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Maybe I'm alone in this, but I'm sorry it's come to this. The filibuster has been a useful mechanism for slowing down dangerous legislation in the past. The Senate is not a representative body; it is a deliberative body. I'm old enough to remember when Democratic filibusters were the only thing standing between us and a crop of some of the worst judicial nominees imaginable. Heck, so are you. It was only eight years ago.

Unfortunately, the filibuster, like Dad's car keys, is one of those things that only works as long as the people who are using it can be counted on to act responsibly with it. When it became automatic, when every single piece of legislation became subject to a 60-vote minimum and the Washington punditocracy blandly accepted it as though it had always been thus, the filibuster's day were numbered. Nearly 30 percent of all cloture motions ever in the history of the Senate have happened since 2007, when Mitch McConnell became minority leader. No republic can hope to survive in the face of that kind of legislative paralysis.

Personally, I'm glad some remnant of the filibuster remains. I remember what it's like to need it—and I remember what it was like to use it, very selectively, in the knowledge that each filibuster was a big deal and it should only be used in cases of great necessity.

Senate Republicans should be made to understand that, if they can act like adults with what remains of the filibuster, they can keep it. That's in everyone's best interests. If they can't, well, it'll be time to take away more privileges... as it has been with children around the world since the dawn of time.

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Comment Preferences

  •  The filibuster is gone (6+ / 0-)

    Now that the Rubicon has been crossed the complete elimination of the filibuster will happen minutes after the GOP next takes control of the Senate. The Senate will be run like the House. Personally I never though that the GOP would make substantive changes in the filibuster first. There are too many GOP Senators who are conservative about everything in life, including Senate rules. I could be wrong, but we will never know if the GOP would have ever been first.

    If we get a GOP President, Senate, and House in 2016 (seems unlikely but you never know) we will welcome Janice Rogers Brown to the Supreme Court and tax and entitlement changes that are unimaginable. I always counted on the fact that as long as the Dems had at least 40 Senators nothing truly outrageous could pass the Senate. The last line of defense is gone. I think it is a big risk.

    "let's talk about that"

    by VClib on Thu Nov 21, 2013 at 11:47:03 AM PST

    •  I completely disagree (4+ / 0-)

      The GOP has gone off the rails, and they are too far gone to pull back. Even if Reid never did this, if the unlikely were to happen and the GOP wins back everything in D.C., they would end the filibuster. A party this extreme is extreme enough to end it more completely than Reid has done today.

      Time is of no account with great thoughts, which are as fresh to-day as when they first passed through their authors' minds ages ago. - Samuel Smiles

      by moviemeister76 on Thu Nov 21, 2013 at 12:36:09 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  I just don't agree - but will will never know who (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Roger Fox

        was correct. The Democrats crossed the Rubicon first. All bets are off on how the Senate will be run in the future. It will not be the same as the past.

        "let's talk about that"

        by VClib on Thu Nov 21, 2013 at 12:41:06 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  I'm with you on this one (4+ / 0-)

        The Republicans have been playing "constitutional hardball" for years now.

        They'll go as far as they think they can get away with.

        They were threatening to do this back in 2005 and they certainly haven't become more moderate since then.

        If the pilot's good, see, I mean if he's reeeally sharp, he can barrel that baby in so low... oh you oughta see it sometime. It's a sight. A big plane like a '52... varrrooom! Its jet exhaust... frying chickens in the barnyard!

        by Major Kong on Thu Nov 21, 2013 at 03:23:21 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  The Republicans will never act like adults (6+ / 0-)

    so scratch that

    Senate Republicans should be made to understand that, if they can act like adults with what remains of the filibuster, they can keep it.
  •  I still think that (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Praxical

    the filibuster has its uses, but it has to be the old-fashioned sort of filibuster, the talking filibuster, the one that's hard to do.  Let opponents of legislation or nominations stand at the podium and talk until they collapse!  Such a filibuster will serve to delay, and perhaps persuade opponents to the other side.  I think that that was the original intent of the filibuster anyway:  a tactic for delay and persuasion.  If you exhaust yourself in an attempt to counteract what you consider bad legislation, or a bad nominee, and you still haven't persuaded enough minds to bring a majority to your side, then it's time to get out of the way and let the vote happen.  And I think that argument ought to apply to both sides.

    -5.13,-5.64; GOP thinking: A 13 year path to citizenship is too easy, and a 5 minute background check is too burdensome. -- 1audreyrenee

    by gizmo59 on Thu Nov 21, 2013 at 12:11:21 PM PST

  •  With R's chipping away at voter participation (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    AnnieR, jan4insight

    election fund raising by corporation, and gerrymandering shenanigans  we would do well to stay ever vigilant regarding filibuster abuse should they gain majority control. Republicans, like rust, never sleep!

    "Liberals feel unworthy of their possessions. Conservatives feel they deserve everything they've stolen." Mort Sahl

    by maggiemae on Thu Nov 21, 2013 at 12:14:55 PM PST

  •  GOP pre-emptively changed House rules (6+ / 0-)

    ... to prevent the Dems from stopping the shutdown.

    Does anyone really think they wouldn't have changed the Senate rules the moment they had the chance and an agenda they wanted to push?

  •  Now we need a law that says if (0+ / 0-)

    Senators or Representatives don't do their job, we can impeach them.  This is ridiculous that it's come to this.  Reminds me of my kids when they were 2 and 3 and would throw tantrums in order to get what they want.  I can't understand why people still vote for Republicans, other than the fact that they're being lied to by their "news" networks and radio stations.  We should have a law against those kind of lies, too.

    The GOP will destroy anything they can't own.

    by AnnieR on Thu Nov 21, 2013 at 12:18:21 PM PST

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