Conservatives and liberals are both mad over the Senate’s mundane filibuster compromise. Liberals wanted the filibuster abolished or severely pared back, and conservatives didn’t want any reforms at all. Of course, the sides are exactly flipped from 2005, when it was Senate Republicans who threatened the “constitutional option.” Both sides are afflicted with short-termist thinking.
Abolishing the filibuster is the long-term desirable thing to do. Gaping holes in the federal judiciary and the arcane monstrosity that is the federal tax code owe their existence to the filibuster and the immense status-quo bias in the U.S. Congress. Sure, bad things would get through if the filibuster were abolished. Obamacare was only enacted because Dems briefly held a filibuster-proof majority in the Senate. But the country is now facing severe problems across the board, from taxation to debt to health care to virtually unsupervised regulatory agencies. We need radical, comprehensive policy surgery, not more insanely complex, achingly tentative, compromise procedures that allow the infections in the national political economy to fester further. Abolish the filibuster and, while we’re at it, the presidential veto (amend the Constitution).