Say what you will about Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV) -- and to be clear, he has done nothing to prevent the onset of Obamacare -- but he at least understands the nuclear option has implications beyond partisanship, warning it undermined “protection of the minority views.”
In the aftermath of the nuclear option, heretofore known as the Reid Rule, Obama doesn’t actually need the vote of “moderate” Democrats (not that they actually exist). Because the Democrats have 55 votes in the Senate, Obama and Reid could essentially ignore the five least compliant Democrats (assuming Vice President Joe Biden were presiding to break a 50-50 tie).
If Mary Landrieu is as independent as she claims to be (hint: she’s not), then Barack Obama and Harry Reid don’t need her anymore. Landrieu made herself, and several of her fellow red state colleagues, expendable. When it comes nominations, Reid and Obama will no longer have to “focus on” senators like Mark Begich (D-AR), Kay Hagan (D-NC) and Mark Pryor (D-AR).
Let’s assume for the sake of argument these Democrats do, in fact, break ranks frequently with Obama. Would Reid risk alienating his massive liberal contingent -- senators such as Richard Blumenthal (D-CT), Tom Udall (D-NM), Al Franken (D-MN), Sherrod Brown (D-OH), Ben Cardin (D-MD), Barbara Boxer (D-CA), etc. -- to secure the support of “moderate” Democrats?
Of course not.
The Reid Rule will serve to empower the most aggressively progressives in the Democrat’s narrow caucus. As Heritage Action’s CEO Michael A. Needham warned last week, “this is an attempt to remake America to reflect their unworkable and unpopular progressive vision.”
If Obama decides Landrieu, Hagan, Pyror, Begich and New Hampshire’s Jeanne Shaheen are now expendable, won’t voters surely do the same?