Obama and the Senate Democrats should have ignored the threat of a filibuster on health care reform from the beginning–and they should be ignoring it now. A sixty seat majority is totally unnecessary, and would have been unnecessary for any version of the bill. Obama’s promises, especially the public option, should never have been sacrificed in the name of pragmatics as long as there were at least 51 Democrats on board.
Consider what would happen if Republicans tried to filibuster the biggest domestic economic issue in the 2008 election. The vast majority of Americans support “health care reform” as a concept, even if there are disagreements over what, specifically, should be in a reform bill. How would a filibuster be framed in news media outlets? How would it be framed in the minds of the voters? Can anyone seriously imagine the brain-dead American mass media focusing on the technical aspects of the bill opposed by Republicans, when it would be so much easier to plaster “Republican Minority Filibusters Health Care Reform” all over the front page, or the animated TV intro?
If the Republicans threaten to filibuster, the Democrats should call their bluff. Make them speak. Make them earn back their obstructionist reputation. Make them sacrifice their momentum for November. Make them dig their own graves, wait for them to finish, and then pass the bill. Even if they spoke for months on end, it couldn’t possibly waste more time than has already been wasted catering and compromising.