Monday, February 05, 2007

Talking About the War

With Mitch McConnell threatening a filibuster of the Warner compromise resolution on the "surge", I'd like to make a pitch for the majority to hold the minority to a good old-fashioned talking filibuster, rather than the namby-pamby affairs that have passed for filibusters over the last 30 years. Indeed, I can't recall a full-fledged talking filibuster since the time at whcih the Senate began broadcasting its proceedings on TV.

The modern practice has been to filibuster by consent. In other words, the filibustering senators announce a filibuster, and then the Senate moves on to other business, occasionally taking up the filibustered bill or resolution as time permits. Eventually, senators get sick of waiting (or not), and a cloture motion is presented, which may or may not pass. In any event, the business of the Senate doesn't grind to a halt; rather, the filibustered matter is ignored for a while.

It doesn't need to be that way, though. The majority leader effectively controls the flow of business through the Senate, usually on unanimous consent agreements with the minority leader. Frankly, I would like to hear the Mitch McConnell-and-minions of the Senate talk themselves to death over why the President's Iraq policy is the right policy. I think that they would sound ridiculous, but I think we need to have a full and public airing of the issues. And I'm betting that they wouldn't really have the guts (as Huey Long did in the 1940s) to talk about Cajun cooking, rather than about the issue at hand.

So, really, folks, let's have thhe Senate talk about Iraw. Keep talking until there's nothing more to say. Then vote.