About that Filibuster…

Deja Vu’ is a cruel mistress, as I’m sure most of us with a few gray hairs have figured out by now. But in the wake of the crumbling health care debacle … (I’m sorry – “debate”) it’s hitting some of us awfully hard today. I couldn’t help but notice quite a few supporters of Obamacare ™ chiming in with their mournful regrets about the Senate filibuster. These include the always enjoyable Steve Benen, chiming in on Paul Krugman’s column about those nasty Republicans and how wonderful the world would be if we could just stop them from filibustering all of these fabulous Democratic ideas! (For the record, Steve is a great writer on the progressive side of the aisle and he frequently makes points I agree with, though I reserve the right to call him out when I feel he’s gone astray.)

I was preparing to write yet another in our series of “Be Careful What You Wish For” columns in response to Steve’s complaints when I was suddenly halted by an overpowering wave of deja vu. Hold on! Didn’t we already do this? We did! In fact, it was when he published a column last February calling for an end to the filibuster. At the time I penned a brief response to him. (This was a follow-up to an earlier column we ran in January.)

Listen, Democrats… you didn’t like it when the GOP was running the table on you, stopping all of your agenda and building audition tapes for Legislators Gone Wild. If you didn’t have the filibuster, what judges would be sitting on all the courts right now? What other legislation would be in place? Now take a look at the stimulus (I’m sorry… porkulus) package you just hung around your own necks. If that doesn’t work some miracles in the next 18 months, you may be looking at hard times in 2010. Do you want to hand that kind of power to your opponents?

Well, Steve, I’m looking at the bottom of my mug this evening and reading some tea leaves. They don’t exactly require a gypsy queen to interpret. I’m watching Obama’s approval rating slide further and further underwater and the Democratic Congressional majority’s numbers stay in sub-Cheney ranges. I’m watching fluctuations in the generic ballot across the nation from month to month. There’s something coming next November and it doesn’t take a rocket surgeon to figure out what it is. And absent a major change in the unemployment figures by late 2011, that Obama reelection race isn’t looking like a shoe-in either.

You want to get rid of the filibuster to ram through the current Democratic wish list items and leave those powers on the table for the next crew? Three words…

I… Dare.. You…