It’s been a little over a month since former president Barack Obama blessed the increasingly popular notion of doing away with the Senate filibuster. “If all this takes eliminating the filibuster, another Jim Crow relic, in order to secure the God-given rights of every American,” he told the congregants at John Lewis’s funeral, “then that’s what we should do.”
And just as Obama had no compunction about using this alleged relic of Jim Crow — as a senator he took to the floor more than once to defend the practice as a vital tool in preserving constitutional checks and balances and genuine debate — Democrats have no problem using it whenever it suits them.
In the past few months Democrats have filibustered:
1. Tim Scott’s police-reform bill. Let’s remember that Republicans offered to allow Democrats as many votes on amendments as they desired. Scott even promised Democrats that he would filibuster his own bill if the GOP didn’t keep its promise. Instead of a good-faith debate, Dick Durbin called the bill a “token,” and Democrats used an alleged vestige of 20th-century bigotry to stop him.
2. A coronavirus relief bill. Considering the headlines — CNBC, for example, has “Senate Republicans fail to advance coronavirus stimulus bill as stalemate drags on” — many Americans may not know that only one Republican, Rand Paul, voted against the measure.
Democrats don’t have a problem with the filibuster; they have a problem with Republicans using the filibuster.