The Democrats have already announced that they plan on fighting tooth and claw against as many as eight of Donald Trump’s cabinet picks. Unfortunately for them, that job is substantially harder than it was before Barack Obama took office because they pulled the trigger on the nuclear option and now the GOP only needs 51 votes to confirm. That means that they’ll need to drag some Republicans over to their side of the aisle… possible, but tricky in the current environment.
One person really regretting the hasty actions of Harry Reid back in the day is his replacement, Chuck Schumer. (D N.Y.) He was recalling his party’s previous decision today and it sounds as if he’s casting the blame on the old guard. (CNN)
Sen. Chuck Schumer lamented Tuesday the Democrats’ move to diminish the number of senators needed to confirm Cabinet picks from 60 votes to 51, because the new rule now hurts his party.
“I argued against it at the time. I said both for Supreme Court and in Cabinet should be 60 because on such important positions there should be some degree of bipartisanship,” Schumer, a New York Democrat and the incoming Senate minority leader, told CNN’s Dana Bash. “I won on Supreme Court, lost on Cabinet. But it’s what we have to live with now.” …
“Wish it hadn’t happened,” Schumer said.
Ah, if only wishes were fishes, as the saying goes. In a way, I have some sympathy for Schumer because he appears to be correct in his recollection. He doesn’t seem to have ever been a big fan of the nuclear option, but there was a time when he was really, really opposed to it. Back in May of 2005 when the GOP was originally mulling pulling the trigger, Chuck Schumer took to the floor of the upper chamber to decry it. (Around the 1:15 mark in this video.)
“We are at the precipice of a crisis. A constitutional crisis. The checks and balances which are at the core of this democracy are about to be evaporated by the nuclear option. The checks and balances that say that if you get 51% of the vote you don’t get your way 100% of the time. It is amazing. It’s almost a temper tantrum.”
Unlike most of his colleagues who you saw in that video, Schumer mostly stuck to the same tune when the Democrats decided to actually modify the rules when they were back in power after the 2008 cycle. Granted, he didn’t give any fire and brimstone speeches about his own party members when they were apparently evaporating the checks and balances which are at the core of this democracy, but even staying silent was better than nothing I suppose.
Unfortunately for Senator Schumer, his partners in the Democratic Party didn’t exercise such consistency and restraint. They showed their true colors and demonstrated that if they didn’t get their way they were perfectly willing to pull the trigger. And when they eventually get back into the majority (which they will some day, be it sooner or later) they will be ready to do it again. If the GOP refuses to play by the same hardball rules we have nobody to blame but ourselves.
As for the objections of the Democrats, I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again. You tossed the grenade, guys. We’re just pulling the pin.