The news is mixed this morning on just what's likely to happen to the Senate rules reform effort, but in aggregate, the prognosis is not good.
Just one more reminder of why it's so imperative not only that Senators stand and do right by reform, but that they be willing to fight to get it done, though that's perhaps no longer the expectation.
Instead, this is the expectation:
This, unfortunately, is the still-enduring image of what it looks like when Democratic Senators are asked to stand and fight, despite the tut-tutting of the go-along-to-get-along crowd.
The reform fight resumes today, when the Senate reconvenes after its recess. With substantial editorial support behind the effort, Senators actually have the luxury of having a substantial portion of what's usually considered the same go-along-to-get-along crowd on their side, rather than doing that traditional tut-tutting. And yet, the word is that only a few crumbs of what was once on the table are still under discussion, and that even those small changes won't be enshrined in the rules, but rather in some sort of informal side agreement.
How they'll enforce such an agreement, of course, is anybody's guess. The thinking seems to be that the "Gang of 14" was able to enforce a truce of sorts -- insofar as overseeing a Democratic surrender could be called enforcing a truce. But Republicans had Democrats over a barrel at that point, and there weren't a whole lot of good choices on the table. Still, the key point of the Gang of 14 agreement was that the Republican signatories to that deal retained the right to change their minds and vote to change the rules if they felt the Democrats weren't holding up their end of the bargain. What guarantee will Democrats be able to build into this deal, if they're negotiating it because they say they don't want to retain the right to change the rules?
Apparently that premise has escaped them. And the kicker is, who's most likely to sign onto an agreement like this on behalf of Democrats this time? Well, if I had to guess, I'd say your best bet is that it'd be the remaining conservative-leaning Dems who signed onto the last deal. You'd think they'd have a better recollection of what made that deal work.
And so, the Senate Democratic Caucus meets this afternoon to settle on its approach, and the question of whether or not anyone will even attempt to offer the opportunity of a vote for the constitutional option is up in the air. Democrats apparently fear having to go on the record in favor of the constitutional option in advance of a possible changeover in the majority, even though the precedent they say they fear "creating" already exists. But of course, Republicans would have to go on record in opposition, as well. That doesn't seem to register with anybody, though. Possibly because Republicans generally don't care much about what their past record says.
So instead, we'll roll the dice, and hope for a little Magic Bipartisanship Pixie Dust.
There's nothing like learning from the past.