There has been a lot of media attention and discussion on The Daily Kos about Senator Rand Paul's filibuster. And whether you agree or disagree with his filibuster, or whether you think that his motives are genuine or not, one thing is clear, Senator Paul's filibuster demonstrated the need to reform the Senate rules to require talking filibusters.
This week Senator Paul stood on the floor of the U.S. Senate and talked and talked about the use of drones. And the media paid attention. And people were talking about it. And in response to Senator Paul's filibuster and the media coverage of it, the White House felt obligated to respond to the concerns raised by Senator Paul. And because of the filibuster of Senator Paul, we now have a "no" statement from the White House on the use of drones in the U.S.
But this is not the most important thing about what Senator Paul did.
Senator Paul sat down.
After talking for many hours, Senator Paul yielded the floor and a vote took place on Brennan's nomination. And Brennan was confirmed by a majority of the Senate.
This is the beauty of the talking filibuster. Important issues can be raised on the floor of the U.S. Senate during the filibuster, and these issues can be debated in the U.S. Senate and by the citizens of this country. But ultimately most talking filibusters will end. And then U.S. Senate is free to continue its business. And then in most cases there will be a vote on the legislation. And if a majority of the Senate votes in favor of the bill, and the bill passes the House and is signed by the President, the bill will become law. And it will become law by passing the Senate by a simply majority, rather than the "60 vote requirement" we have now.
Whatever your view is of Senator Paul and whatever you think his motives are, Senator Paul should be commended for using a talking filibuster rather than trying to hold up the nomination by threatening to filibuster as is the custom of the modern Republican Party. And he should be commended for allowing the vote to proceed after his objections were heard.
I can only hope that more Republicans will follow Senator Paul's example and engage in talking filibusters regardless of whether they are required by the Senate rules.
But I suspect that this won't happen because the modern Republican Party is more interested in obstruction than making sure that their positions are heard by the American People.
And it is for this reason that I think that the Senate needs real filibuster reform by requiring talking filibusters like the one used by Senator Paul this week.