This isn’t some exercise in nostalgia.
The Democrats don’t want to be accused of eliminating the filibuster. They just want, now that they run the Senate, to eliminate it while pretending to do something positive.
So they’re talking about the old days, when a senator had to stand and talk for hours, days, whatever. It sounds quaint, this move is an exercise in raw power. They just want to get their bills passed with 50 votes instead of the 60 that have long been needed to invoke “cloture” and proceed to a majority vote.
Biden offered this “idea” during an interview with ABC’s George Stephanopoulos. The only ostensibly moderate Democrat left, Joe Manchin, has suggested he might back the same thing.
“Aren’t you going to have to choose between preserving the filibuster, and advancing your agenda?” Stephanopoulos asked Biden in their interview outside Philadelphia.
“Yes, but here’s the choice: I don’t think that you have to eliminate the filibuster, you have to do it what it used to be when I first got to the Senate back in the old days,” Biden said. “You had to stand up and command the floor, you had to keep talking.”
“So you’re for that reform? You’re for bringing back the talking filibuster?” Stephanopulos asked.
“I am. That’s what it was supposed to be,” Biden said.
“It’s getting to the point where, you know, democracy is having a hard time functioning,” Biden told Stephanopoulos.