Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) staged a one-man filibuster of sorts on Friday, speaking for eight-and-a-half hours on the Senate floor against President Obama's tax-cut deal with Republicans. (It wasn't technically a filibuster because Sanders didn't hold up Senate business.) The marathon harangue won accolades from liberals, crashed the Senate servers live-streaming the speech, and made the Vermont socialist a C-SPAN hit and the hottest topic on Twitter. (See video below.) But did the passionate ploy do anything other than raise Sanders' profile? (Watch The Week's Sunday Talk Show Briefing on the tax compromise)
Sanders' filibuster was futile: "It's nice to see a lawmaker stand up for his convictions, but Sanders has a steep uphill climb" when it comes to this tax-cut deal, says Alex Altman at Time. Enough Senate Democrats have probably been won over by deal "sweeteners" like an ethanol tax break and green-energy cash credits that the tax package will "sail through" the Senate, and likely squeak by in the House.
"Sanders filibusters tweaked tax bill"
The benefits are yet to come: "It's kind of sad that the only actual filibuster" in this whole "dysfunctional" Senate term, marked by repeated GOP threats to block votes, is by a socialist, says Michael Tomasky in The Guardian. I think the "pretty good" Obama tax deal should pass, but "I do take my hat off to" Sanders. The left needs a "hero" like him now, and his truth-talking should "stiffen Democrats' resolve" when they prepare for their "2012 do-over."
"The significance of Bernie Sanders' filibuster"
It was a good show: "It was either a waste of time or exactly what the country needed. Or both," says Mike Littwin in The Denver Post. But what made it a success "was Sanders' complete lack of cynicism." Whether or not you agree with his points, his "feel-good" display of political theater should force both parties to think about their principles. The fact that "there was no Hollywood ending" is hardly Sanders' fault.
"In the tax-cut war, liberals won a voice, but little else"