Home / At Least The Democrats Are Being Men About Filibusters

At Least The Democrats Are Being Men About Filibusters

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The Democrats have challenged Republicans to actually perform a filibuster in the Senate to delay legislation designed to renege on a deal made earlier about troop levels in Iraq. While they plan to go to the press to trash Bush during the filibuster, they are at least trying to break the filibuster. This stands in stark contrast to how the Republicans handled filibusters just one year ago.

Back then, the Republicans, instead of challenging the filibuster, went to the press and cried. There was never any real attempt to even make the Democrats actually perform a filibuster, they simply complained and sulked away. The second that a few Republicans decided to change the rules to avoid a filibuster, a deal was struck by the "moderate" Senators. Not once, did they actually force a real filibuster and try to break it.

As the Senators gear up for an actual 24 hour debate on Iraq (which will mostly consist of a Senator babbling on the floor to run the clock), comedy and political posturing will ensue. Howard Dean is sending out e-mails demanding an "up-or-down vote" on the Iraq bill, co-opting the language used during the gridlock over judicial nominees. With rumors of a pending Supreme Court retirement looming, it is doubtful this up-or-down rhetoric will extend towards a future nominee to the court. Obstructionism will likely be en vogue again.

At least the Democrats are facing the challenge head-on though. They aren't trying to change the rules to avoid a filibuster, they aren't crying in the press. They are saying if the Republicans want to filibuster, they're going to actually have to do it. Bluff called.

Democrats acknowledge they likely will not win the filibuster fight but they are going to wage it anyway. While I disagree with their principles, at least they fight for them. The Republicans should take notice, a candidate that will fight for his principles will do well in the primary, especially when the desired Republican nominee is currently "none of the above."

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About John Doe

A political activist and security expert.
  • RJ

    Great article. I fully agree.

    When the GOP was in control of the Senate, from January 2003 – January 2007, the Democrats did what they could to obstruct most meaningful legislation. In response to this, the GOP threatened all-night debates, but they didn’t make those threats credible by actually acting on their threats. So the Democrats continued their obstructionist tactics.

    The mainstream media at the time explained that a real filibuster would be cruel to all those aged Senators, and could place their health at risk. Some even claimed it would be “elder abuse” to schedule all-night debates. So, the GOP did not pursue this option, even though it has been a Senate tradition for generations.

    Now, with the Senate in Democrat hands, all those “elder abuse” accusations have disappeared. Instead, it’s being spun as Senate Democrats “flexing their muscles” and such.

    I hope the GOP learns a very valuable lesson here: When you’re in power, USE IT, because you won’t always be in power. And the Dems certainly have no qualms about exploiting the power their one-vote majority gives them…

  • Duplicates deleted. I presume everything’s okay now, Rob?

  • RJ

    Thanks… :-/