Push comes to shove

Should Obama lead a filibuster against Mukasey?

I don’t know that the Mukasey nomination is the best place for Congressional Democrats to take a firm stand against torture. But I know that someplace is better than no place, and so far they haven’t been able to get a handle on the problem.

The defections of DiFi and Schumer guarantee that the Mukasey nomination will hit the floor. Lieberman, naturally, joined the Dark Side early. This is not a vote Ben Nelson of Nebraska is likely to stand firm on. The same may apply to Nelson of Florida and Landrieu. But six from 51 leaves 45, the last time I checked, and we only need 41 to sustain a filibuster. Nor is it obvious that McCain would do the wrong thing; he can duck, and not showing up for a cloture vote is the same as voting “no.”

So if I were a Senator, I’d be inclined to go for a filibuster. And if I were Barack Obama, I think I’d be inclined to lead one.

This is probably not a winning issue in a general election. But I’m pretty sure it’s a winning issue among Iowa and New Hampshire Democrats.

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: Markarkleiman-at-gmail.com