Even sadder? The apparent credulity of HuffPo’s Sam Stein and WaPo’s Ezra Klein that they’re serious. I guess, when there’s bad news on almost every front, sometimes it’s helpful to believe a lie that makes you feel good.
Think of it as a morale booster.
“The rules committee is going to start holding hearings on how to undo the filibuster rule,” said Schumer, who chairs the Senate Rules Committee. The New York Democrat told the Huffington Post after the speech that the hearings would take place two or three weeks from now…
“The filibuster has been abused. I believe that the Senate should be different than the House and will continue to be different than the House,” Reid said. “But we’re going to take a look at the filibuster. Next Congress, we’re going to take a look at it. We are likely to have to make some changes in it, because the Republicans have abused that just like the spitball was abused in baseball and the four-corner offense was abused in basketball.”
Reid’s embrace of filibuster reform comes after he previously threw cold water on the likelihood of getting the rules changed. His reference to the “next Congress” stands out. To change Senate rules in the middle of the session requires 67 votes, which Democrats clearly don’t have. But changing the rules at the beginning of the 112th Congress will require the chair to declare the Senate is in a new session and can legally draft new rules. That ruling would be made by Vice President Joe Biden, who has spoken out against the current abuse of the filibuster. The ruling can be appealed, but that appeal can be defeated with a simple majority vote.
Klein notes that Reid seems keener on shortening the time frame for cloture votes than in eliminating the filibuster altogether, which makes more sense. But let’s indulge the repeal fantasy for a moment. They didn’t have the balls to do it when they had 60 seats and were convinced that 2008 had ushered in a new liberal realignment. But now, with voters trending conservative, the public recoiling at the ruthless partisanship of reconciliation, and the seven most vulnerable Senate seats this fall all held by Democrats, they’re going to start talking up some dicey new procedural strategy for next year — when they’ll be on the brink of being returned to the minority themselves in the next election cycle? No wonder cold feet are getting colder:
“Most people don’t want to do it,” said California Sen. Dianne Feinstein. “I wouldn’t waste time on process. I would spend more time on bringing about goodwill.”
“I wouldn’t get any rules changes right now,” said Senate Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus. “You’ve got to really think through things like that.”
Sen. Joe Lieberman (I-Conn.) has spent a lot of time thinking about the filibuster — so much so that he joined Harkin in introducing a filibuster-reform measure in 1994…
But ask him about the filibuster now, and his response is more nuanced. “It wasn’t meant to be used for every bill,” Lieberman said last week. “On the other hand, I’d hate to lose it for the bills where it should be used.”…
“All this talk of getting rid of it is always just posturing,” said former Senate Parliamentarian Robert Dove, who gives Democrats “zero” chance of substantially reforming the filibuster now.
In other words, this threat is approximately as menacing as Kos’s threat to primary Dennis Kucinich for opposing ObamaCare, which was also taken seriously by HuffPo even though the filing deadline for running for federal office in Ohio passed last month. Exit quotation from Ace: “I … think it’s hysterical that Harry Reid still thinks he’ll be part of the next Congress.”