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The Accountability Problem

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This is a really crucial point:

Pat Garofalo has more on the policy substance here, noting that about 200,000 jobs could plausibly be lost as a result of the minority’s obstructionism here. And do note that if conditions do worsen many, many, many more Americans will blame Barack Obama for the bad state of things than will blame the Senate minority. The filibuster might not be so pernicious were its impact generally understood by the public, but the intersection of a minority that’s empowered to obstruct and an electorate that holds the majority responsible for policy outcomes is toxic.

The filibuster is indefensible for a whole host of reasons, but this dynamic seems especially difficult to justify. Democratic theory can offer justifications for any number of potentially counter-majoritarian veto points, but it’s hard to imagine circumstances in which it’s a good idea to empower a minority while practically leaving accountability with the majority. The fact that even a lot of progressives retain a sentimental attachment to the filibuster is as baffling as any reality of American politics. It can’t even really be nostalgia — for what, the filibuster of the Civil Rights Act? Even the Capra movie really isn’t that good…

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