How the Game is Played

The latest antic by Republicans has been employed on previous occasions, namely in 2009 during the debate over the ACA, I believe. At that time, in order to stall and delay the inevitable, the GOP decided that the entirety of the bill would have to be read aloud in the chamber, before any action could be taken. In the spirit of trolling and turnabout being fair play, the Dems hired a speed reader.

They’re doing the same thing with the COVID recovery bill, wrangling the poor Senate clerks into reading the entire bill out loud (while most of the Senators got to go home?). No speed reader this time. In the old days of filibustering, the dissenting Senators would have to stand up and offer rebukes and rebuttals themselves, sometimes for hours on end, but not anymore.

I understand that the tools at the disposal of the Senate minority are limited, but in this instance the delay seems more cold-hearted and unnecessary than usual, given the sense of urgency that exists. This time around, it’s more a predictable formality implemented by a group of Republicans who serve in the shadow of Ebenezer Trump, and who are only too ready to say “down” when the Dems say “up.”  

Politics aside, the “optics” of this tactic are not casting the elephant party in the most flattering light. Ron Johnson and company are on a mission from God, apparently. Still, when all is said and done, the bill is going to pass. So, other than wasting everyone’s time, what will have been accomplished, besides drawing attention to legislation that is popular even among Republican voters?

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