Skip to main content

U.S. Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) makes a point about his meeting with President Barack Obama regarding the country's debt ceiling, during a news conference at the Capitol in Washington May 12, 2011.   REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst   (UNITED STA
Nope. They didn't even get that much.
In the wake of the Senate's confirmation of Labor Secretary Thomas Perez and and EPA administrator Gina McCarthy, made possible by a their decision to stop abusing the filibuster in order to avoid the nuclear option, some Republican senators are finally coming to grips with what really happened.
“There wasn’t any deal. They got what they wanted. We basically rolled over,” said Senator Richard C. Shelby, Republican of Alabama. “What changed is the Democrats threatened to change the rules, and they got the agreement without changing the rules.”

“Senate Republicans preserved the right to surrender in the future,” Senator Ted Cruz, Republican of Texas, said on his Twitter feed.

Republicans, apparently, actually believed they could use the filibuster to shape policy and achieve pretty much any legislative goal they desired:
Senator Rob Portman, Republican of Ohio, had been negotiating for three months, and until as recently as last week, to extract changes to the operation of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau in exchange for his support for confirming its first director, Richard Cordray. [...] On Saturday, Mr. McCain told Mr. Portman he would get nothing.
And the teeth-gnashing continued:
Sen. Kelly Ayotte (R-N.H.) was stunned Thursday that Republicans had allowed Labor secretary nominee Tom Perez to be confirmed, claiming his confirmation was “not part of the nuclear option deal.” Other GOP senators insisted he was. [...]

“We have now lost our leverage,” said Utah Sen. Mike Lee.

The Republican discontent is so bad that Mitch McConnell tried to distance himself from the deal, telling his fellow Republicans during a private meeting with all Senate Republicans that he hadn't been involved in the deal and could have gotten a better one if only he had been at the negotiating table, prompting Tennessee's Bob Corker to literally say McConnell was full of "bullshit." On Thursday, Corker expanded on his point, albeit in less colorful language:
“I’m really glad what happened yesterday at lunch, as far as my response, I’m glad that that occurred,” he continued. “For what it’s worth, while McConnell may not have been out front, Mitch has been very, very involved all the way through, very. There was no daylight, none. So in an unfortunate and weak moment something happened, and it’s no big deal. I can just assure you that McConnell has been very, very involved every step of the way.”
Here's the bottom-line: Corker's right, McConnell is lying (about both not having been involved, and about there having been a better deal available for Republicans), and the bellyaching Republicans are clueless dolts. In their mind's eye—perfectly expressed by Mike Lee—Republicans unilaterally gave up leverage in the deal. But what what actually happened is that Democrats, at long last, decided that the filibuster is something that can be eliminated by a majority vote. Once they did that, they didn't even need to detonate the nuclear option, because in saying that it can be repealed by simple majority, they effectively killed filibuster as it existed.

Once Democrats decided that they would be willing to get rid of the filibuster, the choice faced by Republicans was this: Stop filibustering nominees, or lose the filibuster—which is supposed to be a tool for extending debate, not killing legislation or routine nominations—entirely. Either way, their leverage was exactly as it should be for a minority party: Limited to the ability to make politically persuasive arguments. So when Mike Lee complains that Republicans needlessly gave up leverage, he misses the point entirely. What really happened is that Democrats decided they'd had enough and they stripped the leverage from the GOP. And the only thing Republicans, or Mitch McConnell, could have done to avoid this outcome is to not have been such enormous jerks about the filibuster in the first place.

EMAIL TO A FRIEND X
Your Email has been sent.
You must add at least one tag to this diary before publishing it.

Add keywords that describe this diary. Separate multiple keywords with commas.
Tagging tips - Search For Tags - Browse For Tags

?

More Tagging tips:

A tag is a way to search for this diary. If someone is searching for "Barack Obama," is this a diary they'd be trying to find?

Use a person's full name, without any title. Senator Obama may become President Obama, and Michelle Obama might run for office.

If your diary covers an election or elected official, use election tags, which are generally the state abbreviation followed by the office. CA-01 is the first district House seat. CA-Sen covers both senate races. NY-GOV covers the New York governor's race.

Tags do not compound: that is, "education reform" is a completely different tag from "education". A tag like "reform" alone is probably not meaningful.

Consider if one or more of these tags fits your diary: Civil Rights, Community, Congress, Culture, Economy, Education, Elections, Energy, Environment, Health Care, International, Labor, Law, Media, Meta, National Security, Science, Transportation, or White House. If your diary is specific to a state, consider adding the state (California, Texas, etc). Keep in mind, though, that there are many wonderful and important diaries that don't fit in any of these tags. Don't worry if yours doesn't.

You can add a private note to this diary when hotlisting it:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary from your hotlist?
Are you sure you want to remove your recommendation? You can only recommend a diary once, so you will not be able to re-recommend it afterwards.
Rescue this diary, and add a note:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary from Rescue?
Choose where to republish this diary. The diary will be added to the queue for that group. Publish it from the queue to make it appear.

You must be a member of a group to use this feature.

Add a quick update to your diary without changing the diary itself:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary?
(The diary will be removed from the site and returned to your drafts for further editing.)
(The diary will be removed.)
Are you sure you want to save these changes to the published diary?

Comment Preferences

Subscribe or Donate to support Daily Kos.

Click here for the mobile view of the site