A year ago, Democratic Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid lowered the 60-vote cut-off bar on filibusters to a simple majority of 51 votes so he could push through unpopular nominations for the Obama administration – a controversial move known as the “nuclear option.” The traditional higher approval mark to stop Senate debate had not been used in modern U.S. history before Reid and the Democrats changed Senate rules. Fast forward to post-2014 midterm elections and mainstream newspapers are already grumbling that Republicans might continue the Democratic Party-imposed “nuclear option” in next year’s Republican-led Senate.
“It was a reckless gambit when Reid employed it less than a year ago. And it is a decision Republicans ought to correct when they take charge next year,” harrumphed the Arizona Republic editorial board on Thanksgiving Day. It’s quite the switch from 2013, when President Obama championed the Senate’s “nuclear option” as a way to drag his most controversial appointees through the Senate. Now, Mr. Obama stands to lose political fights to the same “nuclear option” should a new Republican dominated Senate decide to use it in order to block Obama appointees. The cliché, “what goes around comes around” may best represent the Republican side.
Sen. Lindsay Graham (R-S.C.) believes it is dangerous strategy to adhere to the Democrats’ Senate “nuclear option.” On the other hand, veteran Republican Sen. Orrin Hatch was quick to advance the notion that continuing the Democrats’ “nuclear option” might be just the thing for Republicans to do. On a radio show Monday night. Sen. Orrin Hatch said Republicans should give the new minority “a taste of their own medicine.”
Either way, Democrats are in no position to criticize Republicans. It was they who poisoned the well by going nuclear in 2013. If Republicans leave the rules as they are, that’s on the Democrats. If Republicans change the rules back to a 60-vote majority, it will likely be seen as a sensible gesture of goodwill. With Pres. Obama going rogue on immigration and just about everything else, it is the Democratic Party that is more likely to be viewed by Americans as being out of touch.
Mainstream media, Harry Reid and the likes of Democratic Sen. Dianne Feinstein, along with Pres. Barack Obama, thought that the “nuclear option” was fine when Democrats were in charge. However, mainstream media’s collective head is likely to spin 180-degrees when Republicans formally debate whether to deactivate the Democrat-created political weapon or use it against them.
According to the Huffington Post, Hatch, speaking to the Federalist Society last week, is in the keep the “nuclear option” camp. The argument is that if a Republican wins the White House in 2016, most Republicans want their president to have the same advantage pushing through executive and judicial nominations that Democrats enjoyed.
“We should not return to the old rule,” Hatch said, according to the Huffington Post. “We should teach those blunderheads that they made a big mistake.”