I never thought I would utter these words, but here they are: Mitch McConnell is absolutely right.
And his efforts to preserve the Senate’s constitutional role — in the face of know-nothing schemes to achieve short-term gains — are heroic.
In August, I predicted that Donald Trump would lose the popular vote, but win the election. In 2005, when Republicans toyed with the “nuclear option,” I predicted that they would lose the Senate — which they did, the next year.
But let me make another prediction: The pendulum will eventually swing back — perhaps sooner than you think. And if the Senate has no rules, Republicans will lose everything.
Make no mistake about it: The Republican agenda consists of things like tax reform and an Obamacare repeal. The Democratic agenda consists of adding 30,000,000 Democrats to the voting rolls — through amnesty, sentencing reform, and “Motor Voter” legislation allowing illegals to vote. If that happens, the whole country will become “California” for the rest of our lifetimes.
Through 1986, I worked, in part, for a conservative U.S. Senator from California, Sam Hayakawa — one of the most decent human beings to have ever served in the Senate. Then Ronald Reagan signed a modest amnesty bill in 1986. Last year, Republicans weren’t even on the ballot in the November California contests for U.S. senator.
If the Senate destroys its rules, this will be the unavoidable future of the whole country.
Like all of you, I care about the Supreme Court. On Monday, I will be quoted by USA Today as saying that any Red State Democrat who is up in 2018 and who votes against Neil Gorsuch will be ruthlessly portrayed as being an enemy of the Second Amendment.
But as James Wallner and Ed Corrigan argue in their Backgrounder for the Heritage Foundation, there are far better ways to break the back of the Gorsuch opposition than the “nuclear option.” They mention keeping the Senate in the same legislative day and using the two-speech rule to force the Elizabeth Warrens to conduct bladder-busting talk filibusters — and then to shut up.
Unlike the clowns who are ignorantly pushing the “nuclear option,” Wallner and Corrigan are arguably the Senate’s two most knowledgeable strategists over the last two decades.
I would add to their wisdom by observing that my own 1982 gas tax filibuster was shut down by “eyeballing a quorum” and by round-the-clock sessions. Coupled with the unstated unused implicit threat of the “nuclear option,” I’m betting that Warren and Sanders will be fleeing for the bathroom before 3 a.m.
But won’t the Democrats explode the “nuclear option” the next time they are in control, even if we don’t?
Clearly, it won’t be easy to put the genie back in the bottle. But the Senate has, in recent years, dealt with abuses of the scope of conference rules and with legislation on appropriations bills by taking certain decisions out of the hands of the Senate (and the appeals process) — and making the parliamentarian’s decision dispositive. I’ll bet that, given the current balance of power, Democrats could be convinced to snatch up such a deal.
Harry Reid was a vile man. He blew up the Senate’s historical role for a little short-term gain — which will soon be reversed. In the end, he was so hated that few Republicans came to his valedictory.
Why would Republicans want to emulate his sleaziness? The better revenge is to wipe his legacy from the history books.