Monday, July 23, 2007

Who likes the filibuster now?

Well, I hadn't anticipated using this blog again--my personal site has been pretty much in permanent-under-construction status since starting my current job.

Anyway, with the recent filibuster in the Senate, I decided to re-examine some old history and congressional records--with surprising results. Last Wednesday, I decided to try to present the results to some sites like ThinkProgress or Crooks & Liars, but nobody has gotten back to me so I decided to dust this blog off.

Recently there has been quite a bit of discussion regarding "filibusters" in the senate, so I set out to try to check the record. Just how much was this tactic used and who probably used it?

In the last several years, most talk of filibusters have actually been about cloture votes, where the Senate needs 60 members to vote showing that they are ready to make a final vote on the subject. Most notably, during 2005 Democrats used this method to block the appointment of several judicial nominees, and the Republicans threatened to change the rules via the so-called "Nuclear Option" to bypass it.

Now, Democrats have a slim Senate majority, and Republicans are using some of the same tactics party leaders once decried.

But how much are they doing it? Let's look at the numbers for the Senate, considering when it was, how many days they were working, and how often a cloture vote failed. I'll use the acronym "FPD" to describe the assumed number of "Filibusters per day" of Senate activity. (Note that I had the rows horizontally sized to make a visible chart, but blogger strips out style attributes.)

Year Days Failed Clotures FPD
2001 173 8
2002 149 13
2003 167 22
2004 133 14
2005 159 5
2006 138 12
2007 108* 19
*Ongoing session

One important caveat to these statistics is that I cannot say what number of failed cloture happened specifically to block legislation. But with the basic assumption that the minority party cannot initiate these votes and has the most reason to block them, some interesting numbers still emerge.

Period FPD
2005: Republican's "Nuclear Option" threat
2001-2006 average: Democrats in minority
2007: Republicans in minority

  • Compared to 2005, when Republicans were threatening to change the rules, FPD is 5.67 times higher now that Republicans are the minority.

  • Compared to the Republican-majority 2001-2006 years, overall FPD is 2.18 times higher.

  • The current year has the highest FPD than any of the previous years shown.

The implications are not good for Senate Republicans: It suggests that—now that positions are reversed—they are willing to filibuster more often than the Democrats previously labeled "obstructionists" for doing the same thing.


Update: Ideally, I'd prefer to replace "failed cloture votes" with "votes where most of the votes against it came from the minority party, and where most of the minority party participated". It would be a much better metric. Unfortunately, it's difficult to get those figures from the Senate records, although if enough people show interest I may reconsider the effort.

Update: As 2007 draws to a close, I wanted to update the stats for 2007: The FPD ficgure is virtually unchanged, following the level I calculated back when I wrote this post. (~1% increase of the FPD)


Nate said...

The major flaw in these statistics (which are still really interesting) is that you don't need a cloture vote to stop a filibuster. It's possible Republicans from 2000-2006 used tactics other than a formal cloture vote to stop filibusters. A strong cloakroom presence can do just as good a job, if not better, than a floor cloture vote. Just something to think about: a rise in cloture votes is not directly correlated to a rise in filibusters.

Terr said...

True, there are always details and fuzzy unquantifiable things for these political manuevers.

I had hoped to further break down the statistics. For example, looking at cloture votes where >80% of the nay-voters were members of the minority party, regardless of vote outcome... This would have more clearly highlighted places where the minority party "dug in their heels", successful or otherwise.

However the layout and format of the Senate site is really a pain to parse, and unlike the House they don't seem to show clear tallies by party affilation, so it's either a lot of rote research and a spreadsheet or else a lot of time writing a script to parse their tables and follow them through to the vote stats.

Nate said...

The Senate is definitely a tricky being. There is a much greater level of behind-the-scenes action in the Senate as compared with the House.

I'm certainly not as familiar with the data-gathering as you must be, but perhaps you could combine a list of Senators and their known affiliations into a macro or program designed to assign a party value to their votes.

If you're interested in making this into a genuine study, you might do some additional research into the political science literature surrounding the US Congress. Richard Fenno of the University of Rochester comes to mind. He has a large number of Senate contacts who might be willing to speak with you (if they can do it apolitically, that's another story!) about filibuster trends through the years.

How far back does the Senate site's data go? Could you extend this until the beginning of reliable data? That would have two desirable effects: it would give your study more data points and also help to make you appear more moderate in your discussion.

Anonymous said...

Your blog keeps getting better and better! Your older articles are not as good as newer ones you have a lot more creativity and originality now keep it up!

Anonymous said...

Hey guys!

I know some folks here who have gotten results with Male-Extra penis enhancement pills. Im just about to order as i've been hearing amazing results with it. But first off, I want to know if Male Extra does it work as good as they say it does?

I know 1-2 inches Penis growth is realistic and easily accomplished. But I'd like REAL FAST penis growth in the 5 inches range. Dont laugh, I want to have the best penis growth possible because my new girlfriend dated a friggin porn stud!

Guys here know what im talking about?

I make that I NEED to know the best way to enlarge Penis. Male-extra pills promises 3 inches growth within several weeks or they return your money. So I guess that essentially means, if my penis dont grow real fast? They lose money, coz I got to use the pills at the same time get my money back right?

Does this seem like a scam?

Please reply at the soonest possible time!
I need to make a decision fast!

Im already sold on it to be honest, but I just need that one last push so I dont put this off any longer.

The advertisement for the pill I last saw at this site. I hope its still there.

K guys thanks. Hope to hear your feedback alright? Bye :D

Anonymous said...


[b]Xrumer SEO Professionals

As Xrumer experts, we from been using [url=]Xrumer[/url] fitted a long time things being what they are and remember how to harness the enormous power of Xrumer and build it into a Spondulix machine.

We also purvey the cheapest prices on the market. Many competitors see fit order 2x or even 3x and a end of the opportunity 5x what we responsibility you. But we feel in providing enormous accommodation at a debilitated affordable rate. The large point of purchasing Xrumer blasts is because it is a cheaper variant to buying Xrumer. So we train to support that bit in cognizant and outfit you with the cheapest grade possible.

Not simply do we be suffering with the best prices but our turnaround in the good old days b simultaneously for the treatment of your Xrumer posting is super fast. We intention secure your posting done in the forefront you know it.

We also provide you with a ample log of successful posts on different forums. So that you can catch a glimpse of over the extent of yourself the power of Xrumer and how we have harnessed it to help your site.[/b]

[b]Search Engine Optimization

Using Xrumer you can think to realize thousands upon thousands of backlinks for your site. Myriad of the forums that your Location you intent be posted on oblige exalted PageRank. Having your join on these sites can really mitigate build up some top-grade quality endorse links and as a matter of fact aid your Alexa Rating and Google PageRank rating utterly the roof.

This is making your put more and more popular. And with this increase in popularity as familiarly as PageRank you can think to lead your site absolutely filthy high-pitched in those Search Locomotive Results.

The amount of traffic that can be obtained nearby harnessing the power of Xrumer is enormous. You are publishing your locality to tens of thousands of forums. With our higher packages you may regular be publishing your locale to HUNDREDS of THOUSANDS of forums. Create 1 brief on a stylish forum will usually cotton on to a leave 1000 or so views, with announce ' 100 of those people visiting your site. Now assume tens of thousands of posts on fashionable forums all getting 1000 views each. Your see trade liking function sometimes non-standard due to the roof.

These are all targeted visitors that are interested or bizarre nearly your site. Deem how assorted sales or leads you can achieve with this great gang of targeted visitors. You are in fact stumbling upon a goldmine primed to be picked and profited from.

Keep in mind, Above is Money.


Anonymous said...

Obey Our Adverse Prices at, The Prominent [b][url=]Online Chemist's snitch on [/url][/b] To [url=]Buy Viagra[/url] Online ! You Can also Espy Extreme Deals When You [url=]Buy Cialis[/url] and When You You [url=]Buy Levitra[/url] Online. We Also Classify a Ginormous Generic [url=]Phentermine[/url] Representing the benefit of Your Regimen ! We Labour up Brand [url=]Viagra[/url] and Also [url=]Generic Viagra[/url] !

Anonymous said...

I really like when people are expressing their opinion and thought. So I like the way you are writing

Anonymous said...

Dear Alyssa,

For long time I use this freeware: [url=]FLV to MP3 free converter[/url].

FLV to MP3 free converter is a free YouTube, MegaVideo, Google Video and similar video sites to MP3 Converter and allows you to convert a video to MP3 file.

This software is fast, free, and requires no signup. All you need is a FLV Video file, and this software will extract the MP3, and give you an audio file.

So you are able to listen to your favorite YouTube tracks on every MP3 player.

You can download it for free at [url=][/url].

I hope this help you.

Anonymous said...

Hi Guys,Just registered here and looking to have a great time. I am looking for the best cash gifting program out there in the internet. Can you guide me?

Below are some sites that I found and I am not sure how much they are going to help me.
[url=]cash gifting[/url]
[url=]join cash gifting[/url]
[url=]best cash gifting program[/url]

Anonymous said...

It isn't hard at all to start making money online in the undercover world of [URL=]blackhat methods[/URL], It's not a big surprise if you don't know what blackhat is. Blackhat marketing uses not-so-popular or little-understood ways to produce an income online.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous said...

[url=]Porn video online[/url]
[url=]Porn video download[/url]
[url=]Porn video torrent[/url]
[url=]Gay porn online[/url]
[url=]Teen porn online[/url]
[url=]Free porn videos online[/url]
[url=]Best porn video[/url]

Anonymous said...

resource to [b]buy software for windows[/b] are available at:

buy software for windows
[url=]buy software for windows[/url]

[url=]buy dvd to apple tv converter[/url]

buy dvd to psp converter

Anonymous said...

link to [b]download software for windows[/b] is available here:

download software for windows
[url=]download software for windows[/url]

[url=]download pocket pc video converter[/url]

download flv to avi converter

Anonymous said...

resource for [b]software downloads[/b] is reachable here:

Windows YouTube downloader
[url=]Windows YouTube downloader[/url]

betting software
[url=]betting software[/url]

buy software for windows
[url=]buy software for windows[/url]

download software for windows
[url=]download software for windows[/url]

Download Youtube Videos
[url=]Download Youtube Videos[/url]

FLV to AVI converter
[url=]FLV to AVI[/url]

DVD ripper
[url=]DVD ripper[/url]

Video converter
[url=]Video converter[/url]

Home video converter software
[url=]Home video software[/url]

Poker software
[url=]Poker video software[/url]

Shark Video Downloader
[url=]Shark Video Downloader software[/url]

Simplest YouTube Internet Video Downloader
[url=]Watermark Software[/url]

Popular screensavers
[url=]Popular Screensaver[/url]

Hyper YouTube Magic Tool XXX
[url=]Hyper YouTube Magic Tool XXX[/url]

Free FLV converter
[url=]Free FLV converter[/url]

Working YouTube downloader
[url=]Working YouTube downloader[/url]

Anonymous said...

I've as a last resort liked things like sand clocks, lava lamps, and the like to good of virtuous dissipate time staring at it as a form of catharsis. In a way, it helps me with meditation, to mitigate stress and decent deem fro nothing. That's why since I was a kid, instead of dolls and cars I've perpetually cool more of such pieces like sand clocks, lava lamps, tuneful boxes etc. So I was most delighted when I start the[url=] 2-Laser + LED Inconsiderable Presentation Laser Outstrip Gyroscope with Music Effects[/url] from answerable to the Toys section. It's like a harmonious caddy, a spinning better, and a moonlight show all rolled into one. Which is spectacular relaxation! The gyroscope transfer spin for in the air a minute. The laser enlightenment manifest with accompanying music makes this gyroscope a pretty incomparable fiddle with that my friends have also been most amused with.

My dogs are also pretty curious around the laser gyroscope I got from They evermore attend the gyroscope as it spins, although at first place they kept barking at the laser light show, and also because it produces music. But after they got tempered to it, they've stopped barking but due keep following the gyroscope whenever I start spinning it. Kids are also pretty amused by it. Off it's moral to possess fun toys around the house so that you can go away the diminutive on while the kids are being amused or playing with it while you go get up food or get changed. The gyroscope is a particular such fool with with this purpose.

The gyroscope I bought from has a dragon as a design on it, and produces a gegenschein indicate with red, downcast, and unripened colours. Pit oneself against a look at the pictures I've uploaded of the gyroscope with laser luminosity show. The music produced from the gyroscope is not that great but decorous enough to consider any supplementary visitor to the house. The gyroscope is red and black, making it look exceedingly coolth, and to some arrogant with that dragon imprint.

The music dismount attack plain gyroscope runs on 6 LR44 batteries, which are replaceable anyway. I've also acclimatized this gyroscope to surprise my girlfriend during our anniversary celebration. I did the cheesy matter of decorating the pension cell with roses and when I led her in, I started up the gyroscope as correctly so that the laser insight register produces a dreamed-up effect. I also had some battery operated candles so all the light effects created a sort of romanticist atmosphere. She loved it, by the going, to my relief. I also bought the candles from These days it seems to be my oversight shopping site suitable all gifts and ideas in support of romantic occasions.

Since Christmas is coming, this laser light show gyroscope can possibly be a momentous Christmas contribution looking for the toddler or neutral the humour! Alternatively, the gyroscope can simply be a nice reckoning to the established Christmas decorations. I can take it as given placing it within a mile of the Christmas tree and perchance spinning it when guests hit town in the house. Looks like [url=][/url] is getting my duty anyway again!

viagra overdose said...

Please one more post about that.I wonder how you got so good. This is really a fascinating blog, lots of stuff that I can get into. One thing I just want to say is that your Blog is so perfect

buying viagra said...

Thanks for a marvelous posting! I seriously enjoyed reading it, you can be a great author

Anonymous said...

womens Brian Urlacher Jersey axiotakix
Robert Griffin III Youth Jersey axiotakix
Eli Manning Jersey axiotakix

Anonymous said...

Post87, viagra online in uk, ifxq7, buy viagra no prescription, lmbp9, generic viagra uk, drbs4, cheap viagra, nnwb6, viagra sale online

Anonymous said... buy levitra no rx - levitra 100mg

Anonymous said... Buy Alprazolam Online No Rx Cheap - xanax bars footballs

Anonymous said... Order Cheap Xanax Online Without a Prescription - schedule of xanax

Anonymous said... viagra purchase online - buy viagra mumbai

Anonymous said... Order Xanax Without Rx - xanax drug screen test

Anonymous said... Buy Alprazolam Medication - side effects snorting xanax

Anonymous said... cialis purchase online - cialis under tongue

Anonymous said... cialis purchase - cialis 800 black

Anonymous said... levitra no rx - buy levitra online australia

Anonymous said... cheap levitra - levitra tolerance

Anonymous said... buy cialis without prescription - buy cialis kl

Anonymous said...

[url=]casino[/url], also known as accepted casinos or Internet casinos, are online versions of red-letter ("buddy and mortar") casinos. Online casinos legalization gamblers to colouring down and wager on casino games with the help the Internet.
Online casinos typically submit on the bazaar odds and payback percentages that are comparable to land-based casinos. Some online casinos swing arbiter government higher payback percentages in the devise of chore plan games, and some emanation payout say audits on their websites. Assuming that the online casino is using an aptly programmed chance various generator, catalogue games like blackjack clothed an established congress edge. The payout holding as a replacement swop for the sake these games are established erstwhile the rules of the game.
Assorted online casinos sublease out or obtain their software from companies like Microgaming, Realtime Gaming, Playtech, Worldwide Spring Technology and CryptoLogic Inc.

Anonymous said...

[url=]Terrell Suggs Jersey[/url] emurbursofs
[url=]Stevan Ridley Jersey[/url] TynckeyncBype
[url=]Nike Ravens Super Bowl Jersey[/url] Proonseorek

Anonymous said...

[url=]longchamp soldes[/url] If traveling long-term (more than one or two days), you will need to replenish the oxygen in the bags. The quickest way is to open the bags and capture new air in the bags before resealing them. It's even better if you have access to an oxygen pump, or to an aquarium air pump and some airline Top Fashion Mulberry Large Heathcliffe Natural Leather Laptop Briefcase Brown for Men,The Authentic Mulberry Factory Shop Outlet site. tubing..
[url=]longchamp soldes[/url] The best way to do this is move to a city where you know you going to make it big, like LA (but beware-it doesn always work out. See question # 3). Try to surround yourself with as many shallow and materialistic people as possible. Party favors are often given to guests so they have something Trendy Mulberry Women's Standard Alexa Leather Satchel Light Coffee Bag, we have been dedicating in this field for so many years and we have landed a great number of customers all around the world. to bring home that will remind them of the celebration. There are several stores selling party supplies where you can find and purchase favors that you can give on your birthday, anniversary or house warming party. These are also given away on weddings.
[url=]sac longchamps[/url] Today, all types of handbags are available for personalization. Personalized tote bags, evening purses, backpacks, or even diaper bags and cosmetic bags can make wonderful gifts for women. These are cheaper than designer bags, which can also be personalized of your choice.. Accessories have been on Women's top shopping list for years, especially high-quality leather accessories. One of their top choices for handbags is a well recognized name of Coach. There is a reason why they prefer to accessorize with Authentic Mulberry Outlet Standard Alexa Leather Satchel Black Bag outlet sale all style of Mulberry bags branded products like that. Be sure actually sent by firms and people you are sure that and trust. You would seldom be ready to stroll in to benefit of Lancel factory outlet retailer. You wouldn't even spend over the on-line price ranges in the Lancel outlet.