Ditching any semblance of bipartisanship, Senate Majority Leader and Mark Udall’s boss Harry Reid, is looking at ditching the filibuster…a move that could shut down DC and do damage to Udall’s carefully crafted “bipartisan” image:
A partisan war is brewing that could bring the government to a screeching halt as early as January — and no, it’s not over the fiscal cliff.
It’s all about the filibuster…
Republicans are threatening even greater retaliation if Reid uses a move rarely used by Senate majorities: changing the chamber’s precedent by 51 votes, rather than the usual 67 votes it takes to overhaul the rules.
“I think the backlash will be severe,” Sen. Tom Coburn (R-Okla.), the conservative firebrand, said sternly. “If you take away minority rights, which is what you’re doing because you’re an ineffective leader, you’ll destroy the place. And if you destroy the place, we’ll do what we have to do to fight back.”
“It will shut down the Senate,” the incoming Senate GOP whip, Texas Sen. John Cornyn, told POLITICO. “It’s such an abuse of power.”
Reid has consistently floated the idea of ending the common practices of the U.S. Senate that are aimed at creating consensus between the Senate’s members and not allowing any party to ram through its agenda without an opportunity for minority members to be heard.
So much for finding ways to make Washington, D.C. work together. Even as leadership in both parties clamor publicly for bipartisanship, Reid continues to push forward with his attempt to wrangle solitary control of the U.S. Senate.
Ironic, isn’t it? Just 7 short years ago, then Senator Barack Obama proclaimed in an April 2005 speech:
“I urge my Republican colleagues not to go through with changing these rules. In the long run, this is not a good result for either party. One day Democrats will be in the majority again, and this rule change will be no fairer to a Republican minority than it is to a Democratic minority.”
No doubt the President is mindful of these words as Democratic Senator Harry Reid is contemplating changing the Senate rules to force through his radical liberal agenda by eliminating any dissent or debate.
Maybe Harry Reid is even aware of his own words on changing the filibuster from 2007:
“Mr. President, the right to extend the debate is never more important, when one party controls Congress and the White House. In these cases, a filibuster serves as a check on power and preserves our limited government.”
The question quickly turns to Mark Udall, who, in the past, has supported Reid’s efforts to rule the U.S. Senate as a dictatorship, but now Udall is (or should be) wary of Reid’s mean-spirited and darkly partisan push to wrestle exclusive control of the chamber for him and his Democratic henchmen.
The Peak called out both Udall and Bennet in 2011 for blowing up the Senate to support Harry Reid’s and President Obama’s big labor payback bill…and now Reid wants his dictatorship once and for all.
Udall, who is likely to face a difficult re-election in less than two years, has attempted to build his inside-the-beltway persona on putting politics aside, while Reid has never held himself out to be anything but a total Democratic hack bent on maintaining his own power and influence. So the real question Udall faces is this: Does he side with Obama circa 2005 (and Reid circa 2007) or does he line up to support Reid’s partisan power play in 2013? If he sides with Reid in this raw power grab he will seal his fate as a Democratic partisan who sided with partisan politics over bipartisan consensus in the U.S. Senate.
Will Colorado voters remember a Udall vote to ditch the “filibuster?” Probably not, but if Udall decides to side with Reid and other Democratic partisans on employing the nuclear option, he will do serious damage to the reputation he has taken great care to cultivate. Tough to tell the calculus now, but Reid will be defending 20 Democratic seats in 2014 and Republicans defending only 13. Udall siding with the radical liberals in D.C. certainly does him no help at home.