Reid flips on the filibuster



It’s a risky move for the Senate majority leader, who could find himself in the minority in a matter of months and need the filibuster to block the GOP’s agenda. But Reid — who struck a “gentleman’s agreement” last year with Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell to preserve the filibuster from an effort by Sens. Tom Udall (D-N.M.) and Jeff. Merkley (D-Ore.) to water it down — signaled he is now on board with their effort given the gridlock in the Senate.

“If there were ever a time when Tom Udall and Jeff Merkley were prophetic, it’s tonight,” Reid said on the floor. “These two young, fine senators said it was time to change the rules of the Senate, and we didn’t. They were right. The rest of us were wrong — or most of us, anyway. What a shame.”

Good, more than past fucking time.

Do it, you spineless whores. I dare you.

I’d rather bet on the lottery than on filibusters going away.

They wont ever go away, but making them harder than one dude waving his hand makes sense. I mean ultimately the idea came from the Senate having no limit on discussion, which means you could just talk and talk and talk and no one could really stop you (unlike the House where everyone has a strict time limit). I say make the fuckers talk, eventually they’ll stop and business can get done. Allowing them de facto “talk” with cloture bullshit isn’t what anyone had in mind.

Of course, this works both ways. You may feel different when it’s Senate majority leader, Sarah Palin or whatever in the future shutting down filibusters.

I won’t. If the public wants what the GOP is offering, they should get it.

I’m with Jason. I’m pretty confident that if a GOP majority was allowed to govern without obstruction, said majority would last no longer than two years, and wouldn’t materialize for another two decades.

Yeah, I’m pretty sure that most people talking about the filibuster have come to terms with the fact that it makes Democratic minorities weaker as well. But given the fact that the filibuster is a horrible idea, both democratically and institutionally, that’s just something you’ve got to live with.
That said, and to forestall any cries of hypocrisy, if the filibuster still exists, I expect Democrats to use and abuse it.

Agreed. Let the parties who get elected do what they were elected to do. If people fucking it hate it, then they can make changes in a couple years.
Its certainly better than not letting anyone ever do anything ever unless people get so fed up they elect a super majority (which is pretty fucking unlikely to ever happen).

Getting rid of the filibuster may have a couple of results that I would love to see:

  1. It would potentially result in more things actually getting done in Congress. Right now, very little of substance is accomplished.

  2. It would get rid of the “Well, we WANT to take leadership and do so-and-so, but THEY won’t let us, so we won’t even try” excuse. Suddenly it is put up or shut up time for the majority party, and they can’t give their supporters the bullshit that I am convinced they feed them now.

Personally, I believe that Congress very much likes the way things are now, in which they aren’t held accountable for doing much of anything and can just blame the other party. It’s the best of all worlds for someone in Congress - they don’t have to do anything substantial, so they don’t get blamed for any strong bills they pass, and they can keep their supporters focused on how bad the other guys are and away from what they have actually accomplished (or not.) See the health care bill: most Democrats are trying to avoid connection with that in their campaigns.

Therefore, my expectation is that this is just more talk, and will result in no action of substance.

I fully expect the Republicans to use the nuclear option as soon as it’s convenient, so the Dems won’t get the chance the Republicans had, should Romney win.

Yep. As soon as Democrats lose the Senate, filibuster reform will become the most important problem facing the nation.

Here’s a pretty awesome explanation of what the filibuster is, with a little history thrown in. They gloss over some things, of course, but it’s a nice overview.

So are we going back to the Mr. Smith in Washington rules?

I’ve been saying this for ages. Play by those rules, and you won’t get filabusters at all, because the old bitches in congress are too hold to actually stand up and do it.

Agreed. Filibuster is the side effect of having no limit on discussion in the Senate. Not some built in stupidity switch that forces a 2/3 vote for the government to do anything at all.


You’d think all those Constitutionalists out there would realize that every Senator doesn’t get a fucking veto, but most of them don’t seem to understand any of the document as it is.

Kevin Drum has a valid critique of that idea, I think:

Part of the problem here may lie with the proposed reforms. Merkley, for example, has been pushing the “talking filibuster,” which would require the minority party to keep talking if they want to keep filibustering. But I’m barely willing to write about that, let alone start mobilizing over it. I simply don’t think it would have the slightest effect. Republicans would have little trouble keeping up a filibuster via tag-teaming, and the Senate would grind to a complete halt while it was going on. The end result would be to slow down the Senate more than under the current rules. Hell, if I were Mitch McConnell, I’d offer to cosponsor this “reform.”