Let Them All Talk

There’s been some movement on the filibuster front. More and more senators are using the word reform instead of abolish as a way of picking up The Man of La Manchin’s vote. It seems to be working as Cassandra’s boy has admitted to a fondness for old-school talking filibusters. The man whose seat he filled in the Senate, Robert Byrd, was one of its foremost practitioners, after all.

I can live with that as can President Biden who had this exchange with my diminutive countryman:

STEPHANOPOULOS: I know you’ve been reluctant to do away with the filibuster. Aren’t you going to have to choose between preserving the filibuster and advancing your agenda?
BIDEN: Yes. But here’s the choice: I don’t think you have to eliminate the filibuster. You have to do what it used to be when I first got to the Senate … and that is, that a filibuster, you had to stand up and command the floor. … So you gotta work for the filibuster.
STEPHANOPOULOS: So you’re for that reform? You’re for bringing back the talking filibuster?
BIDEN: I am.

That’s progress. Biden faces a recalcitrant Republican majority with a wily leader who I call the Turtle but who calls himself the Grim Reaper. Obstructionism is what he does best as reflected by this TPM headline:

McConnell Threatens To Grind Senate To Halt If Dems Don’t Let Him Keep Power To Grind Senate To Halt

How much worse can it get? It’s time for Democrats to call the Turtle’s bluff and whap him upside the head so hard that it will retract into its shell. It appears that Biden and Schumer are ready to rumble. They remember what happened in the first year of the Obama administration as does Ron Klain who is on his way to being the most effective White House chief of staff since Jim Baker.

Ron Klain is a special guy. He’s capable of playing both good cop and bad cop, which is a rare quality indeed. He knows the senate almost as well as his boss. It’s a pity that he can no longer brag about Kevin Spacey playing him in the HBO movie Recount. The reasons are obvious: Spacey was such a sexpest that he makes some of the others look like amateurs. So it goes.

It’s unclear how this drama will turn out but the mere fact that we’re having this discussion is major progress. It’s time to bring majority rule to the senate.

It’s been a long time since there was a talking filibuster. They *were* used for nefarious purposes by the likes of Strom Thurmond and Richard Russell but they’ve also been used to block shitty legislation.

I, for one, cannot wait to see how the many elderly senators in the GOP caucus react to the return of the talking filibuster. Chuck Grassley is apt to plotz when he sees the cots rolled out.

I hope that the senate will limit the talking filibuster to germane topics. We don’t need a latter-day Huey Long going on about potlikker for hours on end. And I’m talking about you, John Neely Kennedy.

I’m sure Neely fancies himself as Jimmy Stewart in Mr. Smith Goes To Washington when he’s really sellout Claude Rains.

The last word goes to Elvis Costello:

3 thoughts on “Let Them All Talk

  1. i can’t wait! politics has returned to the Senate. and they have GOT to require germane discussion only. and all of this, from the Manchin/Sinema statements to end the Senate organizational agreement impasse, to Biden’s signing off on modifying the filibuster yesterday, feels extremely scripted, which means Mitch melted down yesterday because he just realized he got played.

    Republican senators are lazy and completely uninterested in governing. this is going to interfere big time with their FOX new soundbite tapings, plus they can’t make intellectual arguments so it’ll just be endless stupidity on display for Americans to see.

  2. There is also some talk about implementing a rule of needing a minimum number of votes to allow a filibuster to continue instead of needing needing a certain number of votes to over-ride one.

  3. “The filibuster can continue as long as one of the filibustering caucus is being waterboarded
    Both sides agree that it should start with Sen. Cruz.”

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