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A screen capture of Jimmy Stewart's character holding a filibuster in Mr. Smith Goes to Washington.
Senate Democrats are meeting Thursday, after Majority Leader Harry Reid brings a bunch of executive nominations to the floor to start the filibuster showdown. The cloture clock will expire Tuesday morning, and then senators—on both sides of the aisle—have to make a choice. Republicans have to decide if they risk Democrats pulling the nuclear trigger by blocking these nominees, and Democrats have to decide if they do indeed pull that trigger.

According to this report, enough Democrats have signed on with Reid, and are ready to vote to enact simple majority votes for executive nominees. There are, however, some doubters, including this Senate aide who talked to Ezra Klein.

Whether Reid can get enough Democrats to talk up the nuclear option is an open question. Plenty of his members are looking at this gummed-up Congress, and the prospect of losses in 2014, and wondering why now is a good time to pick this fight. “I'd be more comfortable nuking if we had an explicit agenda we were trying to pass and a Democratic-controlled House that could pass it,” one aide told me. “Absent that, I'm not sure the pain is going to be worth it.”
That balky Democrat couldn't possibly be more wrong. This fight is all about 2014. Democrats don't need an explicit agenda to end the filibuster. Republicans have made the case for them a dozen times over, every single time they've blocked good legislation and good nominees. It will be far easier to make a case to voters in 2014 to vote for Democrats if Democrats can show that they've done something concrete to end the gridlock in D.C. To make Congress less of an obstacle. To finally fight back.

Then they take that fight to the House races, and show that House Republicans are the problem, standing in the way of a Senate that's trying to make progress. Whining about Republican obstruction is only going to take Democrats so far. Doing something about Republican obstruction is what the people are looking for from Democrats.

Send an email to Harry Reid and your Democratic senators telling them to hang tough and to vote for real filibuster reform.

Originally posted to Joan McCarter on Wed Jul 10, 2013 at 12:48 PM PDT.

Also republished by Daily Kos.

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