Thursday, May 19, 2005

Assault on the Senate

I read this editorial in the Seattle Times by David Broder, and I was so annoyed by the repeated mischaracterization of filibusters that I e-mailed this letter to the editor off. We'll see if they print it

David Broder in "Assault on the Senate", and many Democrats, are being disingenuous when they say that filibusters are about "unlimited debate". Historically filibusters are not used because senators want to discuss an issue in more depth, but because a minority of senators want to block a vote on something they know will pass otherwise.During the most famous filibusters, attempts by Southern Democrats in the 50's and 60's to obstruct civil rights reforms, senators did not argue the case on the merits, but would just read off random items such as the bible or their wives's recipe books. One of the most famous cases was a 14 hour marathon by current Democratic SenatorRobert Byrd to block the landmark 1964 Civil Rights Act. Is this the proud tradition of debate that the Democrats really want to honor?

No comments: