Why Nuke Now?

Mickey Kaus Columnist
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It’s about jobs. Why did Majority Leader Harry Reid decide to get rid of the 60-vote rule on administrative and lower court nominations now? There are at least three theories. I’d like to add a fourth:

1. It distracts, if briefly, from the ongoing Obamacare debacle.

2. It appeases a Democratic base demoralized and angry about the lack of achievements in Obama’s second term.

3. It’s a recognition that Obama better push through as much change as he can in the next year and a half because odds are the Congress elected in 2014 is going to be a lot more hostile, and may even be totally controlled by Republicans.

Three good theories. It’s overdetermined! But why make the Dem’s anti-filibuster stand on this issue–the issue of appointments to the D.C. Circuit of the federal Court of Appeals? Why was that so crucial? A good Marxist would know the answer:

4. The D.C. Circuit, more than other circuits, is the central institution of America’s regulatory state, which is the basis for the booming economy of the entire National Capital area. Should this court become hostile to regulations, or capable of reviewing fewer of them, there might be correspondingly fewer reasons for corporations and other interests to hire connected D.C. lawyers to lobby government agencies to get the regulations they want, and to then defend those regulations when they’re challenged in court. And there’d be fewer reasons for young men and women to come to the capital to work in its agencies for a few years before moving into the private sector and becoming one of those lawyers corporations hire to manipulate the agencies they worked for.

Regulation is D.C.’s economic substructure, its mode of production, as Marx might say–even more so than legislation. Those big gleaming office buildings aren’t filled with Congressional lobbyists!  They’re filled with administrative lawyers. Now, with a full 11 member court stacked to favor Democrats, there will be even more rules to litigate, more counsel to hire, more mansions to house them and restaurants to feed them. Whatever happens in the rest of America, the capital’s economic future is secure.

They should erect a statue of Harry Reid outside the Mazza Gallerie.

Mickey Kaus