Last Night’s Second Filibuster Kills NSA Reform

If you’re a liberal who likes to keep the filibuster around because it’s occasionally useful in killing bad legislation like the bill to force approval of the Keystone XL Pipeline, you might want to consider last night’s other Senate filibuster: the one that killed Pat Leahy’s NSA reform bill because he could “only” come up with 58 votes. In this case, the White House was reportedly on board, though the pious privacy advocate Rand Paul joined Mitch McConnell in opposition. Paul claimed the bill didn’t go far enough, while his senior Kentucky colleague, who has already endorsed him for president, thinks NSA surveillance is peachy because Muslims.

In any event, you can’t have Senate rules that distinguish between “good” and “bad” filibusters based on whether you like the results.

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Ed Kilgore

Ed Kilgore is a political columnist for New York and managing editor at the Democratic Strategist website. He was a contributing writer at the Washington Monthly from January 2012 until November 2015, and was the principal contributor to the Political Animal blog.