The filibuster in the Senate has been almost the only tool available to Republicans the past two years to stem the tide of Obamamania among Democrats. And as it turns out, thwarting Obama’s plans was in sync with the voters, who made it known in 2010 that 2008 was like a night of binge drinking, much regretted.
Naturally, Democrats are frustrated. All returning Democrats have signed a letter to Harry Reid asking for unspecified changes to the filibuster rule in the incoming Senate session.
The timing on this is interesting.
With a solid Republican majority in the House, the filibuster takes on less importance for Republicans. The threat of a filibuster still will play into the politics of judicial nominations, but not much else. With so many Democrats in the Senate up for reelection, the “centrist” block of Democrats may make a filibuster unnecessary in most events.
So if Democrats change the filibuster rule, will they be shooting themselves in the foot?
In 2012 there is a reasonable likelihood of a Republican majority in both houses of Congress. If Obama loses, and Republicans find themselves in the position Democrats have been in the past two years, things could get very interesting with relaxed filibuster rules. Even if Obama wins, the ability of a Republican Senate to pass on legislation to Obama — requiring a veto — will be an important political tool.
What goes around, comes around. Senators, having the long memories they do, understand this, even if the rabble in the left-wing blogosphere do not.
I would be surprised to see any meaningful weakening of the filibuster rule.
The filibuster is a card Harry Reid wants to keep in his back pocket if things head south (along with the population) in 2012.