We can no longer entertain more mushy-mouthed both-sides talk on the filibuster, an obstructive tool not found in the Constitution that has been historically used to block civil rights progress and, similarly, is being wielded by Republicans now to turn the Senate into the legislative graveyard for Joe Biden’s agenda.
Thankfully, in Tuesday night’s ABC News interview, Biden for the first time offered his robust support for reforming the filibuster. He longed for a return of the “talking filibuster,” which has been romanticized by Mr. Smith Goes to Washington in which Jimmy Stewart plays an earnest and sincere first-term senator who collapses on the floor after a marathon 25-hour speech to delay a corrupt appropriation bill.
Senator Mitch McConnell might not last even 25 minutes, but I could certainly see Senator Josh Hawley and Senator Ted Cruz milking the stage to inveigh against Dr. Seuss and Potato Head’s pronouns for 25 hours. This reform might weaken the filibuster by adding some extra hurdles, but the weapon would still be on the table, partially loaded and effective enough to kill progress on gun control, infrastructure, election security, climate change and any other issue that the majority wants to advance so we can confront the challenges of the 21st century.