Don't blame the filibuster for paralysis

My new column for the FT argues that the case for changing Senate rules on filibusters is strong, and there is nothing in the constitution to stop them doing it. On the other hand, the filibuster is not the main reason why Democrats are paralysed.

If healthcare reform was popular, Democrats could revoke the filibuster rule, pass the legislation and be applauded for it. But if reform was popular there would be no need to revoke the filibuster rule in the first place, because Republicans would not dare to use it the way they have.

Everything the Democrats say about the Republican use of the filibuster is correct, except for that one awkward detail: most of the public does not like the Democrats' proposals and wants them blocked. If Democrats change the rules to press on, they will be outmanoeuvring not just the Republicans but the country. The constitutional case for doing it might be impeccable. In my view, it is. But the party fears the price it would have to pay in November's elections - and so it should.