The NYT’s Gail Collins interrupts her flop-sweat panic over the Massachusetts race to offer this “Special Rant” on the fillibuster and Scott Brown’s promise to be the 41st senator to bring down health-care reform:
There are 100 members of the Senate. But as Brown is currently reminding us, because of the filibuster rule, it takes only 41 to stop any bill from passing.
U.S. population: 307,006,550.
Population for the 20 least-populated states: 31,434,822.
That means that in the Senate, all it takes to stop legislation is one guy plus 40 senators representing 10.2 percent of the country.
People, think about what we went through to elect a new president — a year and a half of campaigning, three dozen debates, $1.6 billion in donations. Then the voters sent a clear, unmistakable message. Which can be totally ignored because of a parliamentary rule that allows the representatives of slightly more than 10 percent of the population to call the shots.
Why isn’t 90 percent of the country marching on the Capitol with teapots and funny hats, waving signs about the filibuster?
I’ve been meaning to write about the copious idiocy and hypocrisy about the Left’s new jihad against the filibuster. I’ll save that for another time. But here’s one reason why “90 percent of the country isn’t marching on the Capitol” to protest the filibuster: Americans like it.
Another reason: Nowhere close to 90 percent of the American people support the Democrats’ health-care bill. If anything, trends are moving in the direction of 90 percent opposing it.
Another reason: Americans are more worried about keeping their jobs or finding one, and marching on Washington doesn’t seem like good way to go about that.