In Mr. Smith Goes to Washington Jimmy Stewart is Jefferson Smith, an "aw shucks" boys' camp leader who is bumped to the Senate after a death on the assumption he'll be easily manipulated. But when Smith finds out that he was brought in to vote for a dam that would flood the site of his beloved camp, he refuses to go along. Finally, in desperation, he filibusters.
Jim McDermott sez Jimmy Stewart is annoying, not inspirational.
Smith manages to block the dam, collapsing on the Senate floor at his victory. The audience cheers.
But apparently, Rep. Jim McDermott wasn't moved. This week he introduced a resolution in the House calling for the Senate to amend its rules to make it easier to stop a filibuster.So far, the Senate Democrats have been pushing legislation through thanks to a 60 person super majority, allowing them to stop any threatened filibuster. (As long as Joe Lieberman doesn't break ranks.)
But then Republican Scott Brown beat out Democrat Martha Coakley for Ted Kennedy's former seat. That kills the super majority, and with it any hope of blocking a filibuster against, say, health care reform.
"The filibuster has begun to erode the integrity of our democratic process," McDermott declared in a statement announcing his legislation.
McDermott's resolution is meant to show support for a bill Sen. Tom Harkin (D-Iowa) is expected to submit. It would require 60 votes to break a filibuster, but if that didn't work, and the filibuster continued, 51 would be enough.
But you have to wonder if the Dems won't deeply regret making it easier to break a filibuster if they ever find themselves in the minority.