The discussion of the filibuster on the Hagel nomination has seen little mention of why Republicans filibuster. Okay, they filibuster because they are sons of bitches. But that is only one of the reasons, and a reason we can't do anything about.
They filibuster because they can get away with it.
And they can get away with it because we let them.
By "we," I mean progressives in the states, and, particularly, readers of Daily Kos.
You can read a great deal about how horrible the filibuster is on dKos. You can't read much about that in the LTE columns of the papers in the senators' home states. You can't read much about that in the local blogs around their states. If their staffs reported a huge flow of dissatisfaction on these filibusters in local papers, they would think twice about waging them.
And I'm only mentioning direct results of what we could produce. If their readers were discussing the filibusters, the papers would be likelier to take a position on them. And many of the papers would take a position criticizing them.
The citizenry, in general, are disgusted with Washington gridlock. That isn't going to hurt any particular politician until he is tied closely to that gridlock. Last November, Romney tried -- not too successfully -- to blame Obama for the gridlock. Until we tie the particular senator (and the particular representative, but that is another topic for another diary) to particular efforts to keep government from functioning, then it is an argument for Republicans. "Look, we've had 8 years of Democratic administrations, and they haven't got anything through. Democrats don't know how to compromise. I know how to compromise."
If, instead, Senator Kirk has spent the four years being criticized for causing the gridlock in particulars, he is going to beg his presidential candidate to let that topic alone. And his constituents are going to know who is to blame. (I'm only using Kirk as an example. IL is not going to be a swing state in '16. If it is, we're fucked.)
So, if you only have time to do one of two things:
1 Write a diary or a comment about how much Reid stinks because he let the filibuster remain, and
2 Write a LTE about how Senator McCain (or a closer villain) is opposing a Republican ex-senator for the cabinet because he rejected Bush and the Iraq adventure; does Senator McCain want votes from people who reject Bush and the Iraq adventure?
Then write the LTE.