Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Nuclear Option Compromise: A Good Jeff Merkley Day

I think it's important to eliminate the filibuster on everything for general progressive purposes, turning the Senate into a basically House-like body with six year terms. (For the big-picture argument, see here.) From that standpoint, the substantive outcome of the Reid-McConnell "Nuclear Option" showdown is far from optimal. It would've been nicer to push ourselves further down the slippery slope than we went. But really, the compromise we got (no permanent changes, but Obama's nominations mostly go forward fine, and there are quick replacements for the two withdrawn nominees) was as good as we could get. Some Democrats don't actually want big changes, and McConnell is smart enough to know how bad his cards are and when he has to fold. 

This is one of the many days when I'm happy about contributing to Jeff Merkley's Leadership PAC. He's an aggressive advocate of filibuster reform, and I don't know if Reid would've been so aggressive against McConnell without the knowledge that some people in his caucus were willing to go all the way. The more influential Jeff gets, the harder a line you can expect Democrats to take in favor of filibuster reform. Even if it didn't pay off in terms of long-term policy changes this time, it strengthened our bargaining position so that the compromises came out better. 
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