Wednesday, September 19, 2007

60 Is The New 50

Digby’s post on ”E-Z filibusters” is a must read. Under the current political rules of “IOKIYAR” and “can’t win for losing,” it seems even a razor-thin Senate majority hasn’t helped Democrats. Republicans are threatening to filibuster everything in sight, which means 60 is the new 50.

Digby links to Kevin Drum’s post on the topic. For the uninitiated:
[...] Republicans aren't just obstructing legislation at normal rates. They're obstructing legislation at three times the usual rate. They're absolutely desperate to keep this stuff off the president's desk, where the only choice is to either sign it or else take the blame for a high-profile veto.

As Drum and Digby point out, the press has done a pretty half-assed job of reporting this; I mean really, a vote to give Utah and the District of Columbia House representation was going to be filibustered? For real?

“Democratic obstructionism” was the mantra of conservatives pre-November 2006. Go on, Google it, I dare you. Now that they're in the minority, obstructionism is business as usual for GOP senators, and the press hasn’t bothered to notice. I know, I keep forgetting, IOKIYAR.

Even worse, the Democrats are enabling this behavior, counting the votes ahead of time and calling for floor votes instead of forcing a real filibuster. Digby’s solution? Call their bluff. “Make ‘em talk,” she says:

The Democrats are going to have to force real filibusters. I know that it will disrupt the business of the senate, but there's really no other choice. Look at that chart. The Republicans have successfully halted virtually anything worth doing with these EZ-Filibusters. Forget cloture. Make 'em talk.

I'm still looking forward to hearing Huckleberry Graham doing his dramatic reading of Miss Mellie's death scene. And I hear St John McCain does an amazing rendition of Captain Queeg's "strawberries" soliloquy. Let 'em stand there and blather on until they're hoarse. It's the only way to break this silly deadlock and instruct the country about who's stopping the congress from getting anything done. The press certainly isn't getting the job done. Everybody's blaming the Dems for being ineffectual so they really have no choice but to force these Republicans to filibuster for real or risk paying the price at the ballot box when the Republicans run against the "do-nothing congress."

I like the way this girl thinks. Make 'em talk. If they’re threatening to do it, then make them do it. Stand up there for 20 hours reciting Aunt Martha’s favorite recipes to block passage of some legislation granting Utah more House representatives. Or denying children’s healthcare coverage. Or shredding the Constitution by killing off habeas corpus.

Go on. I dare you.