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April 30, 2009

Comments

The media perpetuates the desire for cold, hard, round numbers. You see it in politics (Obama's first 100 days), economics (Dow Jones index milestones), and sports (3000 hits in baseball). People are frightened by odd numers.

Brendan's point is exemplified by the budget bankruptcy "cramdown" bill. Spector voted to maintain the filibuster, even though he had changed parties.

http://online.wsj.com/article/SB124113493922575179.html

I agree that the obsession with the magic number 60 has been over the top and wish Harry Reid was smart enough to pass legislation as a majority leader instead of capitulating at every filibuster threat.

But I think that what the switch does mean is that the Republican leadership can no longer run on a strategy of promising to filibuster every bill that doesn't have 60 votes behind it. It's one thing for Democratic Senators to vote no on a bill or to occasionally join the filibuster on controversial legislation. But its another to join the Republican ranks repeatedly. I expect the number of filibusters to drop dramatically compared to the last session.

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