The president of the United States, a United States senator for 36 years, has decided to get behind the effort to undo the Senate filibuster. Of course, he wouldn't put it that way. After all, he just endorsed waiving the 60-vote rule for something really, really important, like voting rights. Why, you can't have a minority of either party getting in the way of voting rights. What kind of un-American thinking is that? The filibuster would have to go. But only in this extremely important matter.
(The leadership of the Democratic Party isn't dumb. They know that once the Republicans gain control of the Senate again, this will come back to bite them. But perhaps the Dems are every bit of frightened of the progressive wing of their party as Republicans are of the Trumpian wing of theirs. And don't want to leave any room for a primary challenge. It's either that--cynicism--or a belief in the uncontaminated innocence of our parties' leaders. Take your pick.)
The president said the Senate filibuster has "injured the body enormously" and contributed to the "abhorrent" GOP obstruction of something so pure as voting rights. Thus the drastic measure.
"The next few days, when these bills come to a vote, will mark a turning point in this nation," President Biden said. "Will we choose democracy over autocracy, light over shadow, justice over injustice?" He makes his case.
But voting rights aren't the only important matters that will come before the Congress in the future.
Medicare and Medicaid are important matters, too. It's health care, fella. What's more important than providing health care to your grandparents in nursing homes or the needy infant just born? Have you no heart? You simply must consider these to be important.
Veterans, the military and defense spending: None of your rights can be used if the nation can't be protected from the various wolves at the door. And those who've made such sacrifices to protect you while you sleep must be given the highest priority. If something comes up legislation-wise for veterans or current troopers, the filibuster must not stand in the way.
Food inspection: Do you really want your children eating food that may not have been prepared properly? What kind of person are you?
The free press.
The justice system.
The foster care system.
A case can be made that any one of these things should be a Top Priority for our elected representatives, and that nothing--nothing!--should stand in the way of protecting them, or freeing them, or improving them, or funding them, or reforming the laws that govern them.
Does the president and his party really believe that the filibuster hasn't slowed down any important legislation over the last couple-hundred years?
Harry Reid used the nuclear option in 2013 to get around the filibuster for federal judicial appointments--except for those to the U.S. Supreme Court. He was safely retired in 2017 when the Republicans nuked right back to put nominees on the Supreme Court.
No telling where Chuck Schumer & Co. will be when the Republicans change the filibuster rule for "something really important." But the Senate might never be the same. And the president--who not only served in the Senate, but presided as its president for eight years--just endorsed the change.