Posted Tuesday, Dec. 21, 2010, at 10:48 AM
Sen. Arlen Specter is making his farewell address in the Senate right now. Twenty-two Democrats are listening to him in the chamber, including Majority Leader Harry Reid. Only eight Republicans are present, including Olympia Snowe, Lisa Murkowski, and Orrin Hatch. This was actually a larger attendance than most senators were getting for their farewells, as Specter pointed out in his opening. And hey, he didn't blame people for not showing up.
"The days of lively debate, of many members on the floor, are all gone," he said. "Abuse of the Senate rules has pretty much stripped senators of the right to introduce amendments. The abuse of the filibuster," he said, means that legislation can be stopped with threats, not talk. "That's not the way it was when Sen. Chris Dodd and I were privileged to enter the world's greatest deliberative body."