The Senate has changed its rules for procedure. The change was considered in the past but it is the current Senate, with advocacy by its majority leader, that bit the bullet. The outrage at the change comes from many quarters. First up is Patrick Caddell, a Democratic pollster:
“The role of the Senate is to be a deliberative body. The rule of filibuster was overthrown Thursday by a change in the rules. It’s a change which could never have even been conceived of before in our history, even in those periods when we’ve had total one party rule.”
As you might expect from a Democrat, there is much effort to show ‘both sides did it’ and it was Bush’s fault. That tends to ignore that fact that talking is one thing, doing is another, and there is a difference between parties and the tactics they use. Senate Rules for Radicals at the Wall Street Journal picks up on this:
“Today’s Democrats have grown up in the Saul Alinsky tradition, and on Thursday they proved it with a partisan vote to break the Senate filibuster rule for confirming judges and executive-branch nominees. The new rules will empower the party’s liberals for as long as they control the White House and Senate, but they will also set a precedent for conservatives to exploit in the future.
Majority Leader Harry Reid broke a GOP filibuster of a judicial nominee on a 52-48 vote. He was prodded by the Democratic Senate classes of 2006-2012, younger liberals in a hurry like Al Franken (Minnesota), Jeff Merkley (Oregon) and Jeanne Shaheen (New Hampshire). These are the same liberals who enjoyed a rare 60-vote supermajority in 2009-2010 when they rammed through ObamaCare without a single Republican vote. They view the minority as an inconvenience to be rolled.”
“The move shows how foolish Republicans like John McCain, Lindsey Graham and Orrin Hatch were to worry that if they broke the filibuster, Democrats would then do it too. Democrats did it anyway. The only way to deter bloody-minded Democratic behavior is to treat Democrats as they treat Republicans. Democrats sicced special prosecutors on GOP Presidents for years, but they gave up the independent-counsel statute only after Ken Starr investigated Bill Clinton.
The immediate result of Harry Reid’s power play will be that President Obama has a freer hand to pursue his agenda through regulation and the courts. Democrats will now rush to pack the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals in particular, adding three new judges over GOP objection to a court that is already underworked.”
Then there’s how Harry Reid Smashes History.
“To put things in perspective, our friend Dan McCarthy at the American Conservative estimates this is the “biggest change to the institutional character of the Senate since the ratification of the 17th Amendment.” That might be an understatement. The conversations I’ve had with friends and colleagues on the Hill imply that this is the single greatest revocation of the minority party’s deliberative rights in American history.
Yet for all the atomic analogies, the issue that prompted Reid’s decision may appear banal.” … “Senator Reid has drastically increased the president’s legal leverage, while fortifying a lifetime legacy of judicial activism on this nation’s second most powerful court.”
It is another step on the road, another stick in the fire slowly boiling the water with the frog, another wearing away at what was to make a fantasy that denies reality. “The minority as an inconvenience to be rolled” rather than a voice to be heard is not a path towards unity and successful outcomes.