Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Why did filibustering become so popular?

Greg Koger has been doing a really rich bunch of posts over at Monkey Cage on the subject of the filibuster. Today, he explained a trend that a lot of people have been noticing: the dramatic rise of filibusters in the past few decades. The Senate wasn't always a supermajoritarian chamber. You used to be able to pass even controversial legislation with a simple majority, just like in the House. Filibusters were rare and very costly to stage. What changed? As Greg explains,
Filibustering became an everyday event because senators began responding to obstruction by attempting cloture rather than attrition, i.e. waiting for filibustering senators to become exhausted. This change in tactics decreased the costs for obstruction, and once it was easy, then more senators were willing to filibuster against a broader range of proposals.
It's a good post. Read the whole thing.

And stay tuned for Greg's defense of the indefensible....

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