Harry Reid: Hey, Let's Ditch the Filibuster

Posted: May 10, 2012 8:28 PM

He's bitter, you see, because Republicans want to pay for the student loan interest rate fix (the very need for which is Democrats' own doing) with spending offsets, rather than his party's tax-hike-and-raid-Medicare scheme. Couple that frustration with Sen. Jon Kyl's irritating insistence on offering amendments to another bill, and Reid appeared ready to go nuclear:


"If there were ever anything that needed changing in this body, it's the filibuster rule, because it's been abused, abused, and abused."

Interestingly, when Reid's minority posse was actually abusing the judicial filibuster in the mid-2000's, they defended their inviolable right to obstruct President Bush's appointees with indignant hysteria:

They gang's all there: Obama, Biden, Hillary, Reid, etc.  I especially enjoy Sen. Feinstein's ominous comment around the two-minute mark, warning that if Republicans had succeeded in abolishing the judicial filibuster (a move ultimately averted by the "Gang of 14" compromise), one day they might even come after the super-sacred legislative filibuster.  Which is precisely what Reid effectively endorsed about today.  I can't help but wonder if he'll instantly change his tune if Republicans net, say, four Senate seats in November.  Here's a handy preview of what the Senate's foremost cowboy poetry enthusiast could conceivably argue in defense of the filibuster rule as soon as Republicans reclaim the majority:

The Senate was not established to be efficient. Sometimes the rules get in the way of efficiency. The Senate was established to make sure that minorities are protected. Majorities can always protect themselves, but minorities cannot. That is what the Senate is all about. For more than 200 years, the rules of the Senate have protected the American people, and rightfully so. The need to muster 60 votes in order to terminate Senate debate naturally frustrates the majority and oftentimes the minority. I am sure it will frustrate me when I assume the office of majority leader in a few weeks. But I recognize this requirement is a tool that serves the long-term interest of the Senate and the American people and our country.

In case you were curious, those were Reid's verbatim thoughts on the matter last time he was in the minority.  Parting thought: Was Reid just blowing off steam in the clip above, or is he actually gearing up to nuke minority rights?  Given that the Republican House remains a buffer to much Congressional nonsense, I'd guess the former.  But then again, Reid has abandoned decades of precedent and comity in favor of a raw power grab before.