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November 12, 2003
Filibuster: Your Remedy for Insomnia

I'm not linking to anything specific here, but just a couple of bipartisan thoughts on tonight's debate in the well of the Senate. I've been flipping back and forth (I can't miss a new episode of South Park, after all), and my insistence on watching the marathon debate claimed its first victim: my wife. She fell asleep at 7 pm and went to bed. My insomnia seems to be more resistant to the blathering, but it's getting to be a close-run thing.

Right now, I'm watching Harry Reid, D-Nevada, who had a clever moment earlier. He claimed he had a chart showing the administration's efforts to create jobs, and put up a blank white board. He then said, "If you turn it around, it shows the exact same data." Despite everything, he's pretty entertaining.

Now, Charles Schumer, D-NY, keeps pointing at the score, 168-4, saying that the 4 were rejected, when truly they weren't considered at all. Rejection would indicate a vote, which they're not receiving. Schumer is also a good speaker, and makes the distinction that there has only been one successful filibuster of a judicial nominee, but several have been attempted. They've been defeated because Republicans didn't back them in lockstep. Good point, and Schumer, as always, is a very effective speaker, probably most effective when asking for input into the nomination process.

Larry Craig, R-ID, is reading a letter from a senator that participated in the Fortas debate (Robert Griffin), that blows up the notion that Fortas was filibustered. I'm sure there will be a contradictory arguments, but that casts some doubt on the other "filibuster" examples from Schumer's speech. The debate on Fortas went four days, with normal debate instead of blockading speeches. Craig is also a good speaker, somewhat passionate, but good.

In fact, every senator I've seen so far has spoken pretty well. It's just that the issues involved are so arcane that it's hard to see any real drama in it. Here's the problem: this process has been broken since the Bork nomination in 1987, and both parties are guilty of gaming the system. After the 30 hours is up, let's hope all heads cool off a bit and come up with a way to live with each other. That wasn't going to happen, though, without some public demonstration of frustration by the Republicans.

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Posted by Ed Morrissey at November 12, 2003 10:13 PM

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