Harry Reid reminds me of those ineffectual, weary parents who you see in a public place repeatedly scolding his annoyingly obstinate, uncontrollable toddler, saying things like, “If you keep that up, you’ll get punished.” Then, “Just keep pushing, young man, and there will be no McFlurry dessert for you.” Followed by, “I’m warning you.”
And then does nothing.
And the kid keeps misbehaving.
In that scenario, Daddy Dearest was about as effective as Gene Wilder intended (not) to be as Willy Wonka:
Which brings us to the unprecedented use of the filibuster by the GOP, their favorite weapon, the one they’ve used to obstruct just about every proposal by President Obama and the Democrats… including judicial nominations.
Over the years, we’ve witnessed the Reagan/Bush conservative judicial trajectory and subsequent decline (see: Scalia, Antonin et al) of our judiciary, and as a result, our democracy, civil rights, and legal system. And since Obama took office, his judicial nominations have been moving at a glacial pace.
He did manage to nominate the first openly gay black man to sit on a federal district court, the first Asian American lesbian, and the first South Asian. But at least 35 nominees are waiting for the Senate to vote, and there are still 50 more vacancies. That’s called GOP “payback.”
All that because Harry Reid insisted on that “gentleman’s agreement” with Mitch McConnell, the ridiculous handshake deal he made, saying he was “satisfied” with the Republicans just “agreeing” to be more reasonable. Remember that?
As you may recall, Jeff Merkley’s plan for reform would not have ended the filibuster, and the Dems would still be able to use the option to filibuster when they are the minority party. It would have taken more effort and transparency to voice opposition, but the filibuster would have remained intact.
But Harry shook hands instead, although he has threatened to revisit filibuster reform from time to time, getting Democratic hopes up, like Lucy pulling the football away from Charlie Brown. We’ll believe it when we see it.
The Nevada Democrat said that while he was “happy” with the modest rules changes adopted in January on a bipartisan basis, the number of pending judicial nominations led him to warn his colleagues of the potential for the chamber’s rules to be modified at any point in the year, not just at the opening of a new Congress.
“All within the sound of my voice, including my Democratic senators and the Republican senators who I serve with, should understand that we as a body have the power on any given day to change the rules with a simple majority, and I will do that if necessary,” Reid said on Nevada Public Radio.
Of course you will, dear.
“We made changes, but the time will tell whether they’re big enough. I’m going to wait and build a case. If the Republicans in the Senate don’t start approving some judges and don’t start helping get some of these nominations done, then we’re going to have to take more action.”
“Just keep pushing, young man, and there will be no McFlurry dessert for you.”
But it does get more promising (I will NOT get my hopes up, I will NOT get my hopes up…). Reid said it’s not only about judges, but also the nomination of Richard Cordray to head the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.
“Now, we have the Republican-dominated D.C. Court of Appeals who have said, look, the president can’t even do recess appointments now,” Reid said. “So, we’re left with few alternatives, and we’re going to have to move forward and do something to change that.”
Yes, we’re going to have to do something. We’ve had to do something for years now.
“If you keep that up, you’ll get punished.”
That would be novel. Just do it already.