Here’s a quick duck-in to discuss some hobbyhorses of mine–the Polanski debacle, and the Senate filibuster rules! (What, you didn’t know I have an obsession with that? Good thing most of you haven’t met me in person, I natter on about them a lot.)
First, Jay Smooth does an amazing take down of all the arguments people have been throwing around about why Rapin’ Roman should go free or something:
Like a lot of people, I always like Jay Smooth, but that was teh awesome.
(h/t to the fabulous Lena D.)
Next, here’s a nifty piece from Gail Collins and everyone’s favorite muddle-headed voice of conservative received wisdom, David Brooks, where they talk about the House’s recent health care bill. Gail voices one of my particular frustrations with the Senate’s arcane rules:
We used to think of the filibuster as a dramatic, once-in-a-blue-moon vehicle that was used only in extreme circumstances, like Jimmy Stewart in “Mr. Smith Goes to Washington.” (What I like about that movie, in retrospect, is that Stewart was not standing there, holding the floor all by himself for hour after hour until he collapsed from exhaustion, in order to save puppies or fight unemployment. It was because the evil Claude Rains was trying to destroy his career, and Jimmy had to prove that he was as saintly as ever. It was all about him. So very Senate like.) Or, of course, when the Southerners wanted to stop civil rights legislation.
But now, a minority of senators don’t have to bother to actually keep talking, or take turns talking, or even hang around the chambers to bring progress to a screeching halt. They just declare their intention (it’s the thought that counts) and nothing can go forward without 60 votes.
That’s crazy. If we’re going to have this system, the filibuster should be reserved for matters that can’t be undone later, like important judicial nominations. Or wars. Not normal domestic policy, no matter how large.
I so 100% agree with that. It would be a will of the people moment–if you’ve judged opinion correctly, then people will support your principled stand against oppressive legislation; otherwise, they’ll think you’re a bunch of obstructionist clowns.
Honestly, I can’t see why the Democrats wouldn’t go for this–can you imagine the glee in Chuck Shumer’s face as he goes on talk show after talk show to run the same damn clip of Orrin Hatch reading the AMA membership lists into the Congressional Record? It would be great.
Gail then goes on to attack Joe Lieberman, which is always good fun. She doesn’t, however, mention the single largest problem with the health care bills: the evil Stupak-Pitts amendment, the greatest rollback in women’s health and reproductive rights in over a quarter of a century, and something Ms. Collins might presumably be interested in.
Unless, of course, she thinks it’s just “politics” instead of “fundamental rights.”
Or maybe she was afraid of offending Bobo’s delicate sensibilities. WEV.