POTUS on FOTUSS

That's President of the United States on Filibuster of the United States Senate.

"So the problem here you've got is an institution that increasingly is not adapted to the demands of a hugely competitive 21st century economy.  [Good point! JF] I think the Senate in particular, the challenge that I gave to Republicans and I will continue to issue to Republicans is if you want to govern then you can't just say no.  It can't just be about scoring points.  There are multiple examples during the course of this year in which that's been the case.

"Look, I mentioned the filibuster record.  We've had scores of pieces of legislation in which there was a filibuster, cloture had to be invoked, and then ended up passing 90 to 10, or 80 to 15.  And what that indicates is a degree to which we're just trying to gum up the works instead of getting business done.

"That is an institutional problem. In the Senate, the filibuster only works if there is a genuine spirit of compromise and trying to solve problems, as opposed to just shutting the place down.  If it's just shutting the place down, then it's not going to work."

At another point, addressing the Democratic senators and congratulating them on the work they had done:

"You did all this despite facing enormous procedural obstacles that are unprecedented.  You may have looked at these statistics.  You had to cast more votes to break filibusters last year than in the entire 1950s and '60s combined.  That's 20 years of obstruction packed into just one.  But you didn't let it stop you."

Good to see some direct attention to this issue from the top. Consistent with the "shame strategy" analysis put forward by the Atlantic's Marc Ambinder here.

From Barack Obama's comments this morning at the Senate Democratic Policy Committee conference in Washington. Emphasis added:

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James Fallows is a national correspondent for The Atlantic and has written for the magazine since the late 1970s. He has reported extensively from outside the United States and once worked as President Carter's chief speechwriter. His latest book is China Airborne. More

James Fallows is based in Washington as a national correspondent for The Atlantic. He has worked for the magazine for nearly 30 years and in that time has also lived in Seattle, Berkeley, Austin, Tokyo, Kuala Lumpur, Shanghai, and Beijing. He was raised in Redlands, California, received his undergraduate degree in American history and literature from Harvard, and received a graduate degree in economics from Oxford as a Rhodes scholar. In addition to working for The Atlantic, he has spent two years as chief White House speechwriter for Jimmy Carter, two years as the editor of US News & World Report, and six months as a program designer at Microsoft. He is an instrument-rated private pilot. He is also now the chair in U.S. media at the U.S. Studies Centre at the University of Sydney, in Australia.

Fallows has been a finalist for the National Magazine Award five times and has won once; he has also won the American Book Award for nonfiction and a N.Y. Emmy award for the documentary series Doing Business in China. He was the founding chairman of the New America Foundation. His recent books Blind Into Baghdad (2006) and Postcards From Tomorrow Square (2009) are based on his writings for The Atlantic. His latest book is China Airborne. He is married to Deborah Fallows, author of the recent book Dreaming in Chinese. They have two married sons.

Fallows welcomes and frequently quotes from reader mail sent via the "Email" button below. Unless you specify otherwise, we consider any incoming mail available for possible quotation -- but not with the sender's real name unless you explicitly state that it may be used. If you are wondering why Fallows does not use a "Comments" field below his posts, please see previous explanations here and here.

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