Harry Reid’s Hubris? Not So Fast.


This cracks me up. Via Andrew Sullivan, here is Cato’s Roger Pilon cackling over the chickens coming home to roost for Harry Reid:

How sweet it is. Less than a year ago—on November 21st, to be exact—Harry Reid went nuclear….He ended the availability of the filibuster for most executive branch nominations, not by the two-thirds vote that Senate rules had long required but by a simple majority.

….And where will those remaining Democratic senators who voted for Harry Reid’s nuclear option be sitting? Why on the minority side, watching Republicans enjoy their newly acquired power to block controversial Democratic nominees by the vote of a mere majority—all because of Harry’s hubris.

Republicans are now able to block Obama’s nominees by a mere majority! Imagine that!

Just to state the obvious, the nuclear option merely removed the ability for a minority to block presidential appointments. Under every version of Senate rules in history, a majority could always block them. So nothing has changed and Reid is paying no “price” for his hubris.

(Technically, I suppose the price Reid is paying is the ability to filibuster his own president’s nominees. But I’m pretty sure that was never a big part of his playbook.)

There’s something about the institutional filibuster that drives men mad. Over time, it somehow makes “mere majorities” seem almost totalitarian. But mere majorities are the very stuff of democracy, and they’ve always been allowed to block action. That was the case on November 21st of last year, and it’s still the case today.