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White House moves to make the filibuster a campaign issue



The Senate -- and filibusters in particular -- are the focus of a new White House campaign.

Over the past week, President Obama and his senior aides have repeatedly cited Republicans' filibuster threats as the primary reason for the lack of progress on big ticket legislative items, an early sign that Democrats will seek to use this bit of legislative arcana against the GOP in the coming midterm election.

At a meeting -- televised, natch -- with Senate Democrats last week, Obama harped on the GOP's willingness to invoke the filibuster, noting that Democrats had taken more cloture votes to end debate and force votes in 2009 than they did in the 1950s and 1960s combined.

Added Obama:

"We've had scores of pieces of legislation in which there was a filibuster, cloture had to be invoked, and then ended up passing 90 to 10, or 80 to 15. And what that indicates is a degree to which we're just trying to gum up the works instead of getting business done."

Later in the week, White House communications director Dan Pfeiffer penned a blog post on the evils of the filibuster, reciting -- almost word for word at times -- the argument Obama had made to his former colleagues.

"Historically, the filibuster has been used as a way to try and reach a bipartisan compromise, now it's just a tactic used to gum up the works," wrote Pfeiffer. "This has prevented an honest debate from taking place, which has made it impossible to find agreement on important legislation that would benefit working families in this country."

(Pfeiffer took to the blog again a day later with a post using the news that Alabama Sen. Richard Shelby (R) had placed a blanket hold on more than 70 Obama nominees in an attempt to wring some home-state concessions from the Administrationas part of the broader narrative that Republicans are using parliamentary procedures for the sole purpose of scoring political points.)

The filibuster itself, however, is not exactly a frontburner issue for most establishment Democrats. As the Post's Paul Kane notes in his story today on the filibuster -- its history and its future -- Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (Nev.) has not even scheduled any debate time on the idea of changing the filibuster rules.

From a political perspective, a filibuster focus seems like a non-starter as well. Most Americans don't know -- and don't care -- about the many procedures that guide the Senate (or even how a bill becomes a law).

A CNN/Opinion Research Corporation poll conducted in late November 2009 explained that "the filibuster is a Senate procedure which has been used to prevent the Senate from passing controversial legislation or confirming controversial appointments by the President, even if a majority of senators support that action" and asked the sample whether they supported or opposed it. Fifty six percent of the sample favored the filibuster while 39 percent opposed it -- an increase in support from a May 2005 CNN survey where 52 percent favored the filibuster and 30 percent opposed it.

Why then has the White House decided to focus on the filibuster?

There are two basic theories.

The first is that the White House believes that the filibuster can be used as symbolic image for why the government (still) isn't working and why it's Republicans fault.

"In the Senate, the filibuster only works if there is a genuine spirit of compromise and trying to solve problems, as opposed to just shutting the place down," Obama told Senate Democrats last week. "If it's just shutting the place down, then it's not going to work."

The White House recognizes the deep distrust of Washington coursing through the electorate, reflected most prominently in the defeat of the establishment Democratic candidate in last month's Massachusetts special election.

Given that Democrats control all levers of power in Washington, the White House needs to win the battle over who is working to maintain the status quo on Capitol Hill since the default position will be that it is their fault that more change hasn't come.

If the filibuster can be part of this larger argument over who broke government and who is trying to fix it, it has the potential to be effective. Shelby's blanket hold then is rightly regarded as a major gift to the White House as they try to make this case.

The second theory on the focus on the filibuster is that it is a play to energize what has been, of late, a very listless Democratic base.

Few issues animate loyal Democrats like the idea that major pieces of legislation on things like health care and climate change -- among others -- can't be passed through a Senate where their party controls 18 more seats than do Republicans. (Comedy Central's Jon Stewart dedicated an entire segment to the 59-seat problem.)

By making the filibuster a political issue, the White House may be hoping to turn the base's anger at the way things are being done in Washington away from an inward focus on the party's unwillingness to change the rules and toward Republicans for their legislative blocking.

Midterm elections tend to be a battle of base turnout. And, poll after poll shows a significant intensity gap between the Republican base, which is as passionate as it has been since at least 2000, and the Democratic base, which is far less energized at the moment.

The filibuster focus is an interesting gambit from a White House that made its name during the 2008 campaign for being one step ahead of the rest of the political world. Could they have outsmarted all of us again? Or is a focus on parliamentary maneuvering far too small bore to move the needle?

By Chris Cillizza  |  February 8, 2010; 10:47 AM ET
Categories:  Senate , White House  
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Comments

Whenever I hope there may be somewhere a well informed and articulate conservative to bring up really important points, multiple commenters like "Obama_TRAITOR_in_Chief" pop up with more insulting, juvenile, semi-literate nonsense.
Let these tin hit-wearing tea partiers be the voice of the GOP, since the GOP won't disown them.

Posted by: tmginnova | February 10, 2010 1:57 PM | Report abuse

"Over the past week, President Obama and his senior aides have repeatedly cited Republicans' filibuster threats as the primary reason for the lack of progress on big ticket legislative items, an early sign that Democrats will seek to use this bit of legislative arcana against the GOP in the coming midterm election."

_________________________________________

What dishonest Chicago thugs. They just refuse to tell the truth!

Posted by: Obama_TRAITOR_in_Chief | February 9, 2010 11:13 PM | Report abuse

The suggestion that the Democrats actually make the Republicans follow through on their filibuster threats might be the only strategy on this issue that will work for the Democrats. I doubt the Dems could get enough votes to eliminate the filibuster altogether; plenty of them, I'm sure, realize that would be a short-sighted solution, as they won't be the majority party forever. And besides, plenty of them enjoyed filibustering President Bush a time or 12.

Anyway, Chris's post doesn't seem to suggest that President Obama or the Democrats as a whole want to do away with the filibuster. The line of thinking, I suppose, would be that they're not against using it, they're against abusing it, and they want to paint the picture that the Republicans are abusing the filibuster by using it to block things for no reason other than wanting to make the Democrats look bad.

The majority of voters, as Chris noted in a much more diplomatic way, are too dumb to really understand what the filibuster is, how it works or what it's being used to block. So they're not going to listen if the White House says, "Hey look, these jerkfaces are blocking everything with this thing called a filibuster, and I know you don't know what it means but take our word for it when we say it should make you very, very angry." Heck, the Republicans basically used that same line when the Democrats were using the filibuster against them back during Bush's term, and it can't have done them much good, as the Democrats are in the majority now. Forcing things to actually go to a filibuster -- so voters will actually be able to see the obstruction the Democrats claim the Republicans are committing -- might help.

Posted by: GJonahJameson | February 9, 2010 11:14 AM | Report abuse

Both parties live for power, therefore the filibuster is good, it stagnates the beast.

True capitalism has been shanghaied by Goldman Sachs and the Marxist White House.

Obama wants 'comrads', Goldman Sachs wants 'serfs'. The people have just a little time to get into their lifeboats.

Posted by: givenallthings | February 8, 2010 10:40 PM | Report abuse

"Over the past week, President Obama and his senior aides have repeatedly cited Republicans' filibuster threats as the primary reason for the lack of progress on big ticket legislative items, an early sign that Democrats will seek to use this bit of legislative arcana against the GOP in the coming midterm election."

_________________________________________

What dishonest Chicago thugs. They just refuse to tell the truth!

Posted by: Obama_TRAITOR_in_Chief | February 8, 2010 9:25 PM | Report abuse

Filibuster? Constitution?

Where do you ninnies get this crap?

Posted by: Noacoler | February 8, 2010 8:35 PM | Report abuse

The meeting at the Blair House will be historic, even bigger than the Beer Summit in the Rose Garden.
No finger wagging allowed.
Will there was the gotcha cam in the State of the Union performance? I wonder if the Speaker's director will be running this.

Posted by: RayOne | February 8, 2010 8:35 PM | Report abuse

The American people will not allow Obama, et al, crush the 'Constitutional Privilege' of the FILIBUSTER from our congressional and senatorial rules and regulations. This president and the progressive-possessive Democrats want it all, and I mean ALL. They want total control of every individual person in this country and their personal freedoms, this is the prize that these greedy dogs for people are after. They will not win, not now, not ever.

Posted by: prossers7 | February 8, 2010 7:32 PM | Report abuse

More ways the average guy gets manipulated. How do the firm's analysts get the word out to the public to buy xyz stock? Well, Wall Street firms with large retail business (meaning you and me type of full service accounts) have a telephone conference call every morning. All the brokers listen to what the analysts are touting. Then the brokers get on the phones and start dialing up all their clients, pushing xyz company. All at the same time, so that most clients are buying at higher prices. Of course, the brokers use the higher price to "hook" the client that he better buy now because "look at the price today". Little does he know that next week, the price will be right back down.

Of course, while the broker has you on the phone, he'll of course encourage you to sell some stock. There's a couple reasons for this, not the least of which is that now the broker is making two commissions instead of one. Now, it won't matter that the stock you are selling is the same one the broker called you to buy six months ago. You probably won't even connect the dots on that one.

Posted by: 12BarBlues | February 8, 2010 6:33 PM | Report abuse

More ways Wall Street firms manipulate the individual investor. Analysts who make individual stock recommendations to you and me. Guess who they work for? The same firms who, in their investment banking divisions, are doing deals to raise more money for the same companies.

This is how it works:

the investment guys say to the analysts "recommend the xyz company's stock, get the price up, then we'll be able to get the client a better deal on his secondary offering or debt offering". Cozy, huh?

Ever wonder why stock prices go down after a secondary offering or debt offering? Happens all the time.

Posted by: 12BarBlues | February 8, 2010 6:15 PM | Report abuse

Dear Sirs,
Remember the confrontation between President Andrew Jackson and banker Nicholas Biddle?
Which one was an American patriot?
Clifford Spencer

Posted by: yankeefan1925 | February 8, 2010 6:13 PM | Report abuse

I can describe ways Wall Street extracts money from the investor that don't show up on ANY line anywhere and you don't even know it happened. Try, for an example, the 1/8 point spreads on buy/sell prices in the NASD market for years, that ultimately resulted in a huge class action suit, and the Wall Street market makers had to pay back. And the poor schmucks (including me) never had a clue how a little pinch here and a little pinch there added up.

Posted by: 12BarBlues | February 8, 2010 6:05 PM | Report abuse

I think this is funny. Wall St. has nothing on government as a pick pocket. Total up the taxes and fees, hidden and not hidden, levied by multiple levels of government. Tax witholding with a "touch so light that nobody feels it".

==

more quantum leakage from the alternate Bizarro Universe.

Funniest part of all... I bet you yammer on and on about how you know your own self-interest better than any "bureacrat."

Stick to creative name-calling, tyke

Posted by: Noacoler | February 8, 2010 5:59 PM | Report abuse

leapin,

You are defending Wall Street's methods? You must be kidding.

Posted by: 12BarBlues | February 8, 2010 5:57 PM | Report abuse

Obama is up to 47% disapproval in a new Marist poll - another 3% and he is TOAST - the point of no-return.

.

Posted by: 37thand0street | February 8, 2010 5:55 PM | Report abuse

Most of human history has been a time of a very few extremely wealthy landowners with everyone else extremely poor. The last few centuries in the West have been an exception to that, an exception that those who call themselves conservative are determined to see ended.

Posted by: Noacoler | February 8, 2010 5:15 PM
---------------------------------
Do you really think that the average conservative, not wealthy, really understands the implications of a lot of these conservative policies? I can't believe a working class person would knowingly vote for policies that work to undermine jobs and salaries for the middle class, all to hand it over to guys making hundreds of millions a year.

Posted by: 12BarBlues | February 8, 2010 5:55 PM | Report abuse

Anyone who thinks the government is out to pick your pocket hasn't much experience with Wall Street's sophisticated methods to separate you from your money. And, most of the time, their touch is so light you won't even feel it.

What do you think?

Posted by: 12BarBlues
------------------------------------------
I think this is funny. Wall St. has nothing on government as a pick pocket. Total up the taxes and fees, hidden and not hidden, levied by multiple levels of government. Tax witholding with a "touch so light that nobody feels it".

Posted by: leapin | February 8, 2010 5:47 PM | Report abuse

@Noacoler,

Most of my retirement is tied up in the stock market, then real estate and the smallest portion is Social Security. It wouldn't hurt me personally to see SS privatized, in fact I would ride the bubble up and then start taking money off the stock market table as demand slows. But I do feel sorry for the average American who will not be as skeptical of Wall Street "advice" as they should. Anyone who thinks the government is out to pick your pocket hasn't much experience with Wall Street's sophisticated methods to separate you from your money. And, most of the time, their touch is so light you won't even feel it.

What do you think?

Posted by: 12BarBlues | February 8, 2010 5:29 PM | Report abuse

Since Democrats were happy to use the filibuster when GWB was president, and since they are quite likely to lose a lot of seats in the Senate in 2010, 2012, and 2014, are they really sure they want to get rid of the filibuster now?

For much of 2009 the Democrats had their 60-vote majority. And even today it would not take much compromising to get 60 or even 70 votes for reasonable proposals. It is only when the legislation is unreasonable, when it makes little or no sense, that it can garner only a simple majority of Democrats.

Posted by: JBaustian | February 8, 2010 5:15 PM | Report abuse

George Bush pushed SS privatization for two reasons
 
(1)     the one I mentioned; the SS fund is out of reach of the investor caste of which Bush is a member and whose interests are the only interests he cares about
(2)     he was ideologically opposed to any kind of redistribution on principle but most particularly against any that goes counter to the concentration of wealth in the hands of a few
 
Most of human history has been a time of a very few extremely wealthy landowners with everyone else extremely poor.  The last few centuries in the West have been an exception to that, an exception that those who call themselves conservative are determined to see ended.

Posted by: Noacoler | February 8, 2010 5:15 PM | Report abuse

More about SS privatization. I'd like to know why the US stock market won't have another tremendous blow off bubble when all this new SS money starts coming into the market.

The stock market's movements can be easily understood as supply and demand. When demand soars, and supply remains steady, guess what happens. Prices of stocks soar.

I feel sorry for the poor schmucks who will be buying stocks at higher and higher prices, feeling like geniuses, until...suddenly...the demand will level off.

Then, you know what happens next...prices drop like a rock. Then, everyone who traded in a guaranteed benefit plan for a guaranteed contribution plan will understand the difference.

Posted by: 12BarBlues | February 8, 2010 5:14 PM | Report abuse

SS privatization? Do I detect the hand of Wall Street in this idea? Now that the Wall Street firms used taxpayer money to pull them away from the brink they, themselves, created, their next GREAT idea: let's see if we can get ALL of the taxpayers retirement money? Let's not let the government compete with us to provide retirement funds.

Now, I'm an investor myself, but I realize that the equity market is a rigged game. I have money in the stock market, but not all my money. I diversify by using different approaches to making money.

Now, Wall Street wants the average American to use only one approach:

give Wall Street all your money,

Wall Street will tell you what to buy,

the Wall Street broker will make money,

the Wall Street firm will make money,

the investor? Maybe.

It's a pretty sad day when we are comparing the credibility of our government against the credibility of Wall Street.

Posted by: 12BarBlues | February 8, 2010 5:01 PM | Report abuse

They will all meet together at the Blair House and make history.
And, we have been promised a view by camera.

Posted by: RayOne | February 8, 2010 4:50 PM | Report abuse

SS privatization is an awesomely bad idea and the only "problem" it would solve is that the investor caste can't get its thieving hands of all that money.

If SS had been privatized before 11/08 then seniors all over America would be dying in the streets

Posted by: Noacoler | February 8, 2010 4:37 PM | Report abuse

Representative John Murtha (D) from Pennsylvania has died.

My condolences go out to his immediate family whom I am sure will feel his loss greatly. Despite our vast political differences he was still someones husband, father, grandfather and will certainly be missed by all of them.


Having said that he is amongst those who represent us as elected legislators who have made a mockery of the system and brought the public's opinion of their office and service to a historic low. I know that politicians in this country have increasingly been deminished by their very own actions over the past 50 years, but this last generation of lawmakers have all but destroyed the average Americans faith in a system that has served us brilliantly for more then 200 years.

Posted by: Sproing | February 8, 2010 4:31 PM | Report abuse

As long as there is a Democratic President in the White House and/or a Democratic majority in either branch of the Congress there will be no "privatization" of Social Security. President Bush floated the idea for debate to try and get us moving in a direction that might fix this problem but was rapidly shot down by the Dems. I predict that the only way it will ever happen is for their to be a complete reversal of the present power in Washington with a Republican in the WH and majorities in both houses of Congress.

The Dems will wait until the last possible minute and the we ALL will have to swallow a bitter pill of higher SS taxes, higher income taxes, much lower benefits, and much older age before a retiree can actually become a retiree. We will be looking at a combination of all three and we'll be looking at them before another decade passes.

Posted by: Sproing | February 8, 2010 4:23 PM | Report abuse

Like we're going to forget that they had a "filibuster-proof" majority in the Senate and 40 more votes than they needed in the House?

Like the majority of the people didn't want Obamacare stopped dead in its tracks?

Gimme a break!

Posted by: CincinnatiRIck | February 8, 2010 4:19 PM | Report abuse

This is such a typical ploy that's used by the left everytime some rule (many of which they enacted or pushed hard for)gets in their way they want to make a major change or big issue out of it.

Not one since Obama took office has the Republican party even held enough seats to pull off a filibuster, let alone threaten one. This is another read herring being drug across the politcal playing field to try to cover for the failure of the President to get enough support from the members of his own party to get an effective and affordable plan on his desk.

For the better part of a year they have wasted valuable time while Obama waited for Pelosi and Reid's pathetic stimulus bill to help attack the real problem...American jobs. Now he wants to blame that failure on an old archane Senate rule that has served both sides well over the years. The last time this rule was abused was when the Democrats did not hold even a 51 seat majority and the only way they could stop Republican legislation from getting passed was to filibuster. It got so bad that John McCain and the Gang of 14 (I think that's what they were called) called on both sides to cut it out or they would (The 14) put a monkey wrench in both their sides. Not exactly like that but close enough for government work.

If he could figure out how to do this Obama would probably bring up a re-write of the Constitution by one of his 'czars' and a committee behoind closed doors. I'm not kidding.

The more I watch what Obama attempts to do, what he has said over the years, and the people with which he has surrounded himself with over his lifetime, the more I'm convinced that we have been taken in by the slickest campaign in history and have elected a leftist ideologue to the most powerful position in this country. The sooner we can box him in until the next election cycle the better off America will be.

Consider this. He doesn't even care if he takes his own political party down to electoral defeat as long as he can get his name in the history books. Well he may just do that but it won't be for what he thinks as I'm betting that he will displace Jimmy Carter as the worst President over the past 100+ years.

Posted by: Sproing | February 8, 2010 4:08 PM | Report abuse

What idiotic revisionist twaddle. This quasi-religion of “the marketplace” is an invention of the late 20th century and was not a feature of any previous time in American history.

Anyone who believes in “the marketplace” belongs where drivl posts from.

Posted by: Noacoler | February 8, 2010 2:53 PM
===============

Actually, its roots go back to Socrates. While not wanting to presume, I believe it would be something of a surprise to him to know that he pulled this off in the late 20th Century, over 2,000 years after he died.

P.S. I don't like the way you lead your life, either.

Posted by: hofbrauhausde | February 8, 2010 4:04 PM | Report abuse

Let's just admit that we elected one of the most gutless pimps in world history as President and get on with life. He is utterly clueless about governing, unless it's written for him on a teleprompter. He had a cloture-proof majority in the Senate, and is now trying to use the threat of filibuster as campaign issue in November. You know what this means? Mr. "Constitutional Scholar" doesn't know jack about the document, and he swore to uphold and defend it. Here's his fall campaign slogan: I'm Barack Obama and I think you're stupid. The question now is how many people in November will prove him right. The only reason he's invoking filibuster is that he has virtually bankrupted the country so far; if he gets his cloture-proof majority back, he can completely bankrupt us. Someone needs to find him a job on a loading dock and out of public service.

Posted by: hofbrauhausde | February 8, 2010 3:52 PM | Report abuse

Seems to be a paucity of Dem "intellect" today.

Posted by: drivl | February 8, 2010 3:47 PM | Report abuse

go ahead and change the filibuster rules dems, it will bite you in the butt come next year when you have the repubs in charge

==

what a dreamer

Posted by: Noacoler | February 8, 2010 3:39 PM | Report abuse

go ahead and change the filibuster rules dems, it will bite you in the butt come next year when you have the repubs in charge and the dems wont be able to do anything about anything. i love the way the dems are always changing the rules to suit them, but this one will bite them big time, the dems wont be able to stop anything so go ahead and change the rules, just dont cry when you lose the house and senate and cant do anything, and dont blame the repubs either, you are the ones who want to change the rules.

Posted by: unicornsbypauline | February 8, 2010 3:23 PM | Report abuse

When a party has a super majority in the senate, that party can pretty much run rough shod over the other party. The democrats had such a super majority that they could pass any bill they so desired. So, tell me, why do they blame the republicans for blocking bills? On the health reform bill, they have had to resort to bribery to get it through the senate. Do the Nelson and Landrieu bribes come to mind? As it is, the democrats have pretty much shut out the republicans and the filibuster is one of the few options left to them. Let the democrats complain about the republicans and people will remind them that they had a super majority and couldn't get it done. It wasn't because of the republicans.

For those who stress the simple majority, I would remind you that it goes both ways. When the republicans get the majority again and they will, what will you say about a simple majority then? As has been correctly stated previously by others, this is a representational government as in republic. The fact that the senate requires more than a simple majority vote to get a bill through is in most cases a good thing because it forces compromise.

Posted by: gfafblifr | February 8, 2010 3:20 PM | Report abuse

Common sense ---> getting nothing done because a bunch of bedwetters can't get over losing an election

Posted by: Noacoler | February 8, 2010 3:17 PM | Report abuse

So, now the Democrats, with Obama at the helm, are trying to do away with filibusters. How exceedingly cowardly and unfair that is, should they succeed in their attempt. If the shoe was on the other foot the Democrats would do everything in their wretched power to preserve the ability to filibuster. These low-lives have no sense of right and wrong. Come November 2010 they will largely be out of power and some common sense will be forthcoming.

Posted by: Tommypie | February 8, 2010 3:14 PM | Report abuse

King2641, I'm just saying what the movie, made in 1939, was about. I do love Frank Capra's movies, and I think they remind us that we face and fight many of the same things now that we did then.

Posted by: margaretmeyers | February 8, 2010 2:58 PM | Report abuse

This country's Founding Fathers believed in a marketplace of ideas in that the best idea wins out in competition with others and individuals seeking their own self-interest is healthy as we are a society that is enriched by this pursuit. Seeking one's own self-interest does not necessarily damage the greaer good.
 
==
 
What idiotic revisionist twaddle.  This quasi-religion of “the marketplace” is an invention of the late 20th century and was not a feature of any previous time in American history.  Nobody talked about a “marketplace of ideas,” that’s a rotted pile of nonsense.  And most of what you supply-and-demand nincompoops call “competition” the rest of us would call “wasteful duplication of effort.” 
 
As for self-interest, anyone who thinks that most people are capable of figuring out where their own self-interest lies is dangerously out of touch, living in a psychotic fantasy.  FOR GOD’S SAKE look at your fellow Americans, gorging on junk, wandering aimlessly through malls, buying vastly overpriced vehicles to feel superior elevated over the road, spending hours a day faithfully watching idiotic television and advertisements, voting for people who rob them blind, then re-electing them.  Self-interest?  You’re bloody daft.
 
Anyone who believes in “the marketplace” belongs where drivl posts from.

Posted by: Noacoler | February 8, 2010 2:53 PM | Report abuse

Chris:

Excellent piece.

Margaret Meyers: The portion of your post that talks about acting communal instead of grabbing for ourselves" reveals your leftist tendencies. This country's Founding Fathers believed in a marketplace of ideas in that the best idea wins out in competition with others and individuals seeking their own self-interest is healthy as we are a society that is enriched by this pursuit. Seeking one's own self-interest does not necessarily damage the greaer good.

Broadwayjoe: Your statement that Obama's attempt to get rid of the filibuster is not partisan is completely false and laughbly absurd!

It is totally parisan to drive his leftist Democratic agenda through Congress against the popular will of the people.

The truth is both parties have looked at doing away with the filibuster when they were in the minority to obstruct the majority party.

As far as the Democrat's being innocent to using the filibuster tactic to obstruct policy I can think of no better example than the Southern Democrats use of the filibuster from the 1940's to the mid-60's over the civil rights issue and preserve the Jim Crow South for a generation.(For a detailed history see Robert Caro's "Master of Senate."

This example is particulary poignant given who we have as a president today.

Posted by: King2641 | February 8, 2010 2:39 PM | Report abuse

All I see is more of Obama BOORRIINNGG Platitudes up Coming... Lecturing, Finger pointing and We poor Stupid Non Elitists Uneducated Folks are supposed NOT to be able to see his usual Bull Feces??? GUess Again Chicago MOB.. we AIN"T BUYING IT!!!

Posted by: redhawk2 | February 8, 2010 2:38 PM | Report abuse

FILIBUSTER.. What is the Prpagamda Machine of the OUTHOUSE taliking about??? With Super Majorities in Both Houses I Must Ask: "
What are Axelrodm Emmanuel and the Lemmings headed by Obama Talking about?' If there is afilibuster they better point fingers at The Democrats who cannot decide on asunny day whether to bring an Umbrella or apply Sun tan lotion... Better yet they need to look in amirror and call what they see " INEPT IDIOTS"... That is a Filibuster By Democrats, Progressives, and Lemmings ...al of teh Obama Persuasion!

Posted by: redhawk2 | February 8, 2010 2:34 PM | Report abuse

When you had a filbuster proof majority with 60 votes, they still coun't pass anything.

Posted by: MikeS651 | February 8, 2010 2:34 PM | Report abuse

When Obama gives the usual review of all the programs, stimulus efforts, and new entitlements he's overseeing, almost no one seems to conclude that he is simply detailing how he is going to redistribute nearly $2 trillion a year in annual borrowing. When we cut through all the soaring Great Society rhetoric, we are left with a "Gorge the Beast" strategy in which money is borrowed and given to favored constituencies before being paid back by less popular groups through higher taxes.

Given the aggregate $7-10 trillion in additional debt envisioned over the next four years, Obama may well become the greatest redistributor in U.S. history, at last addressing his 2001 lamentation about the absence of meaningful "redistributive change" in America. The only question at this point is whether Obama's gargantuan deficits are aimed primarily at lavishing constituencies with cash, or rather at making it necessary to raise taxes in a way that serves to reduce income inequality.

Posted by: leapin | February 8, 2010 2:24 PM | Report abuse

MM, no chance. The baggers are still busy watching "Birth of a Nation," the director's cut.

Posted by: broadwayjoe | February 8, 2010 2:19 PM | Report abuse

It's time for Dems to make Republicans actually filibuster -- actually go through with the threat, so Americans can see that all they are doing is disrupting the legislative process with the equivalent of throwing a spanner in the works.

Posted by: drindl | February 8, 2010 11:09 AM
-----------------------------------
I agree, drindl. The filibuster should filmed live if for no other reason than to educate the public how our legislature works.

Posted by: 12BarBlues | February 8, 2010 2:17 PM | Report abuse

37th -- go back and look in your pill minder. I think you missed something this morning.

.

Posted by: margaretmeyers | February 8, 2010 2:11 PM | Report abuse

37th needs to go back to film school. Frank Capra's film "Mr. Smith Goes to Washington" is a hymn to the social-safety-net Washington of FDR.

Edward Arnold and Claude Rains are out to screw the little guys in a land grab. The up-from-nothing populist Senator Smith is done for until Rains, shamed by his selling-out to corporate interests, tries to kill himself.

This is an excellent movie, and certainly Obama should see it, but I think it would be better for the TEA Party to watch it. The whole message of the film is how all of us are stronger when we view our interests as communal rather than grabbing for ourselves. The film also gives a little lesson in how corporate interests mislead voters.

Posted by: margaretmeyers | February 8, 2010 2:06 PM | Report abuse

Thankfully, democrats own social security, medicare and medicaid from their inception...as such, they also own their unsustainabilty.

Yet dems always argue 'people love these plans'...yes, the people who are receiving the benefits DO love these plans - and why wouldn't they?

But how much sense does it make to entitle the past at the expense of the future?

Kudos to Paul Ryan for attempting to tackle this problem...if the deficit is not addressed, then we will end up rationing entitlement spending in a sudden, brutal stroke, when the deficit problem becomes absolutely unsustainable (and by “absolutely unsustainable,” I mean at the expense of any other spending in the budget and all other spending must be borrowed.)

At least some Republicans are courageously putting forth a plan, at their own political peril....Obama's looking to get a vote in the works that permanently prohibits tinkering with social security...real smart...

Posted by: boosterprez | February 8, 2010 2:05 PM | Report abuse

Left out above is that, in 2005, GOP senators attempted to eliminate the filibuster by exercise of the "nuclear option." So no one can credibly say BHO's opposition to the filibuster is partisan.
_______________

"In 2005, a group of Republican senators led by Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist (R-TN), responding to the Democrats' threat to filibuster some judicial nominees of President George W. Bush to prevent a vote on the nominations, floated the idea of having Vice President Dick Cheney, as President of the Senate, rule from the chair that a filibuster on judicial nominees was inconsistent with the constitutional grant of power to the president to name judges with the advice and consent of the Senate (interpreting "consent of the Senate" to mean "consent of a simple majority of Senators," not "consent under the Senate rules").[32] Senator Trent Lott, the junior Republican senator from Mississippi, had named the plan the "nuclear option." Republican leaders preferred to use the term "constitutional option", although opponents and some supporters of the plan continued to use "nuclear option"."

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Filibuster

Posted by: broadwayjoe | February 8, 2010 1:58 PM | Report abuse

Does Obama know who Sam the Butcher is ??


.

Posted by: 37thand0street | February 8, 2010 1:55 PM | Report abuse

There are some things about Obama which make you stop and think - "Is this guy really an American?"

It is almost like the spies during the Cold War had some tell-tale questions which were a dead give-away.

I would like to know if Obama knows the names of the kids in the Brady Bunch - or the name of the Maid.

Or whether Obama can sing the Gilligan's Island song.

It's like Obama not knowing how many US States there are - and instead said 57 - the number of Islamic nations there are.

There are just some things about the American experience which unite us - and I just think that Obama is outside of all of that.

The filibuster is one of them - any political person in America - any person who grew up in America interested in politics knows the movie "Mr. Smith Goes To Washington." -

AND anyone who loves that movie would never advocate getting rid of the filibuster.

Ask Alice...........


.

Posted by: 37thand0street | February 8, 2010 1:53 PM | Report abuse

And you need to stop reading your rightwing fairytale interpretations ..

Posted by: drindl | February 8, 2010 1:52 PM | Report abuse

'The plan for social security that he proposes does NOT privatize social security in its entirety.'


you are the one that does not understand that privatizing part of it is a way to defund the rest of it so that it eventually would be fully privatized. Do a little research on how it works.

Posted by: drindl
_________________

I have read the plan.

Ryan's plan is essentially the same thing offered to Congress and federal employees.

If it's good enough for them, it is most likely good enough for the rest of us.

You need to stop reading your liberal gobbledygook interpretations and actually study the legislation and the CBO response.

By avoiding a fix for social security, Medicare and Medicaid's futures, democrats have settle on an unsustainable status quo...gosh, the very thing dems accuse republicans (unfairly) of with regard to health care....

Posted by: boosterprez | February 8, 2010 1:50 PM | Report abuse

Judson Phillips is a Tennessee lawyer, specializing in personal injury lawsuits, drunk-driving cases and men who get into trouble beating their wives. It was his idea to incorporate Tea Party Nation as a money-making venture and charge $349 to hear Sarah Palin talk about what’s wrong with America over steak and lobster this weekend in Nashville.

If there’s money to be made hitching your wagon to a politician trading in populism, well, who can fault these fine folks for seizing the opportunity. They must know, the check is more reliable than the politician.

Palin and Judson are two of an American archetype, opportunists playing to outrage while taking care of themselves. They can both hold an audience without saying anything of substance, or even making sense.

They repeat certain phrases: “good people,” “real Americans” and “God’s will” for Palin; “hard-working folks,” “two Americas” and “millworker’s son” for Edwards. Code words, time-worn and simple, that say: I’m one of you.

Members of the Tea Party movement, from people who can’t stand having an African-American in the White House to those genuinely concerned about the sea of debt, share at least one thing: they fear the country has gone to ruination.

They see “elites” in banking, on Wall Street, in Washington, getting theirs at a time when average income did not go up a dime over the last, lost decade. They should be mad. America is passing them by.

Posted by: drindl | February 8, 2010 1:45 PM | Report abuse

There are just some things which the country is better off with - the filibuster is one of them. People understand that.

Obama is clueless.


The country is actually lucky that there was debate about the filibuster only 5 years ago - instead of a few decades ago - and lucky that it was the democrats on the other side of the debate.

So now, anyone who ACTUALLY THINKS ABOUT IT, knows that the filibuster runs both ways

If anyone had half a brain about what is good government and what is not, they would never even consider changing the filibuster rule.


This issues shows Obama's lack of experience, lack of intelligence, and complete cluelessness.

.

Posted by: 37thand0street | February 8, 2010 1:36 PM | Report abuse

'The plan for social security that he proposes does NOT privatize social security in its entirety.'

you are the one that does not understand that privatizing part of it is a way to defund the rest of it so that it eventually would be fully privatized. Do a little research on how it works.

Posted by: drindl | February 8, 2010 1:34 PM | Report abuse

Without questioning whether Obama is even an American, I have to wonder if Obama has ever seen the movie "Mr. Smith Goes To Washington."

Clearly Obama has not seen the movie, or understand what the movie means.

That movie goes directly to the heart of what it means to be an American - fighting forces which are stronger than the individual.

I don't think that Obama understands that.

.

Posted by: 37thand0street | February 8, 2010 1:32 PM | Report abuse

Judson Phillips is a Tennessee lawyer, specializing in personal injury lawsuits, drunk-driving cases and men who get into trouble beating their wives. It was his idea to incorporate Tea Party Nation as a money-making venture and charge $349 to hear Sarah Palin talk about what’s wrong with America over steak and lobster this weekend in Nashville.

If there’s money to be made hitching your wagon to a politician trading in populism, well, who can fault these fine folks for seizing the opportunity. They must know, the check is more reliable than the politician.

Palin and Judson are two of an American archetype, opportunists playing to outrage while taking care of themselves. They can both hold an audience without saying anything of substance, or even making sense.

They repeat certain phrases: “good people,” “real Americans” and “God’s will” for Palin; “hard-working folks,” “two Americas” and “millworker’s son” for Edwards. Code words, time-worn and simple, that say: I’m one of you.

Members of the Tea Party movement, from people who can’t stand having an African-American in the White House to those genuinely concerned about the sea of debt, share at least one thing: they fear the country has gone to ruination.

They see “elites” in banking, on Wall Street, in Washington, getting theirs at a time when average income did not go up a dime over the last, lost decade. They should be mad. America is passing them by.

Posted by: drindl | February 8, 2010 1:31 PM | Report abuse

drindl, you are grossly misrepresenting Paul Ryan's RoadMap plan for this country.

I invite everyone to go to his website and read the plan, as well as the CBO's analysis of it, yourself and come to your own conclusions.

The plan for social security that he proposes does NOT privatize social security in its entirety. It applies only to those UNDER 50, is completely optional, and would only privatize a small portion of a person's social security witholdings.

As well, it brings solvency back to a near-bankrupt program.

Democrats would rather close their eyes and pretend that a problem doesn't exist...leadeership on this issue is NON-EXISTENT.

Posted by: boosterprez | February 8, 2010 1:25 PM | Report abuse

A Democratic leadership source told TPMDC they are considering options for putting the Ryan plan on the floor, forcing Republicans to vote for or against a plan they don't want to talk about. This appears to be the Ryan bill, with seven GOP co-sponsors.

While conservative groups love the plan - which cuts Social Security and Medicare benefits before effectively privatizing the entitlement programs - and Ryan says he's willing to lose his job over presenting new policy ideas, GOP leaders are backing away.

We told you Friday the Democrats plan to force a vote on a resolution that "expresses the will of House Democrats to preserve Social Security and reaffirms our commitment to working in a bipartisan way to make common sense adjustments to strengthen the program for generations to come."

Posted by: drindl | February 8, 2010 1:20 PM | Report abuse

The filibuster is a travesty. A large majority elected the 51+ senators who would have voted to strong health care reform, and the will of that majority was thwarted by a minority of the Senate. It seems unconstitutional to me. What happened to one person, one vote, and the majority governs? The majority, 51, not 60!

Posted by: tinyjab40
_______________

Your understanding of how our government operates is rather limited, I think. We are not a country governed by majority rule; we are a representative republic.

Your think 60 votes is bad? It used to be 67 votes!

On large issues, we NEED our government to more than just BARELY agree on things, for the good of all the people, not just barely half of them. That's why compromise is so important, and why 60 votes is so important - to get compromise.

But don't forget -- democrats HAD sixty votes for 4-5 months, and weren't able to accomplish a whole lot. Even democrats by themselves are not a homogenous group, which again, requires that compromise be made.

Posted by: boosterprez | February 8, 2010 1:19 PM | Report abuse


'Speaking to a small group of conference attendees and ThinkProgress during lunch on Saturday, Bachmann outlined how the Republican Party and its 2012 nominee must address the national debt. Bachmann referenced Glenn Beck, who falsely warned about a $107 trillion in supposed “unfunded liabilities” from Social Security and Medicare:

"But basically what we have to do is wean everybody off Medicare and Social Security. So basically, whoever our nominee is, is going to have to have a Glenn Beck chalkboard and explain to everybody this is the way it is."

Bachmann is echoing a growing chorus in the GOP caucus. Recently, Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI) introduced an alternative budget plan which would privatize both Medicare and Social Security. As the Wonk Room’s Pat Garofalo has noted, the type of private Social Security accounts Ryan proposes would have cost seniors tens of thousands of dollars in the 2008-2009 market plunge. But Bachmann takes Ryan’s effort a step farther and seems to be suggesting a full repeal of the retirement safety net.'

go for it.

Posted by: drindl | February 8, 2010 1:18 PM | Report abuse

The biggest buzz in DC right now is about Rep. Paul Ryan's bill, HR 4529, called the 'roadmap', which seeks to cut the deficit by slashing benefits and privatizing Social Security, deep cuts and eventual privatizaton of Medicare, plus evisceration of Medicaid. Can you do us the favor of a piece on this?

Posted by: drindl


Translation: all I got in my bulk liberal email today was this, so can you comply so I have something to post?

Posted by: drivl | February 8, 2010 1:15 PM | Report abuse

The right-wing slant of most political polls, the way the questions are loaded and manipulative, is why you can't pay much attention to them.

Posted by: drindl | February 8, 2010 1:03 PM | Report abuse

Mr.Cilizza --

The biggest buzz in DC right now is about Rep. Paul Ryan's bill, HR 4529, called the 'roadmap', which seeks to cut the deficit by slashing benefits and privatizing Social Security, deep cuts and eventual privatizaton of Medicare, plus evisceration of Medicaid. Can you do us the favor of a piece on this?

Posted by: drindl | February 8, 2010 1:01 PM | Report abuse

CNN couldn't have used a word other than "controversial" in that poll? That seems like a very loaded word to me, expecially when many of these nominees and much of the legislation ended up passing by wide margins when they did finally come to vote.

CNN should have left out the adjective and maybe provided a little historic context -- that poll woul have had very different results.

Posted by: margaretmeyers | February 8, 2010 12:55 PM | Report abuse

The president dismisses his lack of success by claiming he has not communicated his message enough. Really? I don't care how many news conferences you have, how many speeches you give, or how much money you spend on public relations, if the dog food is bad, the dogs won't eat it.




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The American people are unhappy with the direction of the country. They have a deep antipathy toward the federal government's activism, and they have actively opposed the Democrats' health care proposals.

The elections in New Jersey, Virginia and Massachusetts have given evidence that the message is not the problem, it's the substance of the policy that is coming out of Washington that has people saying, "I'm mad as heck, and I'm not going to take it anymore."

Posted by: drivl | February 8, 2010 12:53 PM | Report abuse

Also let the estate tax sunset and every other tax cut that is set to expire. Bring them back for the low income & middle class, in single issue bills. Let the "little m's" vote against tax cuts or better yet, filibuster them.

Posted by: ILDem | February 8, 2010 12:50 PM | Report abuse

If memory serves me, Orin Hatch started this whole mess with his refusal to even hold hearings on Clinton's judicial nominees. That was ok with his party until they became the "little m" party, when all of a sudden "every deserves a hearing".
While the "base-tards" will never be able to separate fact from myth (or whatever faux news etc. is spewing), others can and will. Put the "little m's" front and center - single issue votes such as
prohibiting the use of pre-existing issues. Put them on the hot seat so they have to provide more than a quickly waved page that constitues "their plan", press for details. Replay/reissued the "little m's" who thought nothing of deficits during the first six years of dubya's terms.

Posted by: ILDem | February 8, 2010 12:43 PM | Report abuse

Maybe if all his proposals weren't a direct import from the soviet union, then a single repub might go along.

Until he stops this socialist agenda, the proper thing to do is stop him no matter what.

Posted by: drivl | February 8, 2010 12:42 PM | Report abuse

Chris,

In a nominal Democracy such as the US, it goes against all reason that a minority should thwart the will of the majority--especially with the current huge disparity of 59/41.

For far longer than Obama has been in office, 'gridlock' has been cited, often correctly, as why things don't get done in Washington. That was an argument under Clinton, under Bush, and now under Obama.

Clearly, the Senate has become non-functional. The case of Senator Shelby being able to hold up 70 of the President's nominations for key posts, and Senator DeMint having done so before him, is truly scanadlous--not because this Administration is Democratic; it would be the same if roles were reversed.

On the other hand, to do away entirely with the Minority's filibuster power is too dangerous. A certain check is necessary to prevent excesses by a single party--EITHER party, but there MUST be the ability on both sides to compromise.

Otherwise, any legislation, however beneficial it might be for the people of the United States as a whole, will stall in the Senate.

What Senators need to realise is that they are there to put the peoples' interest ahead of their own, often commercial, concerns (as is the case with Sen. Shelby, however much he might attempt to dress it up and employ lipstick, he's still...well, you get my point).

Let them realise that they are in Washington NOT to further their careers or to blackmail others into acceeding to their pork demands, but to pass laws which will improve peoples' lives. ALL people. The current stalemate is TOTALLY unacceptable.

Posted by: sverigegrabb | February 8, 2010 12:25 PM | Report abuse

that is exactly the issue, tinyjab.

Posted by: drindl | February 8, 2010 11:50 AM | Report abuse

The filibuster is a travesty. A large majority elected the 51+ senators who would have voted to strong health care reform, and the will of that majority was thwarted by a minority of the Senate. It seems unconstitutional to me. What happened to one person, one vote, and the majority governs? The majority, 51, not 60!

Posted by: tinyjab40 | February 8, 2010 11:48 AM | Report abuse

The filibuster was designed as an extraordinary tactic, a last resort -- not a daily way of doing business, and no party has EVER used it this way before:

"Thursday's 52-47 vote was hardly the first time Democrats in the 110th Congress failed to get the needed 60 votes to end debate and bring a bill to a vote. An analysis by McClatchy showed that Republicans have already resorted to the filibuster 42 times and on track to block Senate action over 150 times this term, shattering the previous record by almost a factor of three.

"The strategy of being obstructionist can work or fail. So far it's working for us."

Posted by: drindl | February 8, 2010 11:37 AM | Report abuse

drindl:

Perhaps you can ask one of your liberal friends what the difference between CONSTITUTIONAL MANDATE (advise and consent on judicial appointments, which is what "up or down" vote applied to) and controversial legislation such as Obamacare

Posted by: JakeD2 | February 8, 2010 11:26 AM | Report abuse

Up or Down Vote: Death of a GOP Talking Point

On Thursday morning, July 19th, the beloved GOP talking point "up or down vote" was officially declared dead. Its demise was little noticed in the aftermath of the Senate Republicans' successful all-night filibuster to block the Reed-Levin bill seeking to begin U.S. troop withdrawals from Iraq. "Up or down vote" was killed by a desperate Republican Party trying to obstruct Democratic accomplishments at any cost in advance of the 2008 elections. And so far, the GOP seems to be getting away with the crime.

Thursday's 52-47 vote was hardly the first time Democrats in the 110th Congress failed to get the needed 60 votes to end debate and bring a bill to a vote. An analysis by McClatchy showed that Republicans have already resorted to the filibuster 42 times and on track to block Senate action over 150 times this term, shattering the previous record by almost a factor of three. As Robert Borosage detailed, while Democrats in the House have kept their promise to pass a raft of legislation including Medicare drug negotiation, the minimum wage, student loan reform and more, Republicans in the Senate have stymied overwhelmingly popular bills at every turn:
"Bills with majority support -- raising the minimum wage, ethics reform, a date to remove troops from Iraq, revoking oil subsidies and putting the money into renewable energy, fulfilling the 9/11 commission recommendations on homeland security--get blocked because they can't garner 60 votes to overcome a filibuster."
Senate Minority Whip Trent Lott (R-MS) has been one of the essential architects of the filibuster fever in the Grand Obstruction Party. While decrying that "the Senate is spiraling into the ground to a degree that I have never seen before" and "all modicum of courtesy is going out the window," Lott is also brutally frank about his strategy to prevent any Democratic wins come hell or high water:

"The strategy of being obstructionist can work or fail. So far it's working for us."

July 22, 2007 -- 2 years later, and it's still all they've got to contribute.

Posted by: drindl | February 8, 2010 11:22 AM | Report abuse

If one removes filibuster, US will have a parliamentary style democracy when a single party controls the house, senate and the white house. There will be no checks and balances. Filibuster has to be taken in the same vein like many other constitutionally mandated unpleasant rights and privileges which people do not like, expect when they need them. Democrats used filibusters when they were a minority. Note that democrats had 60 votes until a few days ago. The health care/reform bill ran into problems because of dissension among democrats (Nelson, Landreu). Republican filibuster had nothing to do with it.

Posted by: philly3 | February 8, 2010 11:19 AM | Report abuse

'There's no Constitutional mandate that the Senate has to give any proposed legislation, let alone Obamacare, an up or down vote.'

"By Bill Frist
All 100 members of the U.S. Senate will soon decide a basic question of fairness. Will we permit a fair, up-or-down vote on every judicial nominee? Or, will we create an unprecedented 60-vote requirement for the confirmation of President Bush's judges? I sincerely hope that it is the former.

Our Constitution grants the Senate the power to confirm or reject the president's judicial nominees. In exercising this duty, the Senate has always followed a careful and deliberate process of examining the nominees through hearings, discussing their merits in committee, debating them in the full Senate and then coming to an up-or-down vote on the Senate floor. We investigate, we debate, and then we decide."

Note that Shelby of Alabama is holding 70 of Obama's nominess for ransom -- a big fat piece of pork for Alabama... an EARMARK. Let's not talk about hypocrisy, it's a joke.

Posted by: drindl | February 8, 2010 11:19 AM | Report abuse

thecorinthian:

You don't think that Obamacare is controversial?

Posted by: JakeD2 | February 8, 2010 11:16 AM | Report abuse

It's time for Dems to make Republicans actually filibuster -- actually go through with the threat, so Americans can see that all they are doing is disrupting the legislative process with the equivalent of throwing a spanner in the works.

Posted by: drindl | February 8, 2010 11:09 AM | Report abuse

I seem to recall the GOP considering the "nuclear option" just as to judicial nominees -- abrogating the DUTY of the Senate to advise and consent -- when the Dems were in the minority. But they never pulled that trigger, and plenty of Dems INCLUDING OBAMA are on the record re: the virtures of the filibuster. Now that it us being used as intended to slow down controversial legislation, the filibuster is evil?! There's no Constitutional mandate that the Senate has to give any proposed legislation, let alone Obamacare, an up or down vote.

Posted by: JakeD2 | February 8, 2010 11:08 AM | Report abuse

"Over the past week, President Obama and his senior aides have repeatedly cited Republicans' filibuster threats"

grow a set, obama..

make them filibuster, or are those silly widdle threats scaring you?

Posted by: newagent99 | February 8, 2010 11:05 AM | Report abuse

The filibuster is good and well if the legislation is actually controversial. But if it's just being threatened on a regular basis it becomes a problem. Democrats didn't get control of Congress and the presidency by accident. They were elected by people who were sick of Republicans. It's a shame Democrats weren't governing like they had a mandate, and now they've allowed an atmosphere where Republicans digging in their heels is an acceptable viewpoint.

Posted by: thecorinthian | February 8, 2010 11:04 AM | Report abuse

The Democrats are being hypocritical.

They know that the Republicans have few tools to use when they are in the minority, with no meaningful input or consensus on the process let alone the legislations.

In times like these, the filibuster is one of the few tools the minority has to protect it's rights.

If the Obama Administration and the Democrats actually wanted to work together...they wouldn't just create photo-op moments for Republicans and Democrats to talk...they would sit down up front and work on a bipartisan approach.

There is much common ground on healthcare. They should use the "summit" Obama is calling for to find meaning reform a majority of Americans can support...and pass that.

They can make a difference without jamming much of their partisan/liberal agenda down America's throat.

The politics of blaming Republican on using the filibuster when they won't involve them in meaning debate and drafting of important legislation is less than sincere.

Posted by: sanuzis | February 8, 2010 11:02 AM | Report abuse

"The filibuster itself, however, is not exactly ripe political territory for Democrats -- or anyone. Most Americans don't know -- and don't care -- about the many procedures that guide the Senate (or even how a bill becomes a law)."

That is precisely the point. As long as Americans don't have a clue how their government works, they cannot see that the Republicans are holding the process hostage by using arcane practices left over from a time when you could trust even Republicans to respect the offices they held and not make a mockery of them.

Posted by: drindl | February 8, 2010 11:00 AM | Report abuse

Bring. It. On.

Posted by: JakeD2 | February 8, 2010 10:56 AM | Report abuse

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