The filibuster may be well established in the popular consciousness — think of long-winded senators speechifying for days. But because modern Senate rules allow lawmakers to avoid the spectacle of pontificating by merely threatening the act, filibusters and the efforts to overcome them are being used more frequently, and on more issues, than at any other point in history.
So far in this first year of the 110th Congress, there have been 72 motions to stop filibusters, most on the Iraq war but also on routine issues like reauthorizing Amtrak funding. There were 68 such motions in the full two years of the previous Congress, 53 in 1987-88 and 23 in 1977-78. In 1967-68, there were 5 such votes, one of them on a plan to amend cloture itself, which failed.
A record breaking year of obstructing the House by the Senate.
Now, I am sure readers have differing opinions on whether or not this is a good thing. It seems Sen. Mitch McConnell is taking the founders' idea to new extremes.
Upon his return [from France], Jefferson visited Washington and asked why the Convention delegates had created a Senate. "Why did you pour that coffee into your saucer?" asked Washington. "To cool it," said Jefferson. "Even so," responded Washington, "we pour legislation into the senatorial saucer to cool it."
Oh and congratulations to a friend of mine who used to work for Gov. Walker: she made it on the Oprah show! She's famous now.