Making the filibuster an issue

So far, filibuster repeal isn’t polling well, but its possible that the public can be brought to share the President’s growing impatience.

Author: Mark Kleiman

Professor of Public Policy at the NYU Marron Institute for Urban Management and editor of the Journal of Drug Policy Analysis. Teaches about the methods of policy analysis about drug abuse control and crime control policy, working out the implications of two principles: that swift and certain sanctions don't have to be severe to be effective, and that well-designed threats usually don't have to be carried out. Books: Drugs and Drug Policy: What Everyone Needs to Know (with Jonathan Caulkins and Angela Hawken) When Brute Force Fails: How to Have Less Crime and Less Punishment (Princeton, 2009; named one of the "books of the year" by The Economist Against Excess: Drug Policy for Results (Basic, 1993) Marijuana: Costs of Abuse, Costs of Control (Greenwood, 1989) UCLA Homepage Curriculum Vitae Contact:

8 thoughts on “Making the filibuster an issue”

  1. I don't suspect the polling will look decent unless and until the Democrats actually make the GOP filibuster something important. As the public watches the minority party hold the American people hostage, it will be much easier to make the case against the filibuster.

  2. How about retaining the filibuster for lifetime appointments to the federal bench, to help keep extremists off? Unlike a statute, they cannot be repealed. (Ironically, when the Democrats attempted to filibuster George W. Bush's nominees, the Republicans considered the "nuclear option" of ending the filibuster solely for judicial nominees.) The danger of retaining the filibuster for judges is that, if the Democrats end up with only 59 senators, then the Republicans will prevent Obama from putting anyone on the Supreme Court, or perhaps on the entire federal bench. If they do that, however, they may finally cause some outrage at the filibuster.

  3. Some Republicans voted for Sotomayor, so I should have said that the Republicans might (not will) prevent Obama from putting anyone on the Supreme Court. But health care reform suggests that they may be becoming more obstructionist.

  4. Wouldn't it be enough to make the filibuster a real filibuster again? Instead of simply declaring a filibuster, a senator would have to actually stand and read the phone book or whatever it is they do.

  5. Nah, the problem with that is that it ISN'T the phone book that would be read, it's the bill, (Assuming it was actually available to be read, which it seldom is these days.) or objections to it. They don't want real filibusters because they give the opposition a pulpit from which to speak, and an audience. They just want to shut the opposition up and WIN.

  6. As usual, you're lying (anybdoy – is there a case on record where Brett told the truth?). Any Senator can talk as long as he likes. The whole point of the pseudo-fillibuster is that the fillibusterers don't have to do anything; this kills things quietly and easily.

  7. Maybe filibuster-repeal would poll better if the question were presented as, "Do you think a single senator should be able to prevent all Americans aged 55 to 64 from buying into Medicare?" or "Do you think a single senator should be able to deprive 47 million Americans of reasonably-priced health insurance?" or the like.

  8. The point of the the pseudo-filibuster is generally that it doesn't prevent the Senate from doing something else. I'm simply pointing out that the Democratic leadership, in this case, has a rather obvious additional motive for not wanting a real filibuster to take place.

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