John Self is off today. This blog first appeared last year but with the recent threat of the nuclear option – to change Senate rules concerning debates – it seems very relevant today.
Everyone once in a while, a rant is good for the soul.
Nothing is as it seems these days, even with incredible transparency created by an onslaught of readily available news and information from the endless cable channels and the Internet.
Today, in the cozy and comfortable club called the U.S. Senate, we have non-filibuster “filibusters.” They now occur without the muss and the fuss of the good old days.
In our televised, more “transparent” Senate, a member (or members) do not have to endure the physical and mental anguish of standing and speaking non-stop, save for short breaks for the necessities, until the leadership amends or withdraws legislation or a nomination. Senators apparently decided that was just too much trouble and could bring too much public criticism since the proceedings are now televised on C-Span (The public’s dismal opinion of Congress can’t get much lower).
Today, a Senator, or Senators, who are opposed to a bill or a Presidential appointment, can claim to have the necessary votes to block passage, threaten to filibuster it to death, and that is apparently sufficient to force the leadership to acquiesce. They win a legislative delay or outright victory without a real fight and they call THAT a filibuster. No one has to endure any personal pain or make any type of sacrifice to make their point, regardless of its virtue or faults. Clean and tidy. See you for drinks and dinner.
The non-filibuster filibuster is one of many contributing factors to the governing gridlock that infects Washington, poisons our debate, and allows Senators the luxury and comfort to make their Club just a little more convenient.
I like the old fashion way. If a Senator does not like a bill or a nominee, then stand up and be accountable – filibuster — speaking endlessly on national TV for all the voters to see. Quit being so lazy. Besides, it will make C-Span more interesting.
Now I feel a little better.
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© 2014 John Gregory Self