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If It’s Republican, It Can’t Be a F*********

July 17th, 2007

I have commented before on the hypocrisy of Republicans on the filibuster and the reticence of the media to call it that. In short, while Republicans called the filibuster “unconstitutional” and railed at Democrats even considering its use, ever since they lost their majority, they have used it incessantly, time and time again to block as much Democratic legislation as possible. The Democrats have not returned this hypocrisy by blasting the procedure itself; they still support the process, but in a show of consistency blast the intent to obstruct meaningful and popular legislation.

Meanwhile, the media, which previously went to extremes to announce filibusters by Democrats, now go to similar extremes of linguistic contortionism to avoid saying that Republicans are filibustering. Josh Marshall calls out yet another example of this by Reuters, in which they actually succeed in making Republican obstructionism to block the will of the American people sound almost virtuous:

Democrats have all but publicly acknowledged that they will be unable to pass their end-the-war amendment because opposition Republicans are insisting on 60 votes for a victory.

I mean, seriously, how could you make this sound better for Republicans and worse for Democrats without sounding like Fox News? The fact that it’s not overtly anti-Democratic makes it worse, giving the impression of impartiality to a clearly biased piece of writing.

All that notwithstanding, the Democratic majority is finally making a smart move: they are forcing the Republicans to carry out the filibuster for real. Filibusters have almost always been granted without the actual process taking place; a vote against cloture is usually not followed by more debate, but is in itself enough to simply close down the whole bill so the Senate can go on to other business. None of this Jefferson Smith speaking-till-you’re-hoarse romanticism.

You see, 40 votes are not enough to kill the bill–instead, it’s enough to continue debate. Up until now, it has simply been assumed that the filibuster would be carried out and so the other side relents and gives up. However, this time, Democrats will not shut down debate after cloture fails; they will run it into the night, forcing Republicans to actually filibuster the bill, or allow the vote to happen.

If you ask me, however, the plan is not ambitious enough. From what I can tell, it’s just one all-nighter. The Democrats should force the Republicans to go 24/7 for as long as it takes. If the Republicans want to stand on the floor around the clock for a week or two so that a bill that a majority of Congress, as well as a majority of the American people approve of cannot get to a final vote, then let them. It would be far more than “theatrics” or a “stunt,” it would be an unmistakable spotlight on both Republican obstructionism (which is already far, far, far in excess of anything the Democrats ever even dreamed of) and the fact that Republicans are solidly against the will of the American people.

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  1. Alex Man
    July 18th, 2007 at 13:25 | #1

    I was searcing for “Apple+battery” and I ran into your August 2006 blog. I was “surveilling” yor blog for quite a while and each time I realized you actually speak my mind. It is scarry how you put in words exactly my thoughts about many subject: politics , religion, Apple, iPod, Windows.
    I am too lazy to write as much as you do; in summary: I am chemical engineer, in my 50s, living in US since 1995 (Romanian), atheist, classical music listener, using an MacBook Pro (all family members use Apple).
    Agreeing with you would be redundant; therefore I stop here.

    All my consideration for your work!


  2. Luis
    July 18th, 2007 at 23:57 | #2

    Alex: thanks! Always good to hear from another reader!

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