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.That's, my progressive friends, is the real Harry Reid.
"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."
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.