Senate Majority Leader Harry ReidHarry Reid still hasn’t seen enough obstruction from Senate Republicans to support filibuster reform, saying, “The only way we’ll get rid of the filibuster is if it continues to be abused.” He has either been sound asleep for the past four years, is the most trusting man alive, or he is simply and completely full of the brown stuff.
I believe that what’s going on here is that filibuster reform would actually make life more difficult for Reid and the rest of the Democratic caucus. Their job isn’t to enact progressive economic laws that their corporate donors oppose, it’s to quietly prevent them while avoiding blame. The continued existence of the filibuster makes this easy: They can all declare their undying support for financial reform, or the public option, or tax increases for the rich, and then let the Republicans do all the dirty work of blocking it.
But if there’s no filibuster and all the Democrats need is a simple majority which is easily attainable, Reid must engage in reverse whipping: Finding enough conservative Democrats from the Villain Rotation to vote against Progressive Bill X in pretend defiance of the party leadership. Instead of just exposing one or two at a time to the wrath of their state’s Democratic voters, Reid could find himself forced to burn half his villain pool on every vote.
Worst case for Reid: Conservadems get primaried and replaced by progressives who refuse to join the Villain Rotation. Best case for Reid: Conservadems get primaried and replaced by actual Republicans, making his job even easier than it is now.