Most people don’t understand the mess the Senate has become in terms of its delaying tactics and the use of filibuster by delay. The press doesn’t cover it, because they’d rather film people shouting at town halls than tell us why our system is broken.
The game nowadays, especially for Republicans, is not to vote against popular legislation. It’s to try to kill bills through endless amendments that delay or ultimately prohibit votes — and ultimately the use of the threat of filibuster by amendment to extract concessions from the Democrats that poison the chances of the bills passing.
When the Republicans tried this tactic two years ago to try to block the minimum wage increase by proposing amendment after amendment, and it looked like once again the minimum wage increase would not pass, despite the overwhelming victory the Dems had achieved, Ted flipped his lid, in an absolutely beautiful way, and showed why he will be sorely missed. Please take five minutes to watch it, it will inspire you:
Remember this video as you watch the health care debate, and the talk of reconciliation. When the Republicans say that reconciliation is not fair, they are saying that because of one reason only — it does not allow these sort of tactics. The best tribute to Kennedy at this point would be to push a good bill through via reconciliation, which will kill the game playing and allow our Senators to focus on the issue that was so close to Kennedy’s heart — how do we protect the weak, the underpaid, the people our society has forgotten. How do we of good fortune help those who have not been as lucky?
We can make that the discussion, or we can have another four weeks of pretend revisions and amendments and centrist posturing by people who are in practical terms obstructionists.
I know what Ted would have done.