It's no secret that the filibuster, by making it drastically more
difficult in recent months for the Senate to accomplish anything, has hamstrung all of government
, particularly President Obama's political agenda
. We've heard dubious predictions
for the death of the filibuster before. But, as The Atlantic's James Fallows explained
retiring Democratic Senator Evan Bayh has an opportunity to finally
make it happen. In a lengthy op-ed in today's New York Times, Bayh
proposes not exactly that, but a typically Bayhian compromise. Here's
what Bayh suggests and pundits evaluating whether it will make a
- Evan Bayh's Filibuster-Lite Senator Bayh explains
his proposal: Reduce the number of voted required to overturn from 60
to 55, require 35 Senators to back a filibuster, and make them go
through with actually filibustering instead of just threatening it.
"During my father’s era, filibusters were commonly used to block civil
rights legislation and, in 1975, the requisite number of votes was
reduced to 60 from 67. The challenges facing the country today are so
substantial that further delay imperils the Republic and warrants
another reduction in the supermajority requirement."
- Does He Have The Will? The Atlantic's James Fallows allows some optimism.
"I will confess that most of the reader messages I received boiled down
to: 'Don't get your hopes up, he has never rocked the boat.' OK. But in
keeping with the 'today is the first day of the rest of your political
life' philosophy, I'm going to judge by the evidence as long as it's
positive." Fallows hopes Bayh will take Mr. Smith Goes To Washington as
- Bayh's Amazing Liberal Turn NBC News' Chuck Todd notes that Bayh, a moderate centrist, occasionally enrages liberals for joining with Republicans. "Evan
Bayh just put on a release pledging to 'fix the filibuster.' Will this
push win him over those on the left who love to hate him?" In the case of The New Republic's Jonathan Cohn, it already has. "Things I never thought I'd write: Evan Bayh is making a lot of sense in his NYT oped."
- We Can Already Make Them Filibuster Time's Karen Tumulty cheers Bayh,
but notes that the Senate already has the power to force filibustering
Senators to actually go through with their filibuster. "Of course, it
is possible to force a filibustering Senator to filibuster, even
without such a petition. Senator Bayh might want to discuss that
possibility with Majority Leader Harry Reid."
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