November 22, 2003
Daschle To Filibuster Self

Determined To Lead By Following

The Senate Democratic leader, Tom Daschle, said Friday that he would not support a filibuster against a bill offering prescription drug benefits to the elderly. His decision increases the chances for final action on the bill within days.
Senator Tom Daschle announced today that he would filibuster himself for the rest of the Senate term, if not longer, a spokesman said. Daschle, who speaks softly and carries a tiny baton, said he was determined to "remain calm" during the filibuster and aims to avoid making "any sudden moves."

Daschle planned the filibuster in order to stop himself from "precipitously opposing the Republican majority."

"There's a need to counter those voices in our own party," Daschle whispered, "who might want to speak loudly."

Loud voices are said to cause Daschle intestinal discomfort.

Daschle pooh-poohed suggestions by Darla Whirligig, a senior from the South Bronx, New Mexico, that Daschle's failure to support a filibuster over the GOP's Medicare bill would mean giving drug and insurance companies a stranglehold on increasing healthcare costs.

"Oh, no," Daschle could hardly be heard to say, "If Democrats stopped this bill from passing, then Republicans would say we were against it."

Matt Bivens of The Nation writes:

If the Republicans were to ever call on Congress to pass a bill to saw off Tom Daschle's left arm above the elbow, Daschle would be the first to agree, earnest and parrot-like, that America desperately needed such a bill. He'd just object to, you know, some of the provisions. What we really need, he'd say -- while his colleagues nodded in thoughtful agreement -- is a Democratic Saw Off Tom Daschle's Arm Act. Then the horse-trading would begin, and soon the Senator from South Dakota would proudly announce bipartisan approval of a "compromise" bill to saw off his arm above the wrist . . .
Boy, does he ever get it right.

Posted by Tom Burka at 3:27 PM in News