Song of the South
The following quotations are from arguments presented by several U.S. Senators in the current debate over proposed amendment of the cloture rule to prevent filibusters from blocking legislative action. Still in progress, the discussion began on February 28, and has been primarily a Dixieorat affair. The Southerners charge that the majority move is designed to clear the path for forcing antipoll tax, anti-lynch, and Fair Employment Practices laws through the Senate.
Connally (Texas) . . . We hear talk today about the sufferings of nations that were conquered in the last war. They do not compare with the sufferings borne by and outrages practiced among the people of the South following Appomattox . . . Let us not destroy the forum in which Calhoun thundered. Let us not wipe out this particular place where Daniel Webster became known to history as one of the greatest orators and statesman of all time.
Stennis (Miss.) . . . I challenge anyone to show that the great mass of the people have ever been really injured by the operation of the great rule of unlimited debate . . . I submit that there is no more important mile anywhere than the rule under which the Senate so admirably operated for more than a hundred years. In fact, I think that in some ways it is even more important than the very terms of the Constitution itself in preserving the Republic . . . If this resolution is adopted, who will be the first on the list to feel its wrath! . . . It will be the South . . . Is big business next on the list! There is such a thing as legitimate big business. When it is right, I certainly favor it. Its bigness has done a great deal of good . . . Mr. President, debate is the greatest governmental and political invention man has ever been able to make.
Eastland (Miss.) . . . In the Roman Senate there existed for 450 years the right of unlimited debate . . . Cicero, at the very height of Rome's power, said in the Roman Senate that if a change of that rule were ever made, it would mark the decline of Rome . . .
Long (La.) The minority, through its right of unlimited debate, may test the determination and the conscience as well as the endurance of the majority . . . It is the majority which does the damage under our American form of government. It passes legislation. It is the majority that should be restrained . . . I now am of the opinion that cloture, in any form, is an evil, a termite gnawing at our very vitals, an instrument of which we would be well rid.
Hoey (N.C.) Can anyone point to any measure which would be in the interest of the American people which has been defeated because of the existence of this rule? . . . There is no citizen in any one of the States who cannot pay $1 or $2 a year if he wishes to vote . . . We hear many talk about segregation as if it were discrimination. . . In reality it is just the reverse . . . God made the different races, but He did not combine them. He did not consodidate them. He did not mongrelize them.
Tobey (N.H.) The Senator from Arkansas (Fulbright) has asserted that Senators are not present on. I will tell the Senator while the debate is going on. I will tell the Senator why they are not present. It is because some of them are sick unto death of this piddling stuff which is going on day after day here, this childish stuff, this kid stuff. Senators . . . want a chance to vote and get down to a decision. But here there is continual drool, drool, drool. I am heartily sick of it.