The Magazine

Reid It and Weep

Jul 29, 2013, Vol. 18, No. 43 • By CHRISTOPHER CALDWELL
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Much as Democrats need to be reminded (regarding the filibuster) that they will not be in the majority forever, they also need to be reminded (regarding the CFPB) that there is no magical affinity between monetary policy and consumer finance that would make this innovation self-limiting. Once we clear the path to regulatory vigilantism (to use one of the less popular synonyms for “independence”), there is no principled constitutional reason why you can’t insulate from congressional oversight a Department for the Protection of Second Amendment Rights, say, or an Ombudsman for the Life of the Unborn Child.

It may seem unfair that the Senate minority, like a drunkard’s wife, should have to pay with real concessions to keep the majority from wreaking damage on the abode that both share. But that is the thing about majorities and minorities. The 2005 negotiations over the “nuclear option” ended similarly, with Republicans getting their court nominees and Democrats promising to use the filibuster only under “extraordinary circumstances.” Majorities, though, should be careful of what they wish for. By November 2006, just a year and a half after driving Democrats to the wall, Senate Republicans had been driven out of power.

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