Snowballing Dysfunction

Gleckman worries about the consequences of any surrender to economic and fiscal blackmail:

Just take a look at what’s happened to the Senate in recent years. Once, filibusters were rare exceptions. Now, they are constant. Nearly every bill, no matter how trivial, requires 60 votes for passage in a body that historically required a mere majority.

Similarly, presidential nominations are now routinely blocked for reasons only occasionally having to do with the qualifications of the nominee. Lawmakers have learned that they can take a nominee hostage in order to send an ideological message or convince an administration to change a regulation.

As a result, behavior that was once rare has become as routine as the Senate’s daily prayer. … I fear the same is about to happen with government shutdowns. Once those who would use the shutdown as a useful legislative lever succeed, it will become a tool of choice. True, it couldn’t be used in every circumstance, but there would be enough opportunities to make it the next filibuster.

Which is why the fightback for constitutional governance and political moderation begins now.