In a move of raw political expediency on behalf of an unpopular President, Colorado US Senators Mark Udall and Michael Bennet blew up decades of Senate tradition to avoid having to vote on Barack Obama's American "Jobs" Act. Yesterday, on the Senate floor the Democrat majority employed the "nuclear option" and altered long-standing minority rights that allowed for amendments after a filibuster. The Democrats destroyed this minority right to avoid having to vote on Obama's "Jobs" act by killing Minority Leader Mitch McConnell's (R-KY) right to bring up the "Jobs" act on an unrelated bill.
Democrats have so far run as far as they can from Obama's American "Jobs" Act, with not a single co-sponsor in the House or the Senate. We put out a casting call for Colorado Democrats to co-sponsor the bill yesterday, but there have been no takers yet. Democrats, as well as Republicans, just don't seem to think Stimulus II will work any better than Stimulus I.
With 23 Senate seats to defend to the GOP's 10 in 2012, the Democrats may come to regret this move very soon. It was because of 2012 that they blew up the right, and 2012 will make them regret it.
A significant number of Democrat Senators are wary of supporting Obama's Stimulus II, fearing the political blowback in their home states. A number of those Senators come from states Obama is likely to lose in 2012 and are afraid to be too closely tied to their Campaigner-in-Chief. It appears they'd rather blow up minority rights in the Senate than cast a vote in favor of Obama's bill.
Minority Leader McConnell brought up the Obama bill, per the President's public requests that it get passed "right now," on Tuesday only to have it blocked by Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV). When McConnell attempted to bring the bill up again, Harry Reid reached for the red button.
The red button came in the form of asking Democrats to vote against the Parliamentarian's rule that Senator McConnell was within his rights to ask for a vote on the "Jobs" Act. A "no" vote would allow one party to unilaterally destroy the minority's rights.
When Obama was a Senator in 2005 he was opposed to Republicans using the nuclear option, but apparently times have changed when it comes to protecting his own party's Senators from having to vote on his own legislation.
Bennet has also been prone to drone on to The Denver Post about how much he hates partisanship. Remember this quote from a July Post article?
"Somehow, the politics in Washington allows for this kind of behavior," Bennet said. "I think this place has been hyper-partisan from the time I've been here and far more partisan than the people in our state are."
Udall has preferred to draw headlines for his decrying of partisanship, inviting Republicans to sit with him during Obama speeches.
But when it comes to something more serious than seating charts, Udall is ready to pull the partisan trigger.
The destruction of minority rights came through a party-line (read: partisan) 51-48 "no" vote that included the backing of partisanship-hating Colorado Senators Udall and Bennet:
When, in all likelihood, Bennet and Udall are part of the Senate's minority caucus come 2013, we'll be interested to see how interested they suddenly become in the rights of the minority.
This is classic Udall and Bennet. Bemoan partisanship when back in Colorado, then embrace full, frontal partisanship when under the command of Harry Reid back in DC. God forbid any journalist call them on this transparent gambit. We know Allison Sherry won't and why. Maybe someone else will give her a hand.