Read this and feel good.
The Los Angeles Times credits elimination of the filibuster for judicial nominees to a new class of Democrats on the ascendancy in the U.S. Senate--the "Elizabeth Warren" wing of the Party as described by one observer. While Harry Reid tried to tamp down the enthusiasm after this week's historic action, these Democrats have made it clear they have only just begun to fight.
The Times calls them
[P]art of a new breed of Democrats emerging in the Senate. Mostly elected after 2006, these relative newcomers have only known a Democratic-controlled Senate and have little experience with successful bipartisan cooperation, due largely to the tea party's grip on the Republican Party.What drives this "new breed" of aggressive, unabashedly liberal Senate Democrats? They've all had enough of the antics of the folks on the other side of the aisle. Here's Christopher Murphy, D-CT:
Now they are hoping to become a new power center in the party, nudging the old guard to adopt more aggressive tactics in pursuit of legislative goals and largely brushing aside Republican threats of retaliation and obstruction. They see the rules and traditions of the Senate as having stifled the will of the majority and stalled President Obama's agenda.
"There's a time to reach across the aisle and there's a time to hold the line," said Sen. Christopher S. Murphy (D-Conn.), the body's youngest member at 40, who was elected in 2012. "And I think so far this year Democrats in the Senate have done a very good job of mixing across-the-aisle compromise with some heretofore unseen spine-stiffening."When was the last time you heard about any Democratic Senator or Representative other than Harry Reid making the national news? While Rand Paul, Ted Cruz, and the entire Tea Party caucus in the House have all transformed themselves into political Kardashians, constantly mugging for the cameras with their latest outrage du jour-- the Democrats--particularly those in the Senate who wield actual majority power--have for the most part sat quietly by for the last five years and endured this nonsense. Many of them, Jeff Merkley, Sherrod Brown, Tom Udall, were elected in 2006 and 2008; Elizabeth Warren and Chris Murphy, in 2012. By 2015 half of the Democratic caucus will have been in place since 2008. They represent a generational shift in the Senate that has known nothing but Tea Party intransigence--and ignorance--from the other side.
The time has come for Democrats to take a harder stance against the tea party Republicans, he said.
"These folks have come to Washington to destroy government from within and will use any tool at their disposal," Murphy said. "To the extent that we have the ability to take tools away from the tea party, we should do it. And one of the tools was the filibuster. Another was the belief that Democrats would cave in the face of another shutdown or debt default."
They're fed up and they're taking over the Party:
The senators' influence has already been seen in other fights, most recently in the 16-day shutdown, when new Democrats lobbied party leaders to stand up to Republicans — a tactic that seemed to shock many on the other side of the aisle, who were betting that Democrats would blink first.Filibuster reform for legislation may be a bridge too far for some in the Democratic caucus. But isn't it nice to have Democrats actually proposing it?
Next on their agenda is extending the filibuster rule change from presidential appointments to legislation, which would enable the Senate to move on issues including gun control and climate change.
The Times article also credits the "new breed" of Senate Democrats with advancing Janet Yellen as opposed to Lawrence Summers to the Fed.
"The Elizabeth Warren wing of the Democratic Party definitely are showing that they have growing influence in the caucus, and in government in general," said Matt Wall of the Progressive Change Campaign Committee, a group that works to promote progressive candidates and issues in Democratic primaries.Of course, all of this has flummoxed Senate Republicans used to seeing Democrats roll over and play nice. The very fact that the Democrats aren't falling all over themselves to apologize for their actions seems to unnerve them:
The shift among Democrats has at times confounded Republicans, particularly on the filibuster issue. Aides to Sen. Charles E. Grassley (R-Iowa), the third-longest-serving Republican, said they had felt that Reid's most recent moves telegraphing the nuclear option were a bluff.McConnell should talk to his own caucus about "uninitiated newcomers." What he conveniently forgets is that these Democrats are simply the natural antidote to the poison his own Party brought into the chamber and peddled relentlessly these last five years. When the brilliant minds at Americans For Prosperity hatched the "Tea Party," they should have kept in mind Newton's Third Law of Motion.
Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) on Thursday railed against the actions of "uninitiated newcomers in the Democratic caucus," reminding them they had never served in the minority in the Senate. Those who have a longer memory "should know better," he added.
But that would require them to believe in science.