Filibuster Battle Avoided, For Now

This column was written by CBS News Early Show Co-anchor Harry Smith.
The big headline today was the Senate seems to have avoided -- at least for the time being -- the battle over the filibuster.

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A filibuster is not to be confused with the peanut buster parfait at Dairy Queen or, "Who ya gonna call ... Ghost Busters."

The filibuster is a device used in the Senate that allows the minority party a little more say on important issues. While you and I have been fairly obsessed with the filibuster controversy, America -- surprise -- has not been.

A new CBS News Poll says that two thirds of respondents basically were paying scant if any attention to it at all. That talk of shutting down the government -- of the nuclear option -- was apparently falling on disinterested ears.

The poll also showed that a significant majority -- two-thirds of Americans actually want 60 votes in the Senate to confirm judges. They want those judges to jump through a higher hoop than a straight up or down vote.

All this nasty talk of the last couple of months has gotten plenty of folks riled up. But, in the end, 14 senators, Republicans and Democrats decided that the middle should prevail. It's not very sexy. There's no scorched earth to sniff. And goodness knows we'll probably be down this road again when it comes to Supreme Court nominees.

The place you don't want to be today though is on the answering end of those senators phone calls. The special interests, left and right, will cry betrayal and promise payback down the road. Those senators chose -- dare I say it? -- a moderate path. And the great American center busted through.

Harry's daily commentary can be heard on manyCBS Radio News affiliates across the country.

By Harry Smith


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