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Let's talk about the filibuster reform, shall we?  Or in reality, the lack of filibuster reform.  

As you probably heard, Harry Reid and Mitch McConnel came to a wonderful, stupendous, bipartisan deal that, while it did change a few minor rules, that will hopefully save some time in the Senate, essentially kept the filibuster as it is.

Reid and enough Democrats were unwilling to use the Constitutional option to change the rules and so, therefore, surprise, surprise, nothing substantial has changed.

We did not get the talking filibuster, like Jimmy Stewart in Mr. Smith Goes To Washington.  We did not shift the burden to minority from the majority, I.E. needing 41 votes to keep the filibuster going instead of 60 to stop it.  The filibuster rules did not change.  Nothing substantial changed.  The Senate will continue to be the giant undemocratic mess that it currently is.

I want to take a second to talk about how much I seriously dislike Harry Reid.  However, I'm not going to go the normal route.  You know, saying he's a wimp.  Saying he's spineless.  Saying that he caved.

My fellow progressives, let's not call Harry Reid a wimp.  Let's not say he's spineless.  Let's not say he caved.  Because I do not believe any of those are actually true.

He stood up... to us.  He fought... us.  He stopped... us.  And we need to stop pretending that he and people like him are on our side.

Let me go further into this.  The two Senators who were really pushing filibuster reform, real substantial filibuster reform were Senators Tom Udall and Senator Jeff Merkley.

The good filibuster rule change option was the Merkley-Udall package of reforms.  And those two Senators, alongside all the activist groups should be commended.  They fought hard, and lost.

In fact, someone who recently commended Merkley and Udall last May was none other than Harry Reid!
From the Washington Post.

Last May, Reid shocked observers when he went to the Senate floor and apologized to Democratic Sens. Jeff Merkley (Ore.) and Tom Udall (N.M.) for blocking their efforts to weaken the filibuster. “These two young, fine senators said it was time to change the rules of the Senate, and we didn’t,” Reid said then. “And they were right. The rest of us were wrong — or most of us, anyway. What a shame… If there were anything that ever needed changing in this body, it’s the filibuster rule, because it’s been abused, abused and abused.”
He apologized to them in May!  Said they were right in May!

And now?  Now, I guess he changed his mind.  Because he alongside a handful of other Democratic Senators stabbed them in the back.

Despite what he said in May he told the Washington Post on Thursday "I’m not personally, at this stage, ready to get rid of the 60-vote threshold."

Now, flip flopping and being a two faced slime ball is one thing.  But my dislike for Harry Reid runs deeper.  Let me explain.

You see, earlier in the week Reid actually attacked Senator Merkley for trying to reform the filibuster.

From the Huffington Post:

At Tuesday's closed-door caucus meeting, Merkley was upbraided by Reid for breaking unspoken Senate rules and naming specific senators in a conference call with Democratic activists last week, according to sources familiar with the exchange.
"He's pissed off so many in the caucus," said one Democratic aide piqued at Merkley. "He has been having conference calls with progressive donors and activists trying to get them energized. He's named specific Dem Senators. Many are furious. He was called out on Tuesday in caucus and very well could be again today."
That's, my progressive friends, is the real Harry Reid.  

He's not a wimp.  He's not afraid to fight.  Just what he's fighting for and what progressives are fighting for are two different things.

You want to know what Jeff Merkley had the gaul to do?  He said on a conference call with activists that these are the Democratic Senators you should focus your attention on.

How dare he, right?!?  How dare Jeff Merkley engage with progressive activists to attempt to advance the progressive agenda?
How dare he let them know who may be against filibuster reform?

According to Harry Reid, Democracy is about the deals that the powerful elite make behind closed doors.  It's not about voters, or activists, or god forbid, actually getting legislation passed.

By the way, according to Merkley, the Senators who were on the fence were: Carl Levin, Max Baucus, Dianne Feinstein, Patrick Leahy, Barbara Boxer, Mark Pryor

So, Harry Reid is not alone.

And, most importantly Harry Reid is not a wimp.  

We don't have filibuster reform because he and a few of establishment Democrat pals didn't want it, and are perfectly happy with the status quo of getting nothing done.

Democrats have no problem standing up, as long as it's progressives who they're standing up to.

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Comment Preferences

  •  my theory (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    gffish, VClib, Palafox

    ... is they know they aren't getting anything done for the next two years anyway with the wackos currently in the majority in the House. This saves them a lot of symbolic Senate vs House votes - why avoiding them is a good idea I'm not sure. However we can bank on the Rs filibustering the Senate and passing extremist far right wish list bills in the House. Maybe the strategy is let them be as inane as they can manage and use that to try and outrun the gerrymander in 2014.

    Reid's no progressive, that's not news. He's the best we'll get in the Senate. So we have to retake the House.

    If you didn't like the news today, go out and make some of your own.

    by jgnyc on Thu Jan 24, 2013 at 04:05:04 PM PST

    •  If Harry Reid is the best senator we'll ever get, (5+ / 0-)

      I'm departing from politics.  

      It may require a change that hasn't come before.

      by RedBlueNoMore on Thu Jan 24, 2013 at 04:57:37 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  he's the best majority leader we'll get (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        VClib, marty marty, Palafox

        between now and 2014. And 2016 would be a preferable outcome to losing the Senate

        If you didn't like the news today, go out and make some of your own.

        by jgnyc on Thu Jan 24, 2013 at 07:23:02 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  The alternative, in 2010... (0+ / 0-)

        The alternative, in 2010, was Sharron Angle, and the possibility of losing the Senate to Republicans.

        And it turned out Harry Reid was right about Mitt Romney's tax reports.

        But yes, for the most part Harry Reid and those other long-time Senators -- Carl Levin, Max Baucus, Dianne Feinstein, Patrick Leahy, Barbara Boxer, Mark Pryor -- have looked out for their Senate seats rather than "doing the right thing".

        I'd like to hear from each of them on their "reasons", when they aren't pontificating about gun laws, health care, disaster relief, and women's rights.

  •  It takes a special kind of person (9+ / 0-)

    to be a politician. It looks to me like he wanted to put on a show of progressivism, and then did what he wanted to do in the first place.

    "You can die for Freedom, you just can't exercise it"

    by shmuelman on Thu Jan 24, 2013 at 04:18:08 PM PST

  •  Don't blame Reid. (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Steve Canella, alain2112, FG, VClib

    Seems like you acknowledge in your own post that we did not have even 51 votes to make the more substantial changes that Merkley and others wanted. And if that's the case, why blame the leader? His job is to get the best deal his caucus wants. And his caucus was not 100% behind him on this at all.

    Anyway it is better to get a bipartisan agreement on Senate rules, because you never know when you might be in the minority again. And last time the Democrats were in the minority, my recollection is that they used the filibuster quite a bit. (I know, not as much as the Republicans, but still, quite a bit.)

    And you don't want to be a hypocrite and say you want the rules one way when you're in the majority and different rules when you're in the minority. So you have to find that balance where the rules work regardless of whether you're in the majority or not.

    •  No this is on Reid (12+ / 0-)

      There are reports that he did have 51 votes for more substantial reform but he made a gentleman's agreement.  He offered the two choices to McConnell and McConnell chose the weaker reforms.  Oh, what a surprise! It's unbelievable that Reid even pulled that BS.

      The Senators who oppose democracy and real filibuster reform are to blame too. They are also too dishonest and cowardly to own up to it and therefore are furious at Merkley for telling activists their names.  

      The arrangement between Reid and McConnell means that the majority leader will not resort to his controversial threat, known as the "nuclear option," to change the rules via 51 votes on the first day of the congressional session. Reid may have been able to achieve greater reforms that way, but several members of his own party were uncomfortable with the precedent it would have set. And Reid himself, an institutionalist, wanted a bipartisan deal for the long-term health of the institution. Reid presented McConnell with two offers -- one bipartisan accord consisting of weaker reforms, and a stronger package Reid was willing to ram through on a partisan vote. McConnell chose the bipartisan route.

      This is a disgrace and Harry Reid is a disgrace. The Fix the Senate coalition should be calling for his resignation as majority leader and vowing never to support him in anything ever again, not in elections, not in anything.  That's how seriously destructive his actions have been. That's how destructive his precious filibuster rules are.

      "Justice is a commodity"

      by joanneleon on Thu Jan 24, 2013 at 04:57:35 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Why is bipartisan agreement disgraceful? (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        agent, VClib, notrouble

        Why isn't the long term health of the institution a legitimate concern? Why would you want rules that you are happy with only when you are in the majority? Isn't it in fact more democratic to pass rules that a large majority of the institution is satisfied with?

        Remember that if Republicans had not been dumb enough to run some very weak Senate candidates this year, the Democrats could easily have lost control of the Senate entirely. In fact, that was the expectation going into 2012. And if Obama had not been re-elected, then the only thing preventing enactment of the entire Republican agenda would have been the filibuster. And I guarantee you that practically everyone who frequents this site would have been praising the filibuster, and urging the Democratic minority to use it at every opportunity.

        •  This is not a problem of bipartisanship. Reid (4+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          kurt, PhilK, DarkestHour, ewmorr

          has been promising real reform for over a year, and ran on it. This is mangling the base, which endangers the access of the party to the base's work. Because campaign workers cannot promise voters that people like Reid will keep their word once the election is over. And here he did that in a really really big way. Now the question is not whether those items on the Obama agenda will go through- they won't, now - but who will be blamed since all the spineless Dems will point to the Republican filibustering even the anoynmous stuff in the hall, and say "Not meeeee!! THEY did it" when the real story is that the said dems created precisely the situation in the rules wherein the Rs will be able to block everything some more and neatly facilitated and enabled the whole thing. Without this, that would not be able to happen.

      •  Reid has been a horrible leader (9+ / 0-)

        He was an abysmal failure as Senate Minority leader - only to trump his performance there as an even worse Majority leader - sharon angle's 2010 NV primary win wasn't just a loss for Republicans - Reid continues to not even be worth the D for that seat - it is ridiculous that he continues to be elected Democratic leader in the senate - and for THAT - we do get to blame the entirety of the Senate Democratic caucus ...

        "I want to keep them alive long enough that I can win them to Christ," - Rick Warren, Professional Greed Driven Scumbag

        by josephk on Thu Jan 24, 2013 at 06:40:16 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  First and foremost the Senate is a club (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        Merkley was not playing by club rules and embarrassed Reid and several other very senior Senators and club members in good standing. Therefore, Merkley has been sent to the woodshed where he will be remorseful, or club members in good standing will be unhappy with him.

        "let's talk about that"

        by VClib on Thu Jan 24, 2013 at 08:20:58 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  This whole effort (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:

          was about fixing the Senate and their club rules.  They are a disastrous institution.  What Merkley did was good and a step away from this destructive club status quo.  More power to him.  Shame on the corrupt cowards who were trying to obstruct and hide while doing it so as to avoid accountability for their actions.

          "Justice is a commodity"

          by joanneleon on Fri Jan 25, 2013 at 06:44:40 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

    •  We had the 51 votes. Reid did not call for the (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      marty marty, Palafox, kurt

      vote.  He opted to compromise with McConnell instead.  

      Even if the votes were not there, he should have called for the votes out of principle.

      •  What principle is that? (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        Is it the principle of forcing members of your caucus to vote for a more radical proposal than a lot of them wanted?  Or is it the principle of insisting on rules that barely half of the members want, instead of rules that are supported by about 80%? Or perhaps it is the principle of getting your way now and facing payback later when your party is in the minority? Or maybe the principle of rubbing the nose of the 47% of the population that supports the Republicans in the dirt, instead of trying to include them in a democratic process?

        In any game that you play, it is always better for both teams to agree on the rules. You never want to impose your rules on the other side. That is never fair, and will only cause problems later.  And that's a good principle to live by.

    •  Name them please (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Unitary Moonbat, kurt
      And last time the Democrats were in the minority, my recollection is that they used the filibuster quite a bit.
      Could you please give us examples of this?

      Self-described political "centrists" believe the best policy is halfway between right and wrong. — @RBReich via web

      by BentLiberal on Thu Jan 24, 2013 at 08:43:15 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  remember the gang of 14? (0+ / 0-)

        In 2005, Democrats filibustered so many of Bush's judicial appointments that Republicans threatened to use the so-called "nuclear option" to change the rules to prevent use of filibusters for that purpose. Instead they worked out a compromise agreement to prevent that. The same thing happened today.

        •  On Judges (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          kurt, DarkestHour

          Yes that did happen, and Dems backed down on filibustering nominations right away.

          On legislation, Republicans have been incessant on gumming up the Senate with the filibuster. I recall nothing close to this when the Democrats had power. If you have examples of legislation that was blocked by filibustering Democrats, I'd love to hear it.

          Nothing that happened today will prevent the Republicans from continuing to block legislation as they did in Obama's first term.

          Self-described political "centrists" believe the best policy is halfway between right and wrong. — @RBReich via web

          by BentLiberal on Thu Jan 24, 2013 at 11:44:52 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

    •  Reid said several times that he had the votes (0+ / 0-)

      Besides the fact that the Senate apparently has a rule not to name names, he is the only one that can be held responsible.

      You should see the difference in what is filibustered.

      Here's a list of links.

  •  Glad you wrote this (15+ / 0-)

    I've been thinking the same thing about the way Reid treated Merkley.  He showed his true colors.

    If you oppose true reform and support anti-democratic measures that are destructive to the party and the country, you're a-okay in Harry's book.

    If you dare to tell some reform activists which Senators to focus on in their efforts, which Senators are opposing reform, you're the devil incarnate in Harry's book.

    And hey, if these Senators who oppose democracy and filibuster reform think it's the right thing to do, why don't they own up to it?  Why do they need to hide in the dark?

    You're right. He's not a wimp.

    He also does what he's told.  I suspect that the White House didn't want filibuster reform either. They do their work through the Senate and they need excuses for crafting and passing draconian conservative legislation.  They need to be able to continue to blame the Republicans for everything.

    "Justice is a commodity"

    by joanneleon on Thu Jan 24, 2013 at 04:51:15 PM PST

  •  I'm so mad right now (7+ / 0-)

    I can't express it

    Reid and company, are conceding the next two years (maybe more)

    to the same pirates who held hostage the last 2 years.

    I'm ashamed to call myself a Dem, right now.

    Because apparently, we don't stand for anything.

    (except whatever the Republicans want, we'll fold for that,
    in a New York minute.)

    Here's how the game is really Rigged.

    by jamess on Thu Jan 24, 2013 at 06:26:37 PM PST

  •  Snatched Defeat out of the Jaws of Victory (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Palafox, HarpboyAK, kurt, DarkestHour

    I am profoundly disappointed with the progressive Democratic caucus.  Why in Heaven's name would they do such a thing?  They know McConnell is not good for his word, yet they trusted him once again.  It's a sad, sad day.   Maybe it's past time for Harry Reid to retire.

  •  Washington will not allow the swing to the LEFT (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    marty marty, Palafox, HarpboyAK, kurt

    that the majority of Americans are demanding.

  •  Club over country? n/t (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    HarpboyAK, kurt, PhilK
  •  The question is, which is more beneficial to (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    HarpboyAK, kurt

    Democrats. Is it more beneficial to pass strong filibuster rules or continue to let the republican annilate themselves  with their lunacy for the next 2 years.

    I say it would be best, if the Democrats passed progressive legislation. If Sen Feinstein and the other 5 Democratic Senators really wanted gun control, she/ they just made it harder to get or anything else. I call this gentleman/ women handshake bs.

  •  Harry Reid must go (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    sign the petition - Harry Reid must resign:


  •  Harry Reid just gave (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    HarpboyAK, PhilK, DarkestHour

    ...the base a golden shower. Amazingly the apologists are trying to tell us it is trickle down. Even more amazingly some swallow the bullshit. And I believe Harrys orders came from Obama. Now they hae a wonderful excuse to do nothing. ENJOY YOUR VAATION you @*%$s

  •  typical arizonian (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    what's the deal, Harry? You talked big for days about how you were gonna get filibuster reform and then flipped on us!!!! This is not good and we are not gonna take it laying down, dude!!!!  Either work for us or get voted out buster!!!! Sick and tired of people we depend on  crapping on us!!!  We need a new majority leader!!!!!!!

  •  Harry Reid is a Blue Dog Democrat and A Wimp! (0+ / 0-)

    During President Lyndon Baines Johnson 6 year tenure as Majority leader in the Senate for the Democrats, the Republicans offered one filibuster, and they had to take their stand in the well of Congress and talk, and talk, and talk. The filibuster then could slow legislation down, but not stop it.

    During Reid's 6 year tenure as Majority leader in the Senate for the Democrats, the Republicans have offered 329 filibusters, and the Senator making the filibuster doesn't even have to identify themselves, much less talk in the well of the Senate.

    So why would Reid do this, when he could have implemented the same rules that LBJ had?

    I don't know, but Reid should be removed from a leadership role. He's failed an important test, and he's empowered the deceitful Republicans who will use any tactic to sabotage President Obama's plans.

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