Gail Collins has obviously been lurking on this blog. She is complaining about Senator Shelby’s hold on some 70 Obama nominees, a hold that he will release if he gets some pork for his state. Apparently, the inner workings of a senatorial hold involve the filibuster rule. I’m not sure why, maybe the senators “respect” each other so much that you can’t get forty of them to vote to ignore a hold, although I have also read that holds have on occasion been ignored. Anyway, I’ll take Ms. Collins’s’ word for it that holds depend on the tacit observance of the filibuster rule.
Yesterday, I was asked by credoaction.com, a liberal website, to sign a petition demanding that Shelby be made to defend his hold by actually filibustering. Again, I don’t know why that’s the issue, but since Credoaction.com says it is, I’ll assume it is. (I signed the petition.)
Unlike Ms. Collins, who appears to support elimination of the filibuster, an elimination I would oppose, Credoaction.com merely wants those who say they will filibuster to have to go ahead and do it. Amen to that.
So here’s a proposal for next election cycle. Every senatorial candidate must pledge that he or she (i) will not threaten to filibuster a bill unless he or she will speak for twelve hours non-stop (with pee-breaks made possible by “questions” from colleagues) against the bill, and (ii) will call for a vote on any issue that the opposition has threatened to filibuster, so that the opposition will be forced actually to filibuster bills it cares enough to do the work to stop.