|Some positive details of Udall's plan:
-lawmakers would have to be present on the floor if they want to filibuster
-procedures to filibuster would be reduced in number
This sounds alright so far, doesn't it? Allow me to characterize the following aspects of this proposal as negative, or at least potentially negative.
Sen. Udall wrote the resolution "in conjunction with American Enterprise Institute scholar Norm Ornstein, a Republican expert in Senate procedure..."
Sen. Udall and Sen. Bennet like to tout their approach to governance under "bipartisan" framing. I and others here have argued against that strategy for years, given the desire of the Republican Teabaggers to polarize the parties even more than they already have; not to mention the large-scale failure of such an approach. Coloradans want legislation passed and solutions enacted. Most of us don't care how many "votes from the other side" were acquired.
But Udall is the Senator, not me. That being said, if he wants to be known for his governing strategy, I think he should be judged on how successful that strategy is. If he wants to focus not on successful passage of solid legislation but instead on how many of his Teabagging colleagues he can convince to help pass incremental legislation, so be it. I eagerly await to read a press release from the Senator detailing the flock of Republican Teabagger Senators that are cosponsoring his resolution and how easily it passes. Heck, I'll even give him until the end of the year to accomplish this feat. Or should I give him until the new Senate forms in January? Or should I show even more grace and wait until sometime later in 2011? How about 2012? I think the first day of business in 2011 is the deadline. Where's the threshold for determining success for you?
Just a tiny bit more about the quote from the article. When was the last time you heard about a Republican Teabagger working with the Center for American Progress or the Institute for Policy Studies to write a resolution? The number of cases are a little hard to come by, mostly because the Teabaggers don't think they have to do something so nonsensical. They have think-tanks of their own to write resolutions for them. How many liberal think-tanks did Sen. Udall approach to help write this resolution? Does he really think that having Ornstein help write this will help convince Senate Teabaggers to vote for it? If not, why do it? To build up his "bipartisan credentials"?
An additional concession:
the "filling the tree" procedure could be overridden by a simply majority vote; this was used on the recent defense authorization bill
I'm encouraged to see Sen. Udall do something on this issue. There are stronger proposals in the works, in my opinion, but I guess it doesn't hurt to float another set of ideas. I continue to be mystified at a generation of Democrats who are more interested in the legislative process than legislative results. If the process was so incredibly important, wouldn't the results follow? It would be refreshing to see more Democrats acknowledge the futility of continually attempting to compromise with extremists. I can see trying a few times, but eventually they need to realize they were hired to get a job done, not find BFFs.
If Sen. Udall and others don't get Republicans to sign on to their efforts, will Democrats hold their elected officials accountable? If the Senate remains under "Democratic control" (doesn't really exist now), and they don't change filibuster rules at the start of the new session, will Democrats hold them accountable? To the pro-incrementalists: what do you think will change for the better (in terms of getting legislation passed) in the 112th Congress with more Teabagger Senators if filibuster rules are left alone? How long are you willing to wait for things to change?
Some of the bloggers at DailyKos are working to whip Democrats into supporting real filibuster reform next year. You can drop them a little change to help keep that work active.