The consensus was that Joe Biden gave a rousing speech Tuesday in Philadelphia that will do nothing to derail voter suppression efforts in red states around the country. So what was the point?
I asked my neighbor Swamp Rabbit but he was too drunk or depressed to comment, so I answered for him: “The point was to buy time, I guess, in the hope that Senate Democrats In Name Only (mainly Joe Manchin and Kyrsten Sinema) will rejoin the home team to ensure passage of the For the People Act, if and when the Senate votes on it.”
Biden accurately noted the gravity of the situation — “We’re facing the most significant test of our democracy since the Civil War” — but somehow failed to mention that there is no hope for For the People unless Democrats use their ultra-thin majority to either strike down or amend the Senate’s filibuster provision, which was often used in past eras to block civil rights legislation. Amazingly, he didn’t even voice the word “filibuster” during his 25-minute speech.
Meanwhile, the new civil war is heating up and the new Confederates are advancing on all fronts. Most notably, a platoon of Democratic legislators has had to retreat all the way to Washington, D.C., to prevent a Republican voter suppression bill from becoming law in Texas. The Texas Dems are counting on Biden and Senate Dems to turn the tide.
But that isn’t likely to happen anytime soon. There exists a yawning gulf between Biden’s stirring rhetoric and the ruthless tactics of Republicans lawmakers who no longer even pretend to believe in protecting the voting rights of those likely to vote against them. And another gulf between Democrats who support voting rights and the DINOs who have sided with the forces that are restricting those rights.
“What did you expect?” said Swamp Rabbit, breaking his silence after downing a double shot of some vile home brew. “Biden is an Obama Democrat — too much talk, not enough action. A reacher across the aisle. A guy who thinks he can compromise with racists. If this is democracy’s biggest test since the Civil War, and Dems have a majority in the Senate, then how come Biden ain’t trying harder to get the DINOs to do the right thing? Why not go to their home states and appeal to the suckers who voted for them?”
“Manchin is a millionaire and a faux-populist in a dirt-poor Republican state,” I replied. “Sinema is an insecure dummy whose politics became more rightwing as her power grew. She recently wrote an error-riddled op-ed defending the filibuster. One of the DINOs might jump to the GOP if Biden puts too much pressure on them.”
Swamp Rabbit laughed. “Let ’em jump. The Dems can pick up Senate seats in other states. What’s the point of having a majority if some of your soldiers are gonna switch sides during the most important battles?”
“Beats the hell out of me,” I confessed. “All I know is the Confederates will keep attacking. If the Dems lose this battle, Jim Crow wins the war.”
Could it be that the Dems want to retain the filibuster because they may eventually need it?
LikeLiked by 1 person
I agree with Sen. Raphael Warnock, the Democrat from Georgia who recently argued that voting rights “is bigger than the filibuster.” If the filibuster provision isn’t modified in this case, then Republican-imposed voting restrictions will make it more difficult for Dems to win future elections. The filibuster won’t help Dems much if elections are no longer free and fair.
Put another way, there is always a danger that some future Congress will undo laws passed by the current Congress. But that doesn’t mean Congress should stop making new laws. And it doesn’t mean that Republicans, when they regain the majority, are automatically going to kill laws passed by a Democratic-majority Congress. In recent years, Republicans could have rescinded Medicare and Medicaid with a simple majority, using the so-called reconciliation option, but they didn’t dare because the programs are too popular.
Pingback: 3.5 billion dollars short and six months late | Odd Man Out