So who’s afraid of a little filibuster?
Wednesday January 20th 2010, 1:08 pm
Filed under: Family,Politics

My own grandmother, ratting someone out! Not that I want to give anyone ideas.

Note that Strom Thurmond is famous both for his record filibuster stalling the Civil Rights Act of 1957 and for how very wrong he was on that issue–he made it appear *more* wrong by what he did, by how he frustrated his country as well as his fellow senators, and he never got completely away from the image he gave himself by doing so.

Okay, now, a word on Massachusetts:  they elected a charismatic, good-looking guy who knows how to throw a zinger given a chance. Tip O’Neill of Massachusetts once famously said “All politics is local.” I would add, “and of the moment.”

So here we have that lost 60th vote–but it’s a Republican and he’s from Massachusetts, representing a whole lot of Democrats. He knows he has to keep them happy if he wants to keep that plum job.  He knows he has to work with the other party.  In today’s severely divided Congress, this is a good thing. He also happens to have been for the plan in Massachusetts that the one in Congress is trying to improve upon. (It ain’t perfect, but we gotta start somewhere.)

Back when I was in college, I was at my grandparents’ home and somehow a cousin asked Gram a question re their political life back in the day; usually, those got directed at Grampa. But he wasn’t in the room just then.

My very proper grandmother, whom I’d never heard speak an ill word towards nor about anybody in any way ever before that moment, looked suddenly like she’d kept this one to herself for far too many years. It was just too much. The truth had to be told.

The subject was that record filibuster.  Passing that Act was the right thing to do, but Thurmond was having none of it. As long as he stayed on that floor, reading the Washington DC phone book, or, famously, his grandmother’s biscuit recipe, then the floor was all his.

As long as he didn’t step away from it.

And what would limit that?

“Strom Thurmond had a catheter under his pants!” exclaimed Gram.

15 Comments so far
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hahhaha love your Gram!

Comment by Alicia 01.20.10 @ 2:06 pm

I guess it’s here to stay, because neither party wants to give it up, expecting to be in the minority at some point. But no one has to do the catheter anymore. I wish they’d at least make ’em stand up and talk till the cows come home.

Comment by Sid Schwab 01.20.10 @ 2:45 pm

I wish they’d make them stay relevant, and come up with topics of conversation relevant to their stance against whatever the bill is. If you feel strongly enough to filibuster, then you shouldn’t have any problems expounding for hours on why you’re against it. And if you can’t, obviously you don’t have THAT big an objection to whatever it is, and we can all move along.

Comment by Serena Rother 01.20.10 @ 3:39 pm

Your grandma sounds like someone everyone just had to love. Love the title to the last line.

Comment by Joansie 01.20.10 @ 5:52 pm

ROFL I do remember that. It seems to me that I remember him yielding the floor to someone else, then taking it back. Your grandma was one for the books. LOL.

Comment by Sherry in Idaho 01.20.10 @ 6:23 pm

Whew. that is good news :-}
(And I always suspected it. My Dad said as much when we talked about it when I was a teen)

Comment by Diana Troldahl 01.20.10 @ 7:28 pm

I miss my Gram so much. She could always pull out a great tale when we least expected and laughs would certainly follow! I love how your Gram dealt Strom another blow to his image!

Comment by Momo Fali 01.20.10 @ 7:37 pm

A similar thing happened in the St. Louis Board of Alderman. A female Alderwoman had the floor and didn’t want to yield it and they wouldn’t recess so she could use the facilities. So her supporters held a sheet around her and she made use of a waste can (pun not intended) while she talked on and on. It created quite a stir in the city.

Comment by Charlotte 01.20.10 @ 9:21 pm

Hahaha! 🙂

Comment by Monica 01.21.10 @ 3:10 am

I agree with Serena. If they want to hold the floor, they should be relevant to the subject. And I hope you’re right, Alison, that if that new Mass Republican senator wants to retain his seat that he keep his democratic constituents happy. The Republicans ex,pect to gain seats in the coming election. I just pray that the electorate recognize this party, at this time, as the party of obstruction.

Well, let’s have a bit of fun before I lose my temper —

Question:  How many retirees does it take to change a light bulb?
Answer:  Only one, but it may take all day.
Question:  What’s the biggest advantage of going back to school as a retiree?
Answer:  If you cut classes, no one calls your parents.
While dining out a while back, I asked the waiter for a light beer.  He whispered in my ear…”All of our beers weigh the same.”

Comment by Don Meyer 01.21.10 @ 10:05 am

Unless she added more, your Gran wasn’t saying anything ill, just the facts. I’m with Serena, too. It’s horrible to pay time wasting politicians just to have them hold up voting.

An alternet commentator made the good point that most politicians want to be reelected….well, maybe excluding Sarah Palin. (I added that. Let’s hope Brown wants to appease the Mass. electorate and not become a Fox analyst.)

Comment by LynnM 01.21.10 @ 10:46 am

Sometimes, the third option is the one that helps things move along, progress. And I’m not refering to a catether either!

Comment by Suzanne in Mtl 01.21.10 @ 12:03 pm

I just love grandmothers! Great story!

Comment by Karen 01.21.10 @ 4:32 pm

When I was in college, I lived in a dorm that was coed by floor, except on the top 3 floors where it was coed by room. The all female floors and the all male floors were equally pig pens and just plain nasty places; the mixed floors were much more civil, not to mention clean. I am hoping, hoping, hoping that a more evenly mixed Senate will all try to work together toward civility.

A gal can hope, can’t she?

Comment by twinsetellen 01.21.10 @ 5:33 pm

So THAT is the secret to a filabuster? Eeeewwwwww.

Comment by Channon 01.22.10 @ 4:01 pm

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