The first thing that stands out about Barack Obama’s State of the Union address tonight is his chiding of Senate Republicans on their refusal to cooperate, and instead working to prevent any action unless there are 60 votes, by constantly using or threatening the use of the filibuster.
The tactic of the filibuster has certainly been overused and too often threatened, and another practice has been one or two senators claiming, often without being identified, that action be held up on a nomination or a piece of legislation without being specific as to the reason. This legislative privilege has become an abuse that Obama declared must be stopped.
He joked and smiled as he chastised the Republicans, and of course they sat on their hands with glum looks on their faces. But Obama stated that the American people wanted cooperation between the political parties, not only in the Senate, but also in the House of Representatives, to do the country’s business. He said both parties have a responsibility to the people to move beyond petty differences and political one upsmanship.
Whether any change will come in this regard is doubtful, but at least the President took a stand, showing courage and conviction, but with a touch of humor designed to disarm critics. Certainly, he made a great impression in his approach to this issue, so let’s hope through some miracle it succeeds!