From the Jan. 22, 2013, edition of “Viewpoint.”
Here’s what I want. I would like to see them fix the filibuster. Now, I was all set to slam Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid tonight for that. I was going to call Harry out for always compromising on his compromised compromises before bravely folding. I was all set to mock him for caving so hard there were miners trapped inside him.
But now I gotta wait.
As you guys know, the filibuster allows debate to be extended, or delayed, to prevent votes on proposals or bills. In theory, a filibuster requires a legislator to take the floor and talk — they can lecture, read the phone book, anything at all — until the clock runs out so you never get to vote and a bill dies. You know, democracy.
Now, under President Bill Clinton, the GOP broke all filibuster records, using it more to block his agenda than it had been used in several previous decades combined. And they’ve topped that under Barack Obama, proving our friends in the GOP do go for some self-improvement.
But the GOP has largely stopped actually filibustering — they just threaten to, and the Democrats cower in fear rather than calling the Republicans’ bluff and forcing Mitch McConnell to stand on the Senate floor for 50 hours reading “50 Shades of Grey” — that might be better read by the Senate majority whip.
That’s all Harry Reid’s critics really want — make the Republicans actually do the talking filibuster, instead of a sulking filibuster. Let the voters and the taxpayers see the GOP wasting valuable Senate time to prevent the people’s business from being voted on, while we pay for it.
See, Harry Reid doesn’t like to be pressured for filibuster reform. It makes him very angry — so angry he could just tear the tassels off his loafers.
Well, today was the last day Harry Reid could actually do something about it and this morning we began hearing reports that Sen. Reid was going to back down. So I got all set to slam him for it right here, and then he filibustered my tantrum.
Sen. Reid said he was going to delay the vote by having a Senate recess — not an adjournment. This means that today, as the first legislative day of the new session, is a day that’s officially going to go on for days and days and days longer. Like that time I watched “The Hobbit.”
Now Harry Reid, I know you’re watching. I’m willing to give you the benefit of the doubt. I’m so willing to believe you’re not just kicking the can down the road because Democrats and Republicans are locked in this perpetual fake game of good cop/bad cop that only helps the wealthy and never gets real reform accomplished. But there’s one thing, Harry, I learned in second grade: if you’re afraid of bullies, the last thing you want to have is more recess.
So while Harry Reid decides whether to make the dysfunctional Senate a little more functional, you know what you can do? Why don’t you let him know how you feel? Give the good senator a call at the number on this screen and let him know you have his back — if he has yours.
But don’t call too much, ‘cause that makes him mad. And when Harry Reid gets really mad, he turns into Bill Bixby.