Saturday, April 13, 2013

"They deserve a vote" - the President's filibuster busting plea for Newtown families

The President's weekly radio address (a wonderful anachronism) was delivered this week  by Francine Wheeler, whose six year old son was murdered in his classroom at Sandy Hook School, Newtown, Connecticut. "They deserve a vote" is the President's brilliant rhetorical device that has broken through the years of Republican stonewalling. Their obstructionism has steamrolled the "lamestream media" which has largely accepted as  normal that it "takes 60 vote to pass the Senate".Andrew Sprung's at ex post factoid today is worth reading in full - and worth following the links back to the unveiling of the device in the State of the Union Address in February. Here is his concluding paragraph:

The "they deserve a vote" peroration to Obama's State of the Union address this year was a brilliant rhetorical stroke (and a powerful riff) not just because it was invoked in the name of those who had lost loved ones to gun violence, but because it can serve as a readily-grasped battle cry and antidote to four and a quarter years of relentless, bad-faith obstruction.  It can be raised each time major legislation and major appointments to the bench and federal agencies are blocked.  Filibuster can really only be justified selectively, in response to a palpably extreme appointment or legislation that represents a radical departure (yes, it might have been justifiable if Republicans had the votes against the ACA).  Most of the time, "they deserve a vote" is unanswerable. The trick is making the public recognize what's going on.

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