They knew the consequences when they went nuclear. Now they’re headed down into the bomb shelter.
— America Rising Squared (@ARSquared) April 4, 2017
Speaking of consequences, watch McConnell’s response at 5:00 when he’s asked if he has the votes to eliminate the filibuster. Targets have been acquired; coordinates have been dialed in; all systems are a go.
Time to launch.
Members of his caucus sounded ready today too:
Sen. Shelby, exiting GOP lunch: "I heard no opposition" to confirming Gorsuch with a simple majority if 41+ Democrats filibuster.
— John McCormack (@McCormackJohn) April 4, 2017
Susan Collins says it's "extremely unlikely" a compromise will be struck to avoid using nuclear option this week
— Al Weaver (@alweaver22) April 4, 2017
A friend of mine who works in politics told me this morning he thinks there’s a slight chance some critical mass of Democrats will back down and look for a deal before Thursday to avert the impending nuking. I told him I doubted it — but Schumer is holding out one tiny leaf from an olive branch this afternoon:
Schumer on nuclear option:
We should get in a room and come to an agreement to avoid the nuclear option
— Chad Pergram (@ChadPergram) April 4, 2017
Schumer: We lost one [Garland] they lost one [Gorsuch] We should now get in a room and come up with a compromise to avoid the nuclear option
— Tessa Berenson (@tcberenson) April 4, 2017
Yeah, that’s the same goofy idea he floated this weekend — he wants Trump to yank Gorsuch and then to consult him on a more “acceptable” nominee, which is naturally a nonstarter and would give Democrats de facto veto power over SCOTUS nominations. Not going to happen, which is why even an ostentatious centrist like Susan Collins is ready to start bombing.
The problem for Dems is that there’s really no workable “Gang of 14” deal in a post-nuclear age, which is what we’re already in thanks to Reid and Schumer. The closest you could come to a kinda sorta workable deal, I think, would be if Democrats confirmed Gorsuch in return for a promise by Republicans not to eliminate the filibuster so long as it’s exercised “reasonably” or only with respect to a truly “controversial” nominee. But that would just put the parties in a thicket of arguing over what “reasonable” means. If Trump nominates William Pryor to replace Ginsburg, is it “reasonable” for Democrats to filibuster him because he once called Roe a constitutional abomination? Conservative Republicans would say no. Schumer, of course, would say yes. It would be left to the Collinses and Murkowskis in the GOP caucus to decide — except that they’re going to end up deciding anyway, even if the filibuster is eliminated this week, since they’ll end up as the swing votes on confirmation for a “controversial” nominee. Because the Republican advantage in the Senate is momentarily so narrow, losing the filibuster is actually low-risk for Schumer in the near term. Further out, if the GOP builds on its Senate advantage in the midterms, it gets much more costly. There may be enough Republican votes by 2019 to make centrists like Collins and Murkowski no longer decisive. And then Schumer will be all out of cards to play.