Sunday, January 31, 2010
At the end of the PA Progressive Summit, Senator Arlen Specter was kind enough to take a few moments for an interview with us. I asked him what concrete steps he is taking to work with his former party members towards a reduction in their use of the filibuster.
As you can see, the Republicans are on track to have threatened the filibuster far more often than ever before. In response, liberals all across the netroots have posed the thought of ending the filibuster once and for all.
There are many good reasons to end the filibuster and a few bad reasons. Ultimately, if the Republicans demand 60 votes for every piece of legislation in existence, than the true purpose of the filibuster has been lost and it should be eliminated. But that might be using a shotgun to punch a hole in a piece of paper.
Senator Specter is in a position that other Democrats are not. Those Republicans filibustering everything are his former party members. He likely has a much stronger personal relationship than other Democrats with many members on the other side of the aisle. So asked him if he could share with us some concrete steps that he is taking to work with them towards returning the filibuster to a level more consistent with the historic use of the filibuster.
This may be one of the few advantages that Senator Specter has over Congressman Joe Sestak. Folks appreciate someone who can move the other side. In this election, he should, and has, played on that fact. At Netroots Nation last year, he got a great applause when he said he would call Senator Grassley the minute he stepped back stage to tell him to tone down the rhetoric against the health care proposals.