The Real Face Of The Talking Filibuster

Senator Aqua Buddha has spent much of today conducting an old fashioned talking filibuster in the Senate chamber. While I prefer an open display of filiblathering to the cloak room kind more typical of the Lott-McConnell years in the Senate, I have a request: enough with theMr. Smith Goes To Washington references.

I realize that cameras came to the Senate fairly recently so there’s not a lot of footage to show on teevee but the true face of the classic filibuster is this:


That’s right, the real-as opposed to reel-face of the filibuster belongs to the arch-segregationist and disgustingly racist Senator Strom Thurmond of South Carolina. Thurmond, of course, ran for President as a Dixiecrat in 1948, was a pioneer Southern Republican and never stopped calling black folks “nigras” during his lifetime.Thurmond also holds the land speed record for the longest filibuster in Senate history: 24 hours and 18 minutes against the weak and watered down 1957 Civil Rights Act. Unless, that is, Senator Aqua Buddha breaks the old mark some 56 years later.

In the so-called “good old days of bipartisanship” it was Southern segregationists who used the talking filibuster as their main weapon against progressive legislation, not “noble” crusaders such as the fictional Senator Smith.

Additionally, as a film buff, I wonder how many people are aware of the bizarre political lineage of Mr. Smith Goes To Washington. Its star, Jimmy Stewart, was an ultra-conservative Republican who was well known for being “uncomfortable” around black folks. Its director, Frank Capra, was an ultra-conservative Republican in faux populist drag who was later blacklisted and became a friendly witness during the red scare. The film was written by Sidney Buchman who was a Communist who joined Capra on the blacklist but at least he was an actual scary red.

I haven’t ranted here in awhile and that felt good. So, please, I’m begging you: retire the Mr. Smith references and I promise not to mention Frank Capra’s uber reactionary politics again. Btw, his memoirs, The Name Above The Title was one of the best novels of the 1970’s. He really knew how to sell that phony man of the people shtick. I ought to know: I bought it for many years until I read Joseph McBride’s brilliant biography, Frank Capra: The Catastrophe Of Success. It’s a must read tome, y’all.

That is all.

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