Saturday, May 18, 2013
Harry Reid Reaches Defcon 1
Just file this under, "What the fuck took you so long?"
Harry Reid finally got the message. After more than four years of trying his best to be the reasonable man in the room, giving the minority party the benefit of the doubt and allowing nominee after nominee to be filibustered, the majority leader has had enough.
According to a story in The Washington Post, Reid is prepared to undertake real filibuster reform this July if Senate Republicans block three upcoming nominations. The measure, referred to as going "nuclear" by its proponents, would be limited to judicial and executive branch nominations and would not affect legislation. Ostensibly, Democrats would only need 51 votes to get a nominee through the Senate, instead of the 60 votes now required.
The reason for the delay till July is due to Democrats' concern that if Reid moves forward with the rules change now it would likely kill any chance of passing immigration reform. While that is indeed a legitimate concern, most pundits have argued that Republicans stand to lose more by balking on a reform bill than Democrats, especially given the nation's demographic shift.
Of course there's always the possibility that Republicans will blink and allow all three nominations an up or down vote in the chamber. They've done it before. Call it a temporary stay of execution. That would certainly ease tensions somewhat and avoid the showdown that Reid and some Senate Democrats still don't want.
Others, though, believe a rules change is inevitable, whether it comes in July or down the road. The simple fact is that the GOP has been unwilling to listen to reason. Appeasement has clearly not worked. Sooner or later Harry Reid will be forced to do the obvious.