Mitch starts out by comparing Harry Reid to LBJ—unfavorably. "Unfortunately," he says, "Senate Democrats once again have a leader in Sen. Harry Reid who seems to think the right of all states’ representatives in the Senate to be heard is optional." Instead of Reid's Johnson-like dictatorship, McConnell says we should go back to an earlier era of bipartisan cooperation:
With six-year terms, equal representation for every state, and rules that more or less require that major legislation be resolved on a bipartisan basis, the Senate has always played a uniquely conciliatory role in our nation’s history.You probably don't need a reminder that each of those pieces of legislation was passed in 1965 ... when LBJ was president. That seems like a rather inconvenient fact for McConnell given that the entire thesis of his essay is that Democrats need to stop behaving like LBJ.
That’s why when you look at the vote tallies for some of the more far-reaching legislation over the past century, for example, the Senate was broadly in agreement.
Medicare and Medicaid were both approved with the support of about half the members of the minority.
The Voting Rights Act of 1965 passed with the votes of 30 out of 32 members of the Republican minority.
It's true that in 1965, things like Medicare won a fair bit of support from Republicans, but what's changed since then isn't that Democrats have embraced their inner LBJ—it's that Republicans have gone off the rails. Today's Republican Party explicitly supports ending Medicare as we know it; the party's vice presidential nominee wrote the plan for doing so. The GOP's embrace of hardline positions like that has nothing to do with Harry Reid or Democrats—it's entirely about dynamics within their own party. And it's those dynamics that are driving the Senate's dysfunction. Not some silly analogy between Harry Reid and LBJ—although I'm sure he appreciates the compliment.