Wednesday, July 18, 2007

The Fake-ibuster

Man, that was one of the worst filibusters of all time. Everything scripted on both sides, no passion (except Mary Landrieu, and that was apparently only because she was tired of the Republicans accusing the Democrats of Hollywood grandstanding; yeah, like they NEVER did any of that). When you think of filibusters, you think of Mr. Smith Goes To Washington (obviously) and Huey Long reading long lists of pot liquor recipies into the official record. This was just 36 hours of 10-minute speeches, some of them delivered with all the panache of a wet cardboard box.

Where were the colloquys, with Senators on each side of the aisle engaging each other seriously in substantive, point vs. counterpoint debate on the merits of their positions? Where was the passionate denunciation of Republican obtuseness, of the President's folly? At the end I was almost forced to agree with the Republicans; what did this really, in the end, accomplish? It wasn't on network TV, or even Fox or CNN; unless people tuned in to C-SPAN2 they may never have known it was happening. And then in the end, when the cloture vote was finally taken, rather than halt the Senate at that point and demand that, since the Republicans obviously felt it was necessary, debate on the Levin/Reed amendment continue; instead of that, the Majority Leader pulled the bill. What an anticlimax!

I can understand the desire to not be seen as obstructionist yourself. But come on, this is supposed to be a filibuster! Make them filibust! Keep the Senate in session until doomsday if that's what it takes. Your approval rating can't go any lower, just like the President's, so what is there to lose?

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