What kind of idiot do they take you for?

In the hands of Republicans, the filibuster seems to be a silver bullet. They used it today without firing a shot. The Democratic majority wanted to fashion some legislation, but lacked the 60 votes to stop a filibuster. As a result, no go. It now takes 60% of the Senate to pass a bill, where it used to take the Republicans only 51%. What’s going on here?

That’s a question the media won’t ask. Or answer. Someone must have polled the American public and discovered that the term filibuster is misunderstood, and can thus mean whatever the media needs it to be.

In the hands of Democrats, to filibuster is to impose partisan gridlock upon conservatives trying to help our blessed nation. How dare the Dems even threaten such divisive stubbornness?

As a Republican tool, the filibuster is a trump card, a fait accomplit. They needn’t even roll out the overnight cots for round the clock monopolizing of the microphone. Saying you’ll filibuster is threat enough to make the Dems back down.

Are civics no longer taught in high school? I remember a filibuster was a tool opponents of a bill could use to force a little reciprocity from the majority party sponsors. A filibuster meant holding the floor of the Senate hostage for as long as you and your colleagues could hold out. Hopefully provoking the sponsors of the bill to consider some concessions in the phrasing. To do a filibuster you had to be prepared for a marathon speaking session, a continuous tag team of allies holding forth on the debate until somebody dropped. It was politically risky to be seen shutting down DC just to keep your rivals from having their way. And so filibusters were always rare.

Back when the Republicans dominated Congress, filibusters were like hurricanes in Hartford, Hereford, and Hampshire, they hardly happened. The media cautioned that the political fallout would be too great for the Democrats if they should try so vaingloriously to oppose the mandate of the electorate, self-evident by the nature of the GOP having the 51% majority.

What’s become of the media’s admonitions now? Where are their words of caution to the Republican minority? What even has become of their definition of filibuster? Now to filibuster is to fire a shot across the bow, to feign showing your fangs to make your opponents back down. You don’t have to do it, you don’t have to take the heat for doing it. If the “majority” doesn’t have the margin to stop it, it’s as good as done. And the Democrats dutifully follow the choreographed capitulations and the media dutifully doesn’t question the illogic.

If my naval analogy was appropriate, let me add that the shot across the bow was not delivered by a ship of inferior firepower, it always came from the superior ship as a warning that it had come within range and would decimate its target if the lesser rated craft did not immediately heave to.

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