Bring Back The Classic Filibuster!

Recently I made a comment on an Instapundit article, “Abolish The Filibuster Entirely, Then Ram All The New Bills Through“, that we should adopt filibuster approach we had before 1970. This is the same opinion I voiced on this subject back in February in the post, Reforming The Filibuster. Peter Hanely in a subsequent comment referred to this filibuster approach as the “classic filibuster” which I have since adopted.  Now both George Will and Steven Hayward have adopted the same idea. Here is a quote from Mr. Hayward’s article, Bring Back The Filibuster.

George Will beat me to my idea for today’s Thought of the Morning with a column about the Senate filibuster based on a recent talk by Rep. Tom McClintock, who argued in Hillsdale’s Imprimis that what we should do is go back to the old way of doing filibusters. With all of the talk of ending the filibuster, at least for Supreme Court nominees, maybe we should instead talk of imposing the burden of a real filibuster on Democrats. Make the Democrats take and hold the Senate floor for weeks to block Gorsuch.

I really like that this approach preserves the good parts of the filibuster while placing a significant burden on the bad parts of the filibuster, partisanship without accountability.

Reforming The Filibuster

I was struck by this passage in the latest Imprimis issue, How and Why the Senate Must Reform the Filibuster.

But beginning in 1970, the number of filibusters exploded by a magnitude of 36-fold. There have been 1,700 in the 46 years since then. Why? Because in 1970, Senate Majority Leader Mike Mansfield instituted a “two-track” system that allowed the Senate, by unanimous consent or the approval of the minority leader, to bypass a filibustered bill and go on to another. This relieved a filibustering senator of the job of having to talk through the night and it relieved his colleagues of their frustration.

The over-use of filibusters goes against the middle-class view of a well-functioning government. If the Senate would like to get back on the good side of the middle-class voters, a good start would be to get rid of the “two-track” system.