Wednesday, January 20, 2010

"Forty-one! Forty-one!"

This was the victory chant at Scott Brown's rally last night. How completely absurd: (1) that the revelers were so giddy at their party's strengthened ability, still as the opposition minority, to prevent anything from getting done; and (2) the idea that this is the magic number in modern day Washington. 41 No votes out of 100, in the most dubiously democratic assembly in the developed world.

Mark Schmitt argues that a 59-vote Democratic caucus will be an improvement.

Sixty votes not only put Lieberman and Nelson in charge, it meant that every little twist and turn in political life became the difference between total policy deadlock and historically breathtaking progress. A butterfly flaps its wings in Uruguay, and health reform survives or dies. Just as a few hundred votes in Minnesota created the 60-vote majority, a bizarrely incompetent candidate in Massachusetts took it away, but if it had not been that, it would have been something else.

Certainly the main lesson I've gotten from the health care reform debate is the need to reform the Senate and do away with the supermajority.

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