That said, count me an Ambinder skeptic. Consider his recommendation going forward:
So -- maybe -- EFCA will have to wait until the summer of 2010, after the primaries, when Republicans in Ohio and Pennsylvania will be more vulnerable to pressure from unions. In the meantime, the unions have to figure out a way to be patient, and Obama's team has to figure out exactly how many votes in the Senate they have. If they've got a hard count of more than 60, then everything I've written above is moot. |Ambinder|
This just doesn't make any sense. If EFCA is popular, then the Republicans can't credibly threaten a filibuster. If EFCA isn't popular, then unions won't be able to use it as an issue to mobilize voters in 2010.
More generally, I think there has been a trend toward overestimating the power of the filibuster and the potency of the filibuster threat. Politically, the Republican party is in the wilderness and the narrative solidifying around the 2008 campaign is that voters decisevely rejected the hyper-partisan attack politics that have defined the party since 1994. In that environment, it's going to be very difficult for the Senate Republicans to engage in comprehensive obstructionist tactics. So they can't filibuster everything, and will have to carefully consider the consequences whenever they do.