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The Public Says the Filibuster is a Good Idea

A somewhat surprising finding in the new WaPo / ABC News poll.

11:35 AM, Feb 10, 2010 • By MATTHEW CONTINETTI
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Buried in the new Washington Post / ABC poll is this question:

Republicans now hold enough seats in the U.S. Senate to block any legislation Obama and the Senate Democrats propose. Overall, do you think this is (a good thing because it will force Obama and the Democrats to cooperate more with the Republicans); OR (a bad thing because it will enable the Republicans to set terms before allowing anything to go forward)?

Survey says: 57 percent think this is a good thing. Only 36 percent do not.

It's true that the vast majority of respondents also said the Senate should use the filibuster power "just some" or "rarely." The numbers reveal a sensible public that understands the importance of the filibuster, but also its potential for abuse. This is why Sen. Shelby had to relent in his misguided blanket hold on Obama nominees -- the public won't stand for it. But it is also why the war against the filibuster and the Senate tends to be limited to the partisans, Republican and Democrat, whose agenda cannot win the support of 60 senators.

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