Let’s review the bidding on the filibuster. Earlier this week, Harry Reid used the threat of filibuster reform to get Mitch McConnell to agree to a set of weak changes plus a gentleman’s agreement not to obstruct as much. A few hours after this nothingburger passed through the geriatric, polyp-ridden colon that is today’s Senate, Mitch McConnell was sending out fundraising emails bragging about how he beat the Democrats. Then a DC court stacked with serious conservatives invalidated the 50-year tradition of recess appointments, making it even less likely that any of the Senate’s business will be accomplished.
As for the consequences of this, what Joe Patrice said:
And we all know how this will turn out: within weeks of this new spirit of bipartisanship, Mitch McConnell will begin filibustering everything in sight. Harry Reid will go on the news and whine about McConnell betraying their deal. McConnell will publicly mock Reid for being the weakest Senate leader in the modern era, and Harry Reid will take the floor with a tearful apology to Merkley and Udall for not going with their plan.
And another Senate session is lost.
Joe’s pretty hard on Harry Reid, and Reid deserves plenty of scorn, but there were a lot of other Democrats who didn’t want filibuster reform, for two reasons. The first is the misguided belief that if they don’t change Senate rules with a majority vote, Republicans will refrain from using the so-called nuclear option when they have a majority. That’s thinking like a chump, plain and simple: a majority of Republicans will change whatever they fucking please whenever it pleases them as long as they see advantage in doing it. The second reason that old codgers like DiFi, Levin and Baucus didn’t want filibuster reform is that it allows them to work both sides of the fence. When a bill has support of a majority but not 60 voters, they can blather on about how they’d vote for the bill, secure in the knowledge that an actual vote will never happen. This allows them to mollify supporters with happy talk while keeping those corporate campaign dollars rolling in.
There’s a lot of talk on this blog about the inevitable Democratic majority, but how many more voters do Democrats have to gather before their agenda actually becomes law? The Republicans out-gerrymandered Democrats to keep the House, they’re working to slant the Electoral College in their direction, and they just won a big victory in the Senate that will let them obstruct for two more years. As DougJ memorably said, Democrats are still coming to a knife fight with a tote bag, and we keep getting cut.