Less than a week after being sent back to the Senate after a 10-year absence, 67 year-old former Senator / DC lobbyist / Senator-elect Dan Coats apparently feels that it is critical to launch his new tenure with an assault on the filibuster.
Hmmm... Way to signal to the world that the establishment got it right in convincing you to run, and that you are ready to hit the halls of Congress and fight for limited government, Senator.
In an interview with NPR on November 4, and then again just yesterday on Fox News, Coats suggested that the filibuster should be ended on the "motion to proceed." In other words, he would allow the filibuster on the final vote, but not on the motion to bring the matter to the Senate floor for debate. His reasoning is that "[t]here's just too much need for moving forward with action to address our serious economic situation and a number of other issues to not go forward on that basis."
Really? Right, because what we really need is for it to be easier for the Senate to pass more laws. What more do we need than MORE laws?
This kind of talk is decidedly un-conservative. For those who are attracted to the siren call of a one-day Republican majority bringing "good" legislation to the floor... don't be. There is very little "good" legislation every offered by these clowns and if you believe in limited government, the last thing you want is for the "cooling saucer" that is supposed to be the U.S. Senate to become a microwave oven for fast-tracking legislation.
Senator Coats is a good man by all accounts. And he will vote the right way on a lot of issues. But this kind of thing is a sure sign that his inclination is to "work together" with his Senate colleagues to "get things done." Anytime we hear that kind of rhetoric, we should run away screaming because "getting things done" means 99 times out of 100 that government expands and freedom is lost.
Sure, if we get a majority and miraculously have leaders with the will to boldly cut Washington back - by across the board cuts, eliminating departments, reforming entitlements or any number of options - it will be frustrating to face a filibuster. But we win by taking it to the people. You don't win by empowering government to do more and to do it more often.
To anyone who wants to scale back the filibuster - there is one answer. One. NO. NO. NO. NO. NO.
If you are for filibuster reform, you are not conservative, and you should be primaried and sent home at the next available opportunity - which unfortunately in this case, is not until 2016. But maybe Sen. Coats will wake up and realize that his "idea" is not that novel and is favored more by his liberal colleagues than his Republican ones.