A reader visiting Richmond sends this report:
While here I took the opportunity to attend the weekly re-enactment of the Second Virginia Congress of 1775 at which Patrick Henry offered up his choice of liberty or death. It's actually not a bad piece of theatre, and offers an accessible insight into the political options of the time.
But we were told that the final vote on the proposal being considered- creating a militia for defense of Virginia against any future British threats- passed by only four or five votes; and it then occurred to me that if we had had the filibuster in colonial times, Patrick Henry would never have had the opportunity to utter his immortal words.
It just seems to me that there's a jingoistic, American-flag-draped approach to denouncing the Republican anti-American use of the filibuster. Maybe Karl Rove will craft it when the next Republican president takes office...
That last prediction is very shrewd.
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. He and his wife, Deborah Fallows, are the authors of the new book Our Towns: A 100,000-Mile Journey Into the Heart of America, which has been a New York Times best seller and is the basis of a forthcoming HBO documentary.