In the wake of the slaughter in Orlando, Senator Chris Murphy from Connecticut clearly had had enough of the cowardly temporizing of his colleagues in the majority regarding this country’s insane attachment to its firearms fetish. So he grabbed the floor and held it deep into the night, declaring victory after 15 hours.
Remember, always, that this filibuster wasn’t about passing an actual law.
It was aimed at producing a vote on those laws in the wake of a vast national tragedy which, for good or ill, generally is the most fertile time for passing legislation. But the current congressional majority is so thoroughly dedicated to the politics of doing nothing, and to its deep commitment to political vandalism, that even this legislative reflex has been numbed into dormancy. So Murphy got up and talked. By the end of it, he’d gotten the votes he wanted. Now senators like Ron Portman and Kelly Ayotte, the Metternich of Manchester, will have to stand up and be counted on the gun issue, one way or another. The free ride, for the moment, is over.
The dynamics of “joining the filibuster” were just as curious.
For example, Bernie Sanders, whose presidential campaign first hit a pothole on the issue of gun control, wasn’t even in town. He was resting up back in Vermont. Ben Sasse, the Republican from Nebraska, apparently “joined” merely for the opportunity to ask questions, but equally conservative Pat Toomey of Pennsylvania joined in full support of the proposed legislation. But the undeniable star was Tammy Baldwin of Wisconsin, who was the most eloquent spokesperson that Murphy had on his side. The first openly gay member of the Senate, Baldwin spoke first as a member of the LGBT community:
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