Barbed wire fence.What’s the biggest barrier to progress in American politics? Ask a dozen people at random and you’ll hear everything from “bad messaging” to “poor grassroots organization” to “corruption.” What you probably won’t hear much about is the procedural rules of the U.S. Senate. And yet it is Senate dysfunction, more than anything else, that has blocked or weakened the agenda Obama and the Democrats were elected to enact. The ignominious demise of the climate bill is just the latest example.

It’s time to start talking about Senate reform. The rules are being abused and American democracy is suffering.

I organized a panel on the subject at Netroots Nation this year (where talk of Senate reform was very much in the air). Afterwards, I asked each of the panelists to write a short essay summarizing their comments at the event. They are collected here:

Here’s a video of the panel, should you wish to watch the whole thing:


Some of my previous posts on the filibuster:

Here’s a couple from back in 2007, the last round of the climate fight:

And finally, here’s a good recent one from Alan Durning: Winning on climate may require reforming the U.S. Senate

More to come.

— David Roberts