President Obama Can Safely Keep His Veto Pen in Mothballs


Ramesh Ponnuru is completely correct about this:

A strange amnesia has settled over much of the political world. I can’t count the number of articles I’ve read saying that the new Republican Congress is going to pass all sorts of legislation that President Barack Obama will veto. The latest example: George Will’s syndicated column urging the Republicans to pass several bills even if it results in “a blizzard of presidential vetoes.”

There’s no blizzard in the forecast. Senate Democrats will have the power to subject almost all legislation to filibuster (a word that does not appear in Will’s column). Overcoming a filibuster takes 60 votes. So Republicans, who will probably end up with 54 seats, would have to win over Democrats to get legislation through the Senate to the president’s desk. If they can do that, the legislation is unlikely to draw a veto.

I’ve noticed the same thing Ponnuru did, and it’s weird. Is there some kind of unspoken assumption among pundits that Democrats aren’t going to routinely insist on a 60-vote threshold for Republican legislation? If so, I don’t know why. It seems pretty obvious to me that they will. At the very least, it allows them to keep most legislative negotiating leverage safely within the Senate, which is just where they want it.

Basically, the next two years are going to be just like the last two. The only thing that will change is the order of the signatures on the consent agreements.