Nevada Sen. Harry Reid said today on NBC’s “Meet the Press” that he is tired of fighting filibusters blocking presidential nominees.
“The changes we’re making are very, very minimal. What we’re doing is saying: ‘Look American people, shouldn’t President Obama have somebody working for him that he wants?’” Reid said. “If you want to look at nominations, you know what the Founding Fathers said: ‘Simple majority.’ That’s what we need to do.”
Reid signaled that he is prepared to put an end to the centuries old Senate tradition of the filibuster by exercising what is being called the nuclear option. This would allow 51 senators to change the Senate rules instead of the 67 that are normally required.
This is the same Harry Reid who in 2003 weaponized boredom by filibustering a Bush judicial nominee for eight and half hours, often reading from his book about Searchlight, and in 2005 said on the Senate floor, while arguing against the nuclear option:
“For 200 years, we’ve had the right to extended debate. It’s not some “procedural gimmick.” It’s within the vision of the Founding Fathers of our country. They established a government so that no one person – and no single party – could have total control.
“Some in this Chamber want to throw out 217 years of Senate history in the quest for absolute power.
“They want to do away with Mr. Smith coming to Washington. They want to do away with the filibuster. They think they are wiser than our Founding Fathers.”
This was about the same time Obama was arguing:
“If the right of free and open debate is taken away from the minority party, and the millions of Americans who asked us to be their voice, I fear that the already partisan atmosphere in Washington will be poisoned to the point where no one will be able to agree on anything. That doesn’t serve anyone’s best interests, and it certainly isn’t what the patriots who founded this democracy had in mind. We owe the people who sent us here more than that – we owe them much more.”
Principles matter only when you are losing the argument. The GOP never pushed the button on the nuclear option.