In Mr. Reid’s Washington, the House works its will, the Senate does crossword puzzles. Its committees do not produce bills, its senators do not debate or amend, the body does not vote. The House, to accomplish anything, is forced to engage in backroom wrangling with the White House, the results of which are presented to the nation as a fait accompli. The Senate claims total deniability.

Mr. Reid’s Senate has not produced a budget in three years. The majority leader rarely moves on a bill, and when he does, he uses tricks to block senators from amending legislation, or he shuts down debate in such a way as to kill legislation. Regular order and conference reports are nearly nonexistent. …

Mr. Reid knows there is a brilliant added bonus to making sure the Senate is inactive: It keeps all the attention on Republicans. The press is by now so used to Senate nothingness that reporters automatically turn every spotlight on the House. This allows the White House and Democrats to avoid ownership of problems that they have created by casting Republicans as the cause of every legislative crisis and as the barrier to solutions. It also keeps the focus on divisions within the GOP. …

… House Speaker John Boehner’s recent declaration that any further debt deals will be done through “regular order” was in part an acknowledgment that dealing directly with Mr. Obama is folly. But it was just as much a declaration that Mr. Boehner intends to pressure Mr. Reid to do his job.