My personal feeling is that supporting a filibuster against your own party and your own party's president should be treated as a serious and rare measure on major issues of conscience where the sacrifice of some of the prerogatives of seniority are a small price to pay... at a minimum, the practice of thinking of cloture votes as identical to substantive votes, and tolerating defections on the former as just the same as the latter, needs to come to an end.This is exactly right. Much has been said (and I think some of it on this blog) about the dangers of over-valuing party loyalty, but when we talk about that we usually mean the degree of arm-twisting that goes on behind the scenes over forcing people to vote according to the will of their party's leader. Intentionally preventing the majority of your own party from even being able to vote on legislation tied to your platform, though, is just flat-out dickish, absent tremendously compelling exceptional circumstances. People need to understand the distinction.
Update: While we're on the subject, note the dickishness of Evan Bayh. "Most senators aren't sheep," he said. "They don't just go blindly along without thinking about things, and I don't think we want them to do that."
I don't even know what that means. Allowing a vote to be held makes someone a sheep? Is that really what he's saying here? It's sheepish behaviour, the herd mentality, to actually allow people to vote their consciences? That's the exact opposite of being a sheep, surely? Bayh's problem isn't that permitting a straight up-or-down vote is sheepish behaviour, it's that he clearly wants to be a sheep on the other side.