Monday, May 23, 2005

Special Interests Sink Millions into Filibuster Fight

What exactly are the interests of special interest groups involved in the filibuster fight? It certainly isn't rationale action. As a USA Today story illustrates, special interests on the left and right are working overtime to sink any chance of compromise on the filibuster fight. This effort includes massive "grassroots" campaigns and millions spent on advertising.

Why? Because they see the appointment or rejection of judges as vital to their interests, even though there is no real way to know what cases will come before these judges or exactly how they'll rule on any specific case. In terms of making a wise investment, this a bit like going to the roulette table and putting your savings on red.

Wouldn’t these groups be better off spending their money fighting actual issues like social security reform or criminal justice laws or even zoning regulations in their home towns?

And yet the conservative group Progress for America has spent $2.5 million on fighting against the filibuster. While the liberal group People for the American Way has spent $5 million trying to preserve the filibuster. These groups certainly have every right to spend their donors’ money as they see fit. But if I were a member of these groups, I’d really have to question what, in the end, all this money and time and energy is going to net me.

Is $5 million worth it for the possibility that a future court ruling might be somewhat more favorable to your cause? Would a compromise that preserves the integrity of the Senate really be all that detrimental to these groups?

It’s truly amazing that this fight could elicit such partisan furor. What a clear commentary on the state of American politics today.


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