Fat Steve's Blatherings

Sunday, April 03, 2005

An Interesting Idea, Insufficiently Developed

      Joel Kline's Time column (Hat Tip: RealClearPolitics), says the Democrats are becoming the party of legal procedure, rather than democracy:
This month, Democrats may use procedural tricks to stop all Senate business and block a Republican effort to eliminate minority filibuster rights and jam through seven federal judges proposed by the President. The fight may be winnable, but it is a culture of law cul-de-sac. The Democrats will be shutting down the Senate over a matter of process rather than substance, a pinhead of principle most civilians will find difficult to understand. The Armageddon of confirmation battles—over the next Supreme Court Justice—will probably follow soon after, and it may cement a public impression of the Democrats as a party obsessed with the legal processes that preserve the status quo on issues such as abortion, gay rights and extreme secularism—and little else. The political damage may be considerable.

      He then suggests that citizens should be allowed to vote on things.

      All very well, but it overlooks something.  In the 1930s, FDR faced a situation where the Supreme Court was blocking his measures.  At that point, he could have amended the Constitution to give the federal govt. the power he wanted it to have.    Instead, he chose to pressure the judges into voting his way, regardless.

      At first, this was just to get the judges to allow Congress to pass the laws he wanted.  In the fifties, encouraged liberals started using the courts to get laws they didn't like overturned, and laws they did like established by judicial decree.

      And that wounded the Democrats.  They went from being the party of the people to being the party of the elitists.

      The Democrats trap is that, when you subtract the yellow dog voters, a large part of what's left are 'activists' who won't compromise.  If they propose to let people vote on controversial political issues, the 'activists' will frequently lose, and they'll walk out.  If they don't let people vote on them, the moderates will walk away.

      Frankly, I don't see a way out for the Democratic Party.



Post a Comment

<< Home