dkSez : : : : : : Don Kahle's blog

Quips, queries, and querulous quibbles from the quirky mind of Don Kahle

dkSez : : : : : : Don Kahle's blog random header image

We Should Elect Hard Workers

January 23rd, 2022 by dk

Democrats should embrace the hard work of government.

Democrats have failed to bridge the gap between conservatives and liberals within their own party, much less bridge the widening abyss with Republicans. It’s time to build a new one — not a new bridge; a new gap. Revive the talking filibuster. Expose the widening rift between those in Congress who want to work hard and those who would rather take it easy.

This distinction should favor liberals. They are the ones who believe that good government and public service are worth the effort. But to be honest, I’m not so sure these days.

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer gave himself a deadline to deliver voting reforms to the American people — several, in fact. He wanted it done by Martin Luther King Day. That had a nice ring to it, after blowing past other self-imposed deadlines. But his neighbor in New Jersey, Sen. Robert Menendez, took longer than expected to recuperate from shoulder surgery in December.

Getting legislation passed before the Monday holiday became impossible because every Democrat would have to be present for the vote, including Vice President Kamala Harris. So the plan then became to hold the vote on MLK Day. Voting against voting rights would look bad on the day set aside for one of its biggest heroes.

Then news came of possible snowstorms sullying Washington D.C. So Schumer sent everybody home for the weekend, rather than trying to muscle a bill through the Senate. Geez Louise! Democracy will be saved from its looming existential crisis by a historic Senate vote — weather permitting?

King held many rallies to lead the civil rights campaign that defined and ultimately cost him his life. Never once did those outdoor rallies depend on AccuWeather’s 5-day forecast. When the majority party can’t stay in town to vote because of inclement weather, sloth has become our most dangerous adversary.

We should make being a senator hard work again. While the House tinkers with the wiring and plumbing of our nation, the Senate should keep it protected from the elements — the roofers of our democracy. Standing astride an uneven pitch, searching for leaks in the rain or the heat — that’s the hard work of maintaining a republic.

Sen. Jeff Merkley wants to bring back the talking filibuster, which would drastically change the workings of the Senate. It would also impact the work required of each senator. Changing the work has become more important than changing the workings. Senators have gotten soft and too comfortable in their cushioned incumbencies.

Filibuster talkathons with enforced quorums will quickly dissuade members who value posturing over productivity. There’s no point in making dinner plans when any one of your 99 colleagues might launch a talking tirade that keeps you in session through the night. Deliberation on the floor should outweigh liberation of its members. Once that happens, who needs term limits?

Talking filibusters will focus but not fix the disfunction of the United States Senate. That’s enough. If the Senate wastes its time on meaningless gestures, at least let’s not have the American people suffer more than the senators themselves.


Don Kahle ( writes a column each Friday for The Register-Guard and archives past columns at

Tags: No Comments

Leave A Comment

Are you human? *

0 responses so far ↓

  • There are no comments yet...Kick things off by filling out the form below.