Conservatives abuse filibuster use
Published: Wednesday, February 20, 2013
Updated: Wednesday, February 20, 2013 22:02
The filibuster is generally seen as an obstructionist tactic that serves no other purpose than to drag out legislation. This delay is used to wear out any given issue of debate, quite literally, and this can usually be effective when majority rule does not work out in a stubborn senator.
Much of the time, this can be done simply by rambling for hours on end. It is literally as simple as that; excessive speechmaking that would drive almost anyone to just “drop it.” The filibuster is abused even in the most decisive issues in the Senate at times.
This was attempted in the historical filibuster against the Civil Rights Act of 1964 when Democratic senator Robert C. Byrd personally spoke out against this bill for over 14 hours.
Yes, 14 hours was devoted personally by one senator in an attempt to drive the debate into exhaustion, thus hopefully killing that bill. Byrd and a group of other senators were determined to turning the tides of democracy in this use of the filibuster.
This was one of bills in our history that was fiercely fought by the filibuster tactic.
It was quite arguably a stain on the political history in our nation. With obstructionist politics and bigotry still prevalent, the abuse of the tactic was inevitable by some senators.
Byrd was also a KKK member in the 1940s and sympathizer, which he “renounced” eventually, claiming that he had also changed his views in opposition to that legislation. Although this was decades ago, obstructionist politics and political ambition has made the filibuster a constant irritation to American politics.
One would think that Byrd was embarrassed over his fight to overturn the tide of American democracy.
Nope! In fact, Byrd is the same senator who spearheaded a filibuster in favor of a preemptive military strike in Iraq.
The notion that one determined member of the senate or a small minority faction can stop democratic or social consensus is contrary to the will of the people. It is the antithesis of democracy in many senses. This is what much of the debate regarding filibusters has stemmed from.
As it has always been seen as childish tactics of obstructionism, the transfer of the public will to the implementation of legislation seems in question when a bill is defeated by filibustering.
Many charge that current conservative politicians in general have continually used obstructionist tactics in any way possible with political disregard for majority will. This is a public notion that our current political reality shows evidence of. The reality is that the current conservatives have abused this tactic. Under Obama’s administration, they have the record of most attempted filibusters in American history. In more than 150 instances, the filibuster has been used and abused.
This is a number that is sure to rise. Under six years of Democratic Senate majority: 400-plus.
Some of these bills filibustered by Republicans included a public transportation bill that was supported by many as a means of possible job creating efforts. These issues are among a number of current issues putting the debate about filibusters back on the table of political discussion.