Yes, it wasn’t the exact same as the so-called nuclear option that would have prevented filibusters on judicial nominees, but it’s really close. It set up a procedural precedent whereby the Senate can change its rules in the middle of a session with a majority vote. Prior to today’s action, it was accepted protocol that it took a 2/3 majority to change Senate procedures.
This is the exact same vote that the Gang of 14 was chartered to prevent. Of the Gang, only five Democrats remain in the Senate. Four of them switched sides and voted with Reid on this vote: Those four were Inouye (D-HI), Landrieu (D-LA), Pryor (D-AR) and Lieberman (D-CT); only Ben Nelson (D-NE) broke with Reid, proving once again for our naive Republicans in the Senate that the Gang was always a political animal only useful for the containment of conservative ideals and stopping George W. Bush from seating Constitution loving judges.
But back at the ranch, I wondered why now? Obama’s Stimulus Jr. (aka Jobs Bill) is as dead as a hammer; dead as an armadillo. Dead. Additionally, the media is doing a masterful job of protecting Democrats from any public scrutiny on it. I’ll guarantee you, if you polled Americans today, over 80% of them would say that Obama’s jobs bill has not passed Congress due to Republican opposition. Yes, we oppose it, but it hasn’t passed because Democrats and Republicans oppose it, not that you’d ever know that by the Demedia coverage.
This action was purportedly to protect the Democrats in the Senate from uncomfortable votes on Stimulus Jr., but when you consider public perception, that is like using a D9 Cat to plant a tulip bulb. Democrats are already safe on this. The public doesn’t want the bill to pass; the press is not blaming it on the Democrats; all the votes could be excused as procedural for true believers; and it’s DOA in the House.
Therefore, I start looking for other clues. You know what I came up with? Ruth Bader Ginsberg is as reliable a vote the left has on the court, is 78 years old and in bad health, but is still capable of reading Rassmussen Reports.
Possible? Ginsburg is leaving and Reid wants to make sure Barry gets to pick another far lefty in her place? The only drawback to my theory is that the Rs in the Senate certainly showed no hint of backbone when it came time to oppose the Smartest Latino Woman Evah or Obamacare Kagan, giving them easy hearings and swift confirmation, leaving sensible people with the impression that any resignation now would give Obama another seat, regardless of filibuster rules.
I’ve seen the theory elsewhere on the internet that Reid wants the Senate to be a Democrat foil for the Republican House, acting as a standard bearer for the Obama agenda in this election year, but I can’t see an Obama agenda other than Stimulus Jr. Why would Reid want to act as a standard bearer for an unpopular agenda that he refuses to even debate, let alone bring to a vote?
I don’t know the answer, but I know that if Mitch McConnell was smart or determined, he could use this to *destroy* the Democrats in 2013 and beyond if the Rs take the Senate.