In the news the week: Senate Majority Leader Democrat Harry Reid said publicly that he will lead the Democrats to reform the filibuster if the Democrats hold on to a simple majority in the Senate. If you haven't been following, a filibuster is a procedural move in the Senate that any Senator can use to tie up legislation and force a 60-vote supermajority to give the Senate permission to vote on the actual legislation. In effect, it can create a 60-vote supermajority requirement to pass bills, and over the past decade, the filibuster is being used more and more.
Senate Minority Leader Republican Mitch McConnell is publicly troubled about what Senator Reid said, but I suspect McConnell has been thinking the same thoughts while hoping that the Republicans take over the Senate in the November elections.
So, let's imagine for a moment that Mitt Romney defeats President Obama in November, that the Republicans retain hold of the House, and that we end up with 51 Republican Senators, a simple majority. When you consider where the current Republican party is when it comes to the role of government, regulations, taxes, etc., would they be truly willing to use their power to repeal the 20th century? When I am being a paranoid moderate Democrat, this is what I worry about:
Looking forward to the inauguration of Pres. Romney in late January, the Republicans take what they have learned from the work of Midwestern governors and legislatures and get to work:
Step 1: GOP Senators eliminate the filibuster and other minority rights in the Senate.
Step 2: The House and Senate decide to load up their wish lists and pass the Repeal the 20th Century Act. This will be one bill that does all of the following: repeals Obamacare, Medicare, Social Security, welfare, the Voting Rights Acts, the Clean Air Act, the Civil Rights Acts, the Americans With Disabilities Acts, environmental protection laws, union rights, and everything else they don't like in the Federal Code.
Step 3: The House and Senate pass the "Federal Revenue Act", eliminating the Income Tax, and instituting a payroll tax to the pay for the military and whatever else is left of the Federal government.
Step 4: The House and Senate pass the "Abortion is Illegal Act", making abortion illegal in the United States, no matter what Roe vs. Wade says.
Step 5: The House and Senate pass the "Emergency Manager Act", modeled after the Michigan law, allowing the President to temporarily replace governors in states with budget deficits, such as California.
Step 6: Newly sworn-in President Romney signs all of these bills, starts a war with Iran, and then goes on vacation.
This sounds crazy, but I am certain my current congressman, Rep. Justin Amash (R-MI), would vote for all these without a sweat. Then he would ask for a vote on his Business Cycle Balanced Budget Amendment (which is the best BBA proposal I've ever seen).