Friday, November 22, 2013
Roundup: Reactions To The Nuclear Option
Well, Majority Leader Harry Reid pulled the trigger on the Nuclear Option, destroying the filibuster and taking away the rights of the Republicans to have any input at all on judicial appointments 'except the Supreme Court' as Reid was quick to add. That will last until there's a vacancy President wants to fill with a young, far Left radical,who can now be appointed by a simple majority. Even Vice President Joe Biden can provide the winning vote if the senate is split.
Making Legislation passable with a simple majority will likely come next.
This is a major historic change far more than many people realize, and the reactions have been interesting and even surprising in some quarters.
While he's apparently forgotten how Democrats behaved over George W. Bush's judicial nominees like Janice Rogers and was careful to utter the mantra of how the Republicans brought this on themselves by 'being obstructionist, reliably left Dana Milbank over at the pro-Obama Washington Post was surprisingly prescient on what a bad development this move is,calling it 'the Democrat's naked power grab' :
If Congress wasn’t broken before, it certainly is now. What Reid (Nev.) and his fellow Democrats effectively did was take the chamber of Congress that still functioned at a modest level and turn it into a clone of the other chamber, which functions not at all. They turned the Senate into the House.
Here’s what then-Sen. Joe Biden said in 2005 when a Republican Senate majority threatened to use a similar “nuclear option” to allow a simple majority to carry the day:
“The nuclear option abandons America’s sense of fair play . . . tilting the playing field on the side of those who control and own the field. I say to my friends on the Republican side: You may own the field right now, but you won’t own it forever. I pray God when the Democrats take back control, we don’t make the kind of naked power grab you are doing.”
Sen. Carl Levin (Mich.), one of just three Democrats who opposed his colleagues’ naked power grab, read those words on the Senate floor Thursday after Reid invoked the nuclear option. The rumpled Levin is not known for his oratory. But he is retiring next year and free to speak his mind — and his words were potent.
“We need to change the rules, but to change it in the way we changed it today means there are no rules except as the majority wants them,” Levin said. “This precedent is going to be used, I fear, to change the rules on consideration of legislation, and down the road — we don’t know how far down the road; we never know that in a democracy — but, down the road, the hard-won protections and benefits for our people’s health and welfare will be lost.”
Levin's right about that. The Republicans are only six seats shy of a simple majority and getting there is not exactly a huge or impossible task given President Obama's fading numbers and given how the incumbent's party normally loses seats in the midterms anyway,particularly in a second term. Should the Republicans win that simple majority in the senate, they will have absolutely no incentive whatsoever to work with Democrats on anything. And this is not a healthy development.
Of course, aside from the pressure put on him by the president and the Congressional Black Caucus, the chance of losing the Senate was Reid's real motive for this.They can now go ahead and appoint a whole slew of radical Leftist judges to the bench to keep their agenda alive even after the American people have rejected it electorally.
Needless to say, this sort of thing is applauded by the Left generally, given the totalitarian nature of most self-styled 'progressives'
The New York Times referred to this as 'Democracy returns to the Senate', which is exactly the reverse of what Pravda-on-the-Hudson had to say back in 2005 back when GOP Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist mulled over pulling the Nuclear option when he was faced by hysterical opposition to former President George W. Bush's appointments. Back then it was, "The Senate, of all places, should be sensitive to the fact that this large and diverse country has never believed in government by an unrestrained majority rule. Its composition is a repudiation of the very idea that the largest number of votes always wins out."
Another interesting reaction came from Senator John McCain, who was instrumental in undercutting Frist back in 2005 by assembling the so-called Gang of 14 who pledged not to vote for a nuclear option no matter what. Now I haven't checked myself, but it wouldn't surprise me if some of the Gang of 14 Democrats who were on board with McCain back then were among the Democrats who voted with Harry Reid this time, who of course, back in 2005 was quite vocal on what a horrible idea the Nuclear option was and how it would destroy the Senate.
McCain, with all the stuttering rage of an unpaid prostitute who forgot that age old rule about getting the money in hand first before putting out angrily said that the Democrats were going to pay a heavy price for this.
I'm tempted to provide a link to the Soros-funded Talking Points Memo story on this to let you read how brutally the Lefties flogged him over this,but I'll let you find it for yourself. I would almost say that it couldn't have happened to a more deserving recipient. Almost,but not quite.
The bottom line is that McCain and his fellow 'moderates' stupidly trusted Harry Reid and got screwed hard without any lubricant.I would hope some of them learned a lesson from this, but I'm not holding my breath. People in abusive relationships do seem to go back to them many times, no matter how badly they get hurt.
At the end of it, this has made our government a lot less stable, leading to fast and dramatic policy changes based on one of two votes, a lot less of an atmosphere of compromise, and a lot more hi-octane partisanship. The Democrats who voted for this not only voted to poison the well for a short term political advantage,but to lessen their own power.Holds by an individual senator who wants to negotiate something or prolong deliberations to gather additional facts before a vote are no longer possible.
Another reason this was a bad idea, at least for Democrats is because it has, to a degree, united the Republican caucus in a way they weren't united before. Even Maine's Senator Susan Collins, about as close to a Democrat as a Republican can be without changing her party affiliation is making angry noises about this.
I have a feeling that the Democrats are going to look back on this in the future and wish they hadn't done this. It was bad for the sneate, worse for the country and possibly worst of all for them.