This administration proved just how low they would go to push through their radical agenda in one of the most lawless power grabs in the history of the US Senate. Harry Reid and his cohorts in the Senate invoked the “nuclear option” to prevent most filibusters of presidential nominees.
As outrageous as this power grab was, and we'll get to more of that in a minute, there is no doubt that this was politically timed to distract from the train wreck that is ObamaCare. This is their attempt to have us chasing rabbits, taking our eyes off other stories that are politically damaging to the Democrats.
It was also an attempt to bolster a waning Democratic base. Even NBC's Chuck Todd acknowledges, “This has been something that many in the activist base of the Democratic Party have been wanting Harry Reid to do for a while. So I think this is also about a moment of reassurance to the Democratic base who is feeling a little bit, you know, under attack and under siege a little bit because of how poorly the health care rollout is going.”
We won't be distracted and will continue to give you the latest details on ObamaCare, but you need to understand just how radical and hypocritical this move was by the Senate.
Jamie Dupree says that “this is basically the third major change in the Senate's rules in the last 100 years.” This is a big deal and will change much of how the Senate operates in the future. I also believe it will diminish our faith in the political integrity of the system and inflate hyper-partisanship.
Now years ago, Republicans threatened to “go nuclear” but never actually did so. Yesterday the Democrats decided that their radical agenda was more important than the rules. This means that Democrats will be able to “pack the courts” with like-minded judges, and have a better shot of success with controversial legal challenges. For example, the Wall Street Journal cites: “The D.C. Circuit will now have more liberal judges to hear challenges to his unilateral climate-change power grab or his rewrite by fiat of the Affordable Care Act.” Senator Ted Cruz agrees, “The heart of this action is directed at packing the D.C. Circuit because that is the court that will review the lawless behavior of the Obama administration implementing ObamaCare.”
Somewhere along the way, it seems as though the American people are potentially the big losers, with the winners being power-hungry politicians in Washington.
Let's talk about the hypocrisy of it all. Just a few years ago, 2005, Barack Obama himself made the following statement about the nuclear option:
“I urge my Republican colleagues not to go through with changing these rules. In the long run, it is not a good result for either party. One day Democrats will be in the majority again, and this rule change will be no fairer to a Republican minority than it is to a Democratic minority. I sense that talk of the nuclear option is more about power than about fairness. I believe some of my colleagues propose this rule change because they can get away with it rather than because they know it is good for our democracy.”
Yet now the president says he supports Reid's move. The hypocrisy also extends to the liberal media. Charlie Spiering of the Washington Examiner points out two very different views from the New York Times. For example, here are the headlines:
2005 editorial headline: "Senator Frist Approaches the Brink"
2013 editorial headline: "Democracy Returns to the Senate"
If the New York Times was non-partisan, those stories would have been written exactly the same. No matter which party invokes it or is in control, the effect on governing remains the same.
What amazes me is that Democrats would make such a move, knowing that the possibility exists that they will one day be in the minority. That day may be as soon as 2014! What will they be saying then, when the majority is no longer on their side and Republicans could potentially use this to take aim at things like … oh, I don't know … ObamaCare? The potential exists if this rule remains in place and is perverted to be used for legislative gains.
I'd encourage you to read this piece by Walter Russell Mead who does a great job of explaining how the nuclear option undermines our institutions. He says, “Yesterday’s vote was another step forward on a road that leads downhill. That is unfortunate; it is easier to go downhill than up, and we are likely now to see the political system as a whole lose a little bit more of the legitimacy and public respect that, in the end, are necessary if our constitutional republic is to continue to endure.”