Both Democratic and Republican senators have protected contributors with filibusters. (Reuters/Jonathan Ernst.)
As momentum builds to reform the horrendously broken rules of the Senate, a cadre of Washington D.C. politicos are fighting back, arguing that the filibuster in its current form must be preserved.
Last week, Steven Duffield, in an opinion column for The Washington Examiner, pleaded for the status quo, claiming “Senate liberals want to gut” the filibuster, which he called a “long-standing protection for minorities.” Duffield, bylined simply as “vice president for policy at Crossroads GPS,” didn’t point to any examples of filibusters protecting the rights of minorities or marginalized groups. He listed other complaints, like the charge that rules reform will allow the Senate to “rubber stamp” Obama’s nominees to the Supreme Court.
In reality, the proposed reforms do not affect appointments to the Supreme Court. And a more comprehensive reading of the filibuster’s history would show that when it comes to civil rights for oppressed minority groups, the filibuster has actually served as a great obstacle for justice.
Maybe Duffield is alarmed about rules reform—which would limit anonymous holds, allow for a “talking filibuster” and expedite deliberations for some nominees—for another reason: his pocketbook.
Two years ago, I took a screen shot and saved a tidbit from Duffield’s now-deleted consulting website. Duffield’s firm, still lobbying and called Endgame Strategies, was quite candid in it’s pitch to potential corporate clients to use “backbench Senate Republicans” to block legislation (emphasis added):
Managing Holds and Filibusters. Your organization has an interest in a bill that has proven controversial and you require advocacy before those legislators—often backbench Senate Republicans—who may exercise their prerogatives to delay or obstruct. Endgame Strategies will give you new ways to manage your interests in a legislative environment that gives great power to individual senators.