Filibuster Bluster

by John J. Pitney, Jr.

In the Washington Post, Harold Meyerson attacks the Senate filibuster: “A more corrosive attack on the first principle of democracy, that of majority rule, is hard to conceive.” Not long ago, however, he thought that filibustering was just dandy.  After the GOP regained the Senate majority in 2002, he wrote: “Only the filibuster now stands between the nation and the unchecked rule of the most right-wing, xenophobic and belligerent administration in the nation’s history.” Two years later, he lamented further Republican gains: “With the number of Democrats in the Senate reduced to 44 (45 counting fellow traveler Jim Jeffords), it will be harder for the Dems to sustain filibusters against forthcoming Bush Supreme Court appointments and the other mischief soon to come upon us.” A few months after that, he worried that Republicans might try to change McCain-Feingold. If such a move got past GOP disharmony and McCain’s opposition, he said, “the Democrats would have to apply the third brake: a Senate filibuster.”