Obama and the Filibuster.

There was nothing really remarkable about President Obama's appearance on The Daily Show last night -- it was mostly boilerplate -- but it's worth noting how much he called out the filibuster as a critical problem in passing progressive legislation:

"I will tell you that a couple of things have in our politics are going to have be fixed. One of them is how the filibuster operates. As I said, it's just not in the Constitution. In fairness, Democrats used it when Bush was in office, and felt very comfortable using it, but not to the extent that it is been used today. What we're seeing is unprecedented, and makes it very difficult for us to move forward in serious ways."

This is exactly right. It's not necessary to rehash the ways in which the filibuster has sharply limited liberal priorities, but we should acknowledge that liberals failed -- in a big way -- by not making the filibuster a serious issue in the 2008 campaign or at the beginning of Obama's presidency. Of course, the bigger failure was in 2005, when Democrats opted to save the judicial filibuster, instead of allowing Republicans to destroy with the so-called nuclear option. That was the one big chance they had to change the rules of the Senate, and they squandered it for short-term gain.

-- Jamelle Bouie

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