The View From Squag City: It is Monday the 21st, 2013. The President has already been sworn in for his second term, apparently without the minor hitch that occurred in 2009. Millions of Americans have heard the President’s Second Inaugural Address, a speech so clear and compelling that even the hyper-critical partisans in Washington can lay down their rhetorical arms and agree to move the country forward. We so desparately need a return to national politics that includes both principle and compromise.
It is a huge thing to hope for, and if it is to happen, the first step will be taken tomorrow in the United States Senate, where rules changes may be adopted by majority vote for one day. Most important among those changes will be new rules that limit the corruption caused by the "phantom" filibuster. Nothing except “unlimited money” has demeaned the process of Senate lawmaking more than the current use of filibustering. The notion that a single U.S. Senator can block passage of any legislative bill merely by informing the leadership of his or her intent to filibuster is a mockery of our democratic process. Yet that is what the rules now allow. The filibuster has become an important tool of those with “unlimited money,” a tool they use to frustrate the will of the American people.
Luckily for New Hampshire, our senior Senator, Jeanne Shaheen, has spoken out strongly on this issue of filibuster reform. She has lent her powerful voice to the call for new rules limiting the use of filibusters to block actual voting in the Senate. We can only hope that there are enough thoughtful people in the United States Senate, people who agree with Senator Shaheen, to return our upper legislative body to the principle of “majority rules" once again.