Tuesday, February 18, 2014

So much for MAD

It has been almost three months since Harry Reid nuked the filibuster for Presidential appointees. And what about that retaliation by the minority party that made the "nuclear option" so feared (and also that retaliation is the origin of the "nuclear option" name, a reference to the doctrine of mutually assured destruction from the cold war)? As far as I can tell, nothing has happened. Nothing could happen. The Republicans were already blocking Obama's legislative agenda and appointees to the maximum extent the procedural rules would permit. They just didn't have anything else to retaliate with that they weren't doing already.

Which is another way of saying there absolutely is no reason not to abolish the filibuster for legislation as well. It will make the Senate more able to move legislation forward and there will be no cost in terms of a procedural "second strike." Sure, that would mean that the Democrats would no longer be able to filibuster bills whenever the Republicans next get a Senate majority. But I have little doubt that the GOP will abolish the filibuster as soon as they have a majority (maybe they will call that retaliation for the abolition of the filibuster for appointees), so the Democrats will never be able to use that tactic anyway. They might as well get the benefits of a no filibuster Senate while they are still in control.