Harry Reid’s Hubris? Not So Fast.

For indispensable reporting on the coronavirus crisis, the election, and more, subscribe to the Mother Jones Daily newsletter.


This cracks me up. Via Andrew Sullivan, here is Cato’s Roger Pilon cackling over the chickens coming home to roost for Harry Reid:

How sweet it is. Less than a year ago—on November 21st, to be exact—Harry Reid went nuclear….He ended the availability of the filibuster for most executive branch nominations, not by the two-thirds vote that Senate rules had long required but by a simple majority.

….And where will those remaining Democratic senators who voted for Harry Reid’s nuclear option be sitting? Why on the minority side, watching Republicans enjoy their newly acquired power to block controversial Democratic nominees by the vote of a mere majority—all because of Harry’s hubris.

Republicans are now able to block Obama’s nominees by a mere majority! Imagine that!

Just to state the obvious, the nuclear option merely removed the ability for a minority to block presidential appointments. Under every version of Senate rules in history, a majority could always block them. So nothing has changed and Reid is paying no “price” for his hubris.

(Technically, I suppose the price Reid is paying is the ability to filibuster his own president’s nominees. But I’m pretty sure that was never a big part of his playbook.)

There’s something about the institutional filibuster that drives men mad. Over time, it somehow makes “mere majorities” seem almost totalitarian. But mere majorities are the very stuff of democracy, and they’ve always been allowed to block action. That was the case on November 21st of last year, and it’s still the case today.

DEMOCRACY DOES NOT EXIST...

without free and fair elections, a vigorous free press, and engaged citizens to reclaim power from those who abuse it.

In this election year unlike any other—against a backdrop of a pandemic, an economic crisis, racial reckoning, and so much daily crazy—Mother Jones' journalism is driven by one simple question: Will America will move closer to, or further from, justice and equity in the years to come?

If you're able to, please join us in this mission with a donation today. Our reporting right now is focused on voting rights and election security, corruption, disinformation, racial and gender equity, and the climate crisis. We can’t do it without the support of readers like you, and we need to give it everything we've got between now and November. Thank you.

DEMOCRACY DOES NOT EXIST...

without free and fair elections, a vigorous free press, and engaged citizens to reclaim power from those who abuse it.

In this election year unlike any other—against a backdrop of a pandemic, an economic crisis, racial reckoning, and so much daily crazy—Mother Jones' journalism is driven by one simple question: Will America will move closer to, or further from, justice and equity in the years to come?

If you're able to, please join us in this mission with a donation today. Our reporting right now is focused on voting rights and election security, corruption, disinformation, racial and gender equity, and the climate crisis. We can’t do it without the support of readers like you, and we need to give it everything we've got between now and November. Thank you.

We Recommend

Latest

Sign up for our newsletters

Subscribe and we'll send Mother Jones straight to your inbox.

Get our award-winning magazine

Save big on a full year of investigations, ideas, and insights.

Subscribe

Support our journalism

Help Mother Jones' reporters dig deep with a tax-deductible donation.

Donate