Legislative tactics have always amused me, often to the point of hysterical laughter. What has me almost rolling on the floor laughing is the filibuster. The filibuster has become a joke, the issue of the nuclear option and the Democratic insistence that the filinbuster is good for America.
Alright, fine. I understand that the filibuster is a tool to protect minority rights in the Senate. Fine, but I agree with Linda Chavez, that if the minority party or the minority on any issue wants to filibuster, I want to see a filibuster on C-SPAN2. I want to see a Senator stand on the floor of hte Senate and filibuster--meaning that he/she has to keep talking, until either they drop or someone can invoke cloture.
If the Democrats want to filibuster judicial nominations, then filibuster. They would grind all work on the Senate floor to a halt. Nothing would get done.
However, Democrats will never want to do this for several reasons.
First, Senator Reid and his colleagues would be exposed for what they are, a bunch of whiny little children who are upset that they have not gotten their way or that they are in the minority. As whiny little children are prone to do, they have forgotten history, Chavez points out:
In 1975, senators once again modified their own rules, reducing to 60 senators the number needed to force a vote. At the time, it was mostly Democrats, who were in the majority, who favored limits on minority rights. As Sen. Edward Kennedy said at the time, "Again and again in recent years, the filibuster has been the shame of the Senate and the last resort of special interest groups. Too often, it has enabled a small minority of the Senate to prevent a strong majority from working its will and serving the public interest."
Sen. Kennedy, you can't have it both ways. If you are in teh minority you can't claim the high road because when you were the majority party, you sought to limit the filibuster.
Second, filibustering on something like judicial nominees today seems just a petty reaction to not having a Democrat in the White House. In 1990, Justice Antonin Scalia was confirmed by a Democratically controlled Senate by a vote of 98-0. Scalia is often the Democratic poster child for a judiciary run amok. Again, you can't have it both ways.
Third, truly filibustering, meaning talking a bill to death rather than threatening to talk a bill to death are vastly different things. If you have that strong a belief that something is inherently bad, then show us a little backbone and prove it. Don't hide behind an anonymous threat, rather show the public what you believe.
Fourth and finally, tying up the Senate floor on judicial nominees or anything supported by the White House or the majority runs the risk of being called obstructionist--which today is a term just this side of Communist. If the Democrats want to win control, they have to do better than just saying No.
Senator Frist should just get a rule change and make the filibuster a real filibuster.