you defending the issue? I'd hate to think the only way liberals can answer this concern is by calling others hateful names. Of course those who use those name-calling antics are the same ones who whine about the use of hate-ful statements by me. Isn't that true, classicliberal2?

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