Harry Reid’s Temper Tantrum

Harry Reid

More than 1500 of President Obama’s nominees have been confirmed in the Senate with little notice. Relatively few nominees have been given extra scrutiny by Republicans, and in many cases, like that of Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel, the nominee has been confirmed. But that’s not good enough for Harry Reid. Because Republicans are holding up the confirmation of a few radicals, Reid is now throwing a temper tantrum and threatening to invoke the “nuclear” option to change filibuster rules.

It seems every time that Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., doesn’t get his way, he threatens to invoke the “nuclear option” of obliterating venerable Senate rules that protect the right of the chamber’s minority to force consideration of their views. This week, Reid is in a tizzy because Senate Republicans are blocking some of President Obama’s nominations, including most recently a filibuster threat over Obama’s nominees to head the Environmental Protection Agency and the Department of Labor.

To combat those threats, Reid has decided to force up-or-down confirmation votes on some of Obama’s most controversial nominees, including Gina McCarthy at EPA and Tom Perez at DOL. When Republicans object, Reid will then make good on his threat to nuke the Senate rule requiring a two-thirds vote to end a filibuster. Through a complicated parliamentary procedure, the Senate would require just 51 votes to change its rules instead of the long-standing 67. Democrats would shut down all Republican filibusters.

Read the whole thing. This is the same Harry Reid that in 2005 declared that changing filibuster rules would “violate over 200 years of Senate tradition and impair the ability of Democrats and Republicans to work together on issues of real concern to the American people.” As Senators, Biden and Obama said essentially the same thing. But that was then, and this is now, and the Democrats are nothing if not total hypocrites.

If Reid goes through with this he will eviscerate the power of the Senate and the checks it places on the Executive Branch. Is that what we want? Is that a precedent liberals want to set for the next Republican president and Senate?