I wrote about this last month for the Washington Examiner, and since then Orrin Hatch and Ted Cruz –a pretty broad spectrum of the Senate GOP, that– have argued for the common sense and good politics position of keeping the rules as they are after the Democrats brooke them.
The lame duck Congress has already angered the base over its proposed cut to military pay and benefits, and now proposes to white flag the filibuster issue when instead it should announce it will keep the rules handed by them by Harry Reid and enforce them for the first two years of a GOP presidency and then work with Democrats to restore them.
Putting them back with nothing gained by way of the next GOP president’s ability to appoint a round of originalist judges to match the jam down of hard left Obama judges makes the GOP appear indifferent to the courts, downright dumb when it comes to basic politics, and eager to establish themselves as spineless in front of the voters who just handed them a new majority.
Senator McConnell should emerge from the meeting and announce (1) the “Reid Rules” on judicial nominees have at least four years left; (2) The Senate GOP caucus discussed the goal of very unified positions on judicial nominees in the next Congress and he expects few if any Obama nominees to emerge from Committee; (3) all Committees will have at least a two seat GOP majority, and judiciary might have three; (4) discussion about restoring the old rule can come when a Republican president has had two years of the same sort of low barrier used by President Obama.
All GOP senators ought to come out of that meeting blasting the irresponsibility of Senator Feinstein in releasing the report on interrogation and detention, and make clear that anything that happens abroad in response to the report is clearly her fault and Harry Reid’s.
There’s an election in 23 short months. The Senate GOP cannot start the cycle by kicking the military and those voters who are looking for strength in the caucus not weakness in the face of the years of Harry Reid’s radical moves.
It is dangerous world and getting more dangerous by the minute. The Senate GOP has to establish itself as serious, sober and committed to rebuilding the country’s defenses and curbing the explosive growth of the bureaucracy and its unelected petty tyrants. That will take strong, unified action, not piecemeal political gestures. A serious, full statement on what Reid did and why the response has to roll out over four years serves both the institution, the base, and the goal of finely moving to take control of the narrative and establish a framework through which the actions of th next two years will be understood.
Senator McConnell should be able to say, again and again and again, “remember when I told you on December 9, 2014 that we were going to govern seriously, and make the differences between the two parties very clear while trying to work with the president to offer up constructive solutions, well, we did so agin today by….”
That’s how to govern. Not by trying to put Humpty Dumpty back together again and driving your hard core supporters crazy while doing so.