John Burton Attacks Lieberman, Calls For End To Filibuster

California Democratic Party Chair John Burton sent an email this morning to the CDP list calling on respondents to email Senator Harry Reid to end the filibuster. Quoted from the email:

I’ll get right to the point: I’m through trying to figure Lieberman out. I’m through with holding my nose as I watch Democrats cobble together compromise after compromise on his behalf only to have him turn his back on us and on the millions of Americans in desperate need of reform….

Enough is enough. It’s time to end Joe Lieberman’s reign of terror and restore democracy to the Senate by changing Rule 22 and ending the filibuster….

Make no mistake: the threat of filibuster has resulted in too many victories for the status quo and is the single greatest impediment to real and lasting change in health care and beyond. With critical issues like climate change coming up on the legislative agenda, it’s clear that we can no longer afford to continue with business as usual in the Senate…

We have the votes to do it — it only takes a simple majority to end this anti-democratic practice. All we need is the will of the Democratic leadership in the Senate, and that’s where you come in.

Obviously this is primarily intended as a list-builder for the CDP. But it’s also a significant call for fundamental change in the way the US Senate operates. Burton will get no argument from me about the undemocratic nature of the filibuster – one of Obama’s most important mistakes was his failure to call for an end to the filibuster upon taking office, something that might have been possible back in January and could have spared him some of the headaches he’s dealt with this year.

Of course, California has two rather powerful US Senators. Has Burton delivered this “kill the filibuster” message to Dianne Feinstein and Barbara Boxer? If Burton is serious about killing the filibuster, and I hope he is, then he should have no hesitation calling on our own Senators to support an end to the filibuster.

…additionally, I’m with Jane Hamsher on this, Lieberman is an easy scapegoat; Reid and Obama bear far more responsibility for what has happened.

6 thoughts on “John Burton Attacks Lieberman, Calls For End To Filibuster”

  1. While I agree with Burton, he’s hardly the person to scold others on failing to end anti-democratic practices.

  2. should turn his attention to his own baliwick, and lend a hand with the 2/3 budget and tax rules, instead of declaring it DOA before lifting a finger.

  3. Here in California and in Washington supermajorities are impairing accountability.

    If we can not pass a decent healthcare bill, when thousands die due to no health insurance, and thousands are bankrupted that do have helath insurance, then how are we going to pass climate change legislation or EFCA?

    We need to return the filibuster to the rules that governed it a decade or generation ago.

    And we need to see some real audacity from our President.

  4. I’m sorry but the filibuster isn’t something we should so easily be prepared to dismiss.

    I agree it’s being used far too often, but when the tables were reversed and the democrats were clinging to the filibuster as the only mechanism left to prevent bad appointments, I thought it was a pretty good saving grace.

    In addition, I thought the agreement to only use the filibuster when absolutely necessary was a good compromise.  I think under the current congress, that compromise is no longer being followed.  (Though, I would frankly agree that the healthcare measure might in fact qualify under the old compromise, the extensive use of the filibuster on everything this year has not.)

    I would like to find a way to preserve some part of the filibuster.  I think Rule 22 needs to be changed, but stripping out the filibuster altogether is short sighted.  I don’t want the Senate to turn into the House where the majority party runs roughshod over all.  That’s not a good idea either.

    I will admit that California has shown us what happens when the minority party is given too much power, but let’s not assume strict majority complete rule is suddenly the best thing ever.  Prop 8 and the 8 years before Obama showed us exactly why minority viewpoints need protection against strict majority rule.

    As frustrating as this all is, and I think it’s insanely frustrating, I personally am hoping they lob the parts they don’t get through under normal rules to reconciliation.  I actually think there’s a truly devious and wonderful way to pass healthcare with a public option still open here and I hope Obama’s pursuing it.  (There’s a major problem with reconciliation that’s being solved right now, if they pull this off then they have a good chance to come back and fix things nicely later.)

  5. We need just one liberal senator to refuse to vote for cloture as long as the public option isn’t in the bill.  

    C’mon, filibuster Lieberman….make him useless

  6. I cannot agree with tossing out the filibuster completely, as the US Senate is an inherently undemocratic institution.

    Using the official figures from 2000, the 26 smallest states have a combined population of 50,025,674, or 17.8% of the total population of 281,424,177, and just 76 of the 435 members of the House.  I’d rather not allow the mantra of “democracy” to lead to a situation where the desires of an overwhelming majority of the nation’s voters are ignored because 51 small state senators want their agenda,

    The filibuster does serve as a useful check on potential outrages by the minority, as we saw during the Republican majority.  What needs to be curbed is the abuse by the likes of Liberman & Nelson, where the merest threat causes retreat.  I would prefer the old-style system, where cloture needs to be invoked only if a filibuster is actually underway & Senator Droopy Dawg is standing in the well reciting recipes for latkes or something.  No more of these hypothetical filibusters.

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