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CONTACT: Institute for Public Accuracy (IPA)
Sam Husseini, (202) 347-0020; or David Zupan, (541) 484-9167
Former Senator: 'Let the Republicans Filibuster'
In the D.C. area this week, Gravel is a former two-term senator from Alaska who ran for president last year. He is author of the book A Political Odyssey.
He said today: "Whenever something comes up that [Senate minority leader] Mitch McConnell is adamantly opposed to, he just threatens a filibuster. Then [Senate majority leader] Harry Reid backs down and pundit after pundit says you need 60 votes to pass it. Baloney. You need 60 votes to overcome a filibuster, but a filibuster is a really costly thing to do.
"I used the filibuster for five months to end the draft in 1971. I succeeded. I'm proud of what I did. I helped end the war in Vietnam. But I paid a price politically and among my colleagues for using the filibuster.
"The filibuster is a tool you can use, for good or for ill. The Dixiecrats used it for bad reasons -- to delay civil rights legislation. I used it for good -- to end the Vietnam War.
"Right now, Obama has public opinion on his side on many issues with regard to the Republicans. So let the Republicans filibuster and bring the cots out and make the Senate be in session 24 hours a day. The public will rightly view them as regressive and obstructionist.
"If Obama continues down his current road, his popularity will evaporate and he will be at the mercy of the Republicans."
Gravel has proposed a National Initiative for Democracy, a method of direct democracy, "so that people can directly overrule the government."
Also see the IPA news release "GOP 'Filibuster Hypocrisy'." .