If Gun Control Fails, Blame McCain, Not 'Extremists'
Alex Pareene thinks we're seeing a vivid illustration of why the Senate is broken
By Kevin Spak,  Newser User
Posted Apr 8, 2013 1:01 PM CDT
In this photo provided by CBS News, Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., appears, Sunday, April 7, 2013, on CBS' "Face the Nation" in Washington.   (AP Photo/CBS News, Chris Usher)

(Newser) – Washington elites are no doubt applauding Joe Manchin and Pat Toomey for attempting to forge a gun control deal. That such tense negotiations are necessary, even though most Americans and at least 51 senators support comprehensive background checks, "isn't considered particularly distressing or embarrassing," observes Alex Pareene at Salon. And if it is, the media has a ready villain: extremists, such as that dastardly Rand Paul. Moderate John McCain recently expressed bewilderment about Paul's tactics, saying, "The purpose of the United States Senate is to debate and to vote."

If that's true "McCain has a bit of explaining to do," Pareene argues, because he's twice helped defeat filibuster reform. Contrary to popular belief, the Senate has always been polarized. What's changed is the abuse of the silent filibuster, which has made "an already undemocratic body even more undemocratic." If gun control fails, it won't be because of Paul's crew. It'll be "because people like John McCain have worked quite hard to protect their rights to halt any legislation they please whenever they want for any reason." Click for Pareene's full column.