Apparently E.J. Dionne is not content with all the love we’ve sent his way here the last couple of days, and so today’s he’s descended to primal scream liberalism. In today’s column Dionne stamps his feet and demands, “This has to stop.” What has to stop? The permanent budget crisis, that’s what. But to repeat something said yesterday: I thought liberals liked crisis, because, pace the Crisis and Leviathan thesis, crises enable the increase of government power. Rahm Emanuel sure picked a rotten time to go AWOL.
Here’s E.J. in fully caffeinated mode:
Here is a way out of permanent crisis: President Obama should demand the repeal of all artificial deadlines and tell both houses of Congress that he won’t make further proposals until each actually passes a replacement to the sequester — not a gimmick or something that looks like an alternative, but the real thing.
Here’s another way out of the permanent crisis E.J.: Have Obama actually submit a budget proposal by the statutory deadline (which Obama didn’t do this year); and have the Democratic Senate actually cast a vote on a budget (1,400 days and counting since the last Senate budget was passed). Forget “artificial” deadlines: neither Obama nor the Democratic Senate seem interested in observing the real deadlines of our budget statutes.
Oh, and about that Senate thing, E.J. writes:
In the Senate, ditch the unconstitutional abuse of the filibuster and let a plan pass by simple-majority vote. Misuse of the filibuster is a central cause of Washington’s contorted policymaking. Let’s end the permanent budget crisis by governing ourselves though the majorities that every sane democracy uses.
I guess E.J. doesn’t really follow how things work any more. Budgets are excepted from the filibuster, and can be passed by a simple majority. The filibuster can only be used when the Senate, as it has under Harry Reid, refuses to vote on a real budget and resorts to continuing resolutions to keep the government spending. The fact that Reid refuses to bring a formal budget proposal for a vote, even with a comfortable majority, tells you a lot. Clearly Reid is terrified of having his red state members have to cast budget votes, and is even more terrified of going to a conference committee with the House to hammer out a real budget deal.
And one more thing: do they still have editors and fact-checkers at the Post? Go back to that phrase, “ditch the unconstitutional abuse of the filibuster.” If E.J. were a student in any of my courses on constitutionalism, he’d get an “F” for that statement. There is nothing unconstitutional about the filibuster. Article I, Section 5 is written so clearly that even a liberal can understand it: “Each House may determine the Rules of its Proceedings.” But like most liberals today I doubt E.J. has bothered to read or ponder the Constitution for quite a while, except to deplore it and wish we could junk it, like Prof. Seidman (who, by the way, has zero chance of making the Power Line 100.)