By Brent Budowsky - 03/03/08 05:30 PM EST
As a tidal wave for change sweeps across America, the eyes of the nation will turn towards the filibustering Republicans of the United States Senate.
The Senate is an iron albatross around the neck of Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.). He is trapped between a party that is far removed from the daily lives of heartland America and political independents who hunger for the change that filibustering Republicans are determined to prevent.
Oil skyrockets, gas prices soar, recession looms, the dollar crashes, deficits balloon, jobs are outsourced, foreclosures climb, the oil cartel pillages American consumers, oil company profits balloon to obscene heights, and Senate Republicans do nothing but filibuster to defend this status quo.
With Democratic and Republican senators nominated for president, the stage is set for a war of the worlds on the floor of the Senate.
Soon: The Democratic senator nominated for president will push a bold agenda for change. The Democratic House, led by a strong Speaker, will pass legislation to implement that change. The Republican nominee and his filibustering colleagues will be final blockade defending the failures that voters want ended.
The filibuster was intended to be used on rare occasions when senators felt strongly that a decision would disastrously harm the nation. It was never intended to be a daily weapon of obstruction and a daily expression of contempt for the majority of voters and senators.
This is a perversion of the principles of our Republic and a tyranny of a minority that holds the majority in contempt.
It is an election-year attack on large majorities of Americans, using discredited tactics to defend disastrous policies.
Imagine a filibuster to the death in favor of gluttonous oil company profits, and then a filibuster to defeat more aid to homeowners facing foreclosure.
Imagine a filibuster to fight against stronger assistance to an American economy facing recession, and then a filibuster to support tax breaks for millionaires who don’t need them.
Imagine a party whose president is unaware that Americans are facing $4-a-gallon gasoline, while an oil cartel contemptuously rejects his call to increase production, as filibustering Republicans blockade against massive support for new energy sources while they pocket campaign contributions from oil companies.
The Democratic nominee and Democratic congressional leaders can create a three-point pincer attack led by the senator nominated for president, Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.), who have already led Democrats to majority status in both houses of Congress — a margin that could increase significantly this year.
Democrats can reach out to the national unity advocates who recently met in Oklahoma and responsible Republicans such as Sens. Chuck Hagel (Neb.) and Olympia Snowe (Maine). They can devise a powerful post-partisan agenda with legislation that would be passed by the House and sent to the Senate.
With this parliamentary pincer movement, the Democratic nominee and congressional leaders would either achieve a substantial body of governing success, or make it clear that a do-nothing minority of filibustering Republicans is the last blockade against responsible change.
The movement to end gridlock and set America right is gathering steam like a mighty river flowing down a giant mountain. Those who resist will be swept aside.
Budowsky was an aide to former Sen. Lloyd Bentsen and Bill Alexander, then-chief deputy whip of the House. He is a contributing editor of Fighting Dems News Service. He can be read on The Hill Pundits Blog and reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.