the absurd observers

Tuesday, May 24, 2005

But can you eat a filibuster?

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Much has been made lately about preserving the right to filibuster. One argument can be summarized: we need to preserve the traditions of the Senate.

I agree with the idea that Senate traditions should be preserved, but I wonder if we should put so much energy into preserving the filibuster. Afterall, we can't eat a filibuster.

We can, however, eat bean soup. Apparently, Bean Soup has been a regular fixture in the Senate for more than a 100 years. If the GOP is willing to neuter the filibuster, what will stop them from discontinuing the bean soup? I bring this up because clearly there are some Senators that would be coerced by such a threat. Sure, the filibuster mess could cause a shut down, but without soup, the Senate would petrify.

I make this argument not in an attempt to dishonor the tradition of the filibuster, but rather to honor the tradition of the soup, which is getting scant attention in the main stream media. Soup, and bean soup in particular, might not be as flashy as a filibuster. It might not bring in the lucrative CSPAN audience. It might not inspire a bipartisan group to gang together and find a compromise over a related issue - like soup spoons. But, the Senate Bean Soup is a tradition we must protect, not because the soup protects the rights of a political senate minority, but because the tossing out of soup would create a slope, slippery with soup, down which the majority party could toss every tradition we hold dear, like gerrymandering, pork barreling, and other shadiness.

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