Curbing the Filibuster
There could be a showdown this January over Senate Democrats’ threats to curb the filibuster. Republicans have turned the filibuster — and every other stalling/obstruction tactic — into their standard method of legislating. The filibuster was originally just an occasional, and very dramatic, undertaking. It didn’t become Standard Operating Procedure until Barack Obama got elected to the White House.
I’m kind of leery of changing the rules. Democrats won’t always be in control of the Senate. For that matter, Republicans might very well have taken the Senate last week if a few of their bone-stupidest candidates hadn’t spilled their true philosophy of “aw come on, a little rape never hurt anybody.”
Instead of limiting the filibuster, I think any senator who wants to stage a filibuster should be required to stand up and talk nonstop, for hours; days even. As soon as he/she sits down, the filibuster has ended and the Senate resumes its business. This is what the term filibuster originally MEANT. It has nothing to do with just teaming up with 39 other senators to vote No on something; or everything.
Check out some of the famous filibuster speeches listed here.
If a senator has the balls and the persistence to stand there and read the Constitution over and over for three days, or read names out of the phone book, or whatever, go for it. What needs to be stopped is the practice of forty senators bringing the Senate to a grinding halt every time they're against something. No action, no sacrifice, no effort expounded — nothing.
That’s not a filibuster. It’s the difference between running in a 26-mile marathon, and sitting on the couch with a doobie in one hand and a bottle of whiskey in the other, and saying “I’m running a marathon right now.”
Anyway, that’s my take. Don’t limit the filibuster, but require a filibustering senator to actually get up there and talk nonstop. When the talking stops, the filibuster is over.
What say you?