May 01, 2005
FILIBUSTERING FRIST AT PRINCETON: TigerHawk has an interesting report, and what I think is a spot-on observation:
I think that these Princeton students have the right idea: If you are going to filibuster, then you should have to filibuster. Filibusters should come at some personal and political cost. We should abolish the candy-ass filibusters of modern times, and require that if debate is not closed it must therefore happen.
The prospect of John Kerry, Hillary Clinton or Ted Kennedy bloviating for hours on C-SPAN would deter filibusters except when the stakes are dire, if for no other reason than the risk that long debate would create a huge amount of fodder for negative advertising. If Frist were to enact the "reform" of the filibuster instead of its repeal, he would sieze the high ground.
Filibusters, traditionally, were an expensive proposition for the filibusterers, and the recent rule changes that removed those costs fly in the face of the very Senate traditions that pro-filibuster folks are invoking. This reform makes sense to me, as it would ensure that the filibuster-nuke is dropped only when the stakes are high enough that the minority is willing to pay a price.