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Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Progressive Newcomers to Senate Suggest Crucial Filibuster Reform On the Way

Greg Sargent:
Senator Jeff Merkley, the co-author of a package of filibuster reforms, has secured commitments from nine leading Dem Senate candidates to throw themselves behind fixing the filibuster if they are elected... includ[ing] Elizabeth Warren, Tammy Baldwin, Martin Heinrich, Tim Kaine and Heidi Heitkamp. If Dems do hold the Senate, we could be looking at a more progressive Democratic caucus next year, thanks to this year’s crop of unexpectedly solid progressive candidates. This could result in more pressure on the Dem leadership to actually go through with reform. Merkley is calling for reforms that, among other things, would force the filibustering party to play a much more public role in obstructing the majority -- perhaps making it politically less appetizing. The Senate has already adopted one proposed reform, the elimination of the secret hold. This spring, Harry Reid caused a stir when he said he’d finally seen the light on the need for real reform... [T]he unprecedented GOP obstructionism of the last four years may have persuaded Reid, as David Dayen put it recently, that the Senate has become a “super majority institution” that is “governed by a tyranny of the minority” and is “horrendously broken.” ... It would be an ironic outcome if the very plot hatched by GOP leaders to deny Obama a second term -- abusing the rules and rendering the institution dysfunctional to turn his presidency into a failure -- is what finally created the political will among Dems to take steps towards ending such dysfunction and abuse for good.
This is such an encouraging prospect I don't even mind his misuse of the word "ironic" in reporting it.


Anonymous said...

This is such an encouraging prospect I don't even mind his misuse of the word "ironic" in reporting it.

Situational irony. His is a perfectly acceptable usage.

Dale Carrico said...

If I may put on my pedant cap for a moment (I know some would say I never take it off), I personally disapprove the term "situational irony" as mostly an effort at accommodating general ignorance and misuse and at the cost of the significant relinquishment of sense of one of rhetoric's four master tropes. The closest I'll come to accepting the term is to agree that dramatic irony is somewhat situational, although even then it depends on the awareness of an audience that the state of affairs being attested to by a character is in fact the opposite of what is the case. That unexpected things happens, let alone simply bad things, is not ironic -- no matter how many statisticians report otherwise. In my humble opinion, of course.

Dale Carrico said...

And about that humble there? Ironic.