Having closed her eyes to the Democratic Party's mounting political problems in her column last Thursday, Gail Collins seems to be panicking in today's column ("The 10 Percent Rules") over the close race in Massachusetts to fill the Senate seat occupied for so long by left-wing Sen. Ted Kennedy. In a long aside, Collins revealed her evidently deep (and conveniently timed) hatred for the filibuster.
If Republican Scott Brown upsets underperforming Democrat Martha Coakley, he would make the 41st Republican, which would enable Senate Republicans to mount a filibuster of Obama's health reform bill.
The campaign has not hit red yet, although, for the Democrats, the whole world has begun to look orange with dark tints. Like a decaying pumpkin. It cannot be a good sign when the Massachusetts secretary of state has to deny rumors that he plans to stall certification of the election results until after the health care bill is passed.
Of course, it's all about the health care bill. "As the 41st senator, I can stop it," Scott Brown, the Republican nominee, says frequently.
Collins interrupted herself with a "Special Rant" section against the filibuster, plus an extraneous insult of tea party protesters.
There are 100 members of the Senate. But as Brown is currently reminding us, because of the filibuster rule, it takes only 41 to stop any bill from passing.
U.S. population: 307,006,550.
Population for the 20 least-populated states: 31,434,822.
That means that in the Senate, all it takes to stop legislation is one guy plus 40 senators representing 10.2 percent of the country.
People, think about what we went through to elect a new president - a year and a half of campaigning, three dozen debates, $1.6 billion in donations. Then the voters sent a clear, unmistakable message. Which can be totally ignored because of a parliamentary rule that allows the representatives of slightly more than 10 percent of the population to call the shots.
Why isn't 90 percent of the country marching on the Capitol with teapots and funny hats, waving signs about the filibuster?
Maybe because Obama-care is quite unpopular, as shown by Republiacn Scott Brown's surprisingly strong showing in Massachusetts.