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The Filibuster-Everything Minority

The above graphic appears in this Campaign for America’s Future report on the unprecedented obstructionism of the Senate Republican caucus. As they write, “A roll call of the bills subject to conservative filibuster shows a vision for a different America. Conservatives filibustered bills to end the occupation of Iraq, reduce subsidies for oil companies, and allow residents of the District of Columbia to vote. Conservatives used the filibuster to kill legislation that would increase renewable sources for electricity and that would allow soldiers in Iraq rest time equal to their deployments.”

Digby’s right to note the screwy media coverage of this. I got asked by a radio producer maybe 36 hours ago if I thought the congress’ failure to “get things done” would hurt Democrats in 2008. I said I thought not, that part of being in the majority is that you only bring up for consideration issues where the public favors your position. The Republicans, thus, have been blocking lots of popular Democratic measures which should hurt them in the fall. She reacted as if this was an unusual perspective, which I guess it is, but it says something that it’s an unusual perspective.

But, of course, I might be wrong; this hurting Republicans in 2008 is dependent on voters understanding what’s happening and I’m not sure they are. Certainly, though, the GOP is playing a risky game. It’s worth considering, though, that they’re trying this strategy because they think it works. They think, in particular, that during 1993–94 they very successfully stymied Bill Clinton’s agenda and then used their own obstructionism to paint him as a “failure” leading to big gains in the midterms. Unless a whole bunch of Senate Republicans lose their seats next year, you can expect 2009 to be even more full of filibusters than the current congress has been. Even a landslide triumph in the presidential election for your “change agent” of choice probably won’t make a big difference unless enough Senators go down to induce panic.

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