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On McLaughlin Group this week, within the span of a minute or two, two gross misinterpretations were offered by liberals, and no serious correction was offered. So I'll offer them now.

First, they showed a clip of Senator Kennedy saying, if the 'nuclear option' passes, "the Senate majority will always be able to get its way, and the Senate our Founders created will no longer exist."

When asked by the moderator if the Democrats would defend the right to filibuster if they were in control, Bill Press followed up saying, "Democrats were in charge for over 40 years, they did not get rid of the filibuster."

The problem is, Senator Kennedy 10 years ago voted for a bill abolishing the filibuster (for, in his own words today, abolishing "the Senate our Founders created"), because, in the words of the bill's sponsor, "the filibuster is nothing short of legislative piracy." Yes, they did not get rid of it, but Kennedy -- the one who sparked this discussion -- tried to.

And, of course, as noted in my last journal entry, this slippery slope claim (limiting the filibuster in one way constitutes a destruction of the filibuster) is baseless anyway.

Then, Eleanor Clift defended the filibuster, saying, "if under the current rules we got a Clarence Thomas and we got an Antonin Scalia, what are we gonna get if we don't have to get 60 votes? Sixty votes force some sort of consensus."

The problem is, Thomas didn't get 60 votes, he got 52. The rules that Thomas got confirmed under are the same rules as the ones the Republicans want now. (In contrast, Scalia would have been confirmed under any set of rules, since he was confirmed 98-0, but this was pre-Bork.)

This also brings me to something else that's been in my craw about all this: the idea that there is some Constitutional right, or even intent, to provide a partisan balance in the Senate is nonsense. You hear this all the time from the Democrats, and it is incorrect. The Constitution couldn't care less about one party controlling the Senate. It cares about the Senate representing the wills of the respective states, not of parties.

Similarly, the purpose of unlimited debate in the Senate was never to allow a minority to prevent the Senate from acting, but to ensure that bills were not passed without everyone getting to say what they thought needed to be said. This purpose was exploited decades later to prevent the Senate from taking action. To imply that the filibuster -- the ability of a minority to prevent the Senate from acting through exploitation of a procedural side-effect -- is integral to the intent of the Founders is simply incorrect.

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<pudge/*> (pronounced "PudgeGlob") is thousands of posts over many years by Pudge.

"It is the common fate of the indolent to see their rights become a prey to the active. The condition upon which God hath given liberty to man is eternal vigilance; which condition if he break, servitude is at once the consequence of his crime and the punishment of his guilt."

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