John McCain’s Confusion

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John McCain is worried that Rand Paul’s 13-hour filibuster will embolden reformers who want to change the Senate rules.

As one of the guardians of the mess that is today’s Senate he’s right to be worried, but not for the reasons he thinks.

McCain believes — or appears to believe — that Paul reignited the filibuster reform movement because his scene on the Senate floor somehow embodies everything reformers hate about the Senate. This is precisely backwards.In reality, Paul’s performance proved the minority can move the needle on big issues not by hiding behind quiet super-majority requirements, but by mobilizing public opinion from the well of the Senate. Filibuster reformers aren’t invigorated today because they have another data point for Senate dysfunction. They’re invigorated because they liked what they saw.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Brian Beutler is TPM's senior congressional reporter. Since 2009, he's led coverage of health care reform, Wall Street reform, taxes, the GOP budget, the government shutdown fight and the debt limit fight. He can be reached at brian@talkingpointsmemo.com
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