Jonathan Bernstein, guest blogging over at Andrew Sullivan’s blog, writes:
Shifting from a Senate in which the minority will use supermajority rules only to obstruct rare very important issues (pre-1970), to a Senate in which the minority will use supermajority rules to obstruct every major item on the majority’s agenda (beginning in 1993), to a Senate in which the minority insists that almost every single item, controversial or not, needs 60 votes to pass (the new GOP standard in 2009) has changed the game.
Indeed it has. I’ve been pointing out the hypocrisy on the part of both Democrats and Republicans, but it’s also true that when it comes to health care, the Republicans have taken their zeal to shut down Congress to surreal extremes, like objecting over and over again to the absolutely routine request to revise and extend one’s remarks for the Congressional Record. This is a real asshole move designed only to be petty and childish.
The solution seems obvious to me and it certainly isn’t original to me: Bring back the real filibuster. Forget all this nonsense about cloture votes, if you want to filibuster a bill you should actually have to stand there on the floor and talk until you collapse. That’s what made the filibuster so powerful as a symbol in decades past, it took real commitment. You really had to feel strongly about stopping something to go to such lengths. You should still have to.