Today, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid didn’t just fail to deal with filibuster reform, he totally committed himself to the defense of this disgraceful practice. From his floor speech about his deal with Minority Leader Mitch McConnell:
Senator McConnell and I both believe our reverance for this institution must always be more important than our respective political parties. As part of this compromise, we’ve agreed that I won’t force a majority vote to fundamentally change the Senate. That is the so-called Constitutional option. And he won’t in the future.
In accepting this worthless compromise and making this “gentleman’s agreement” Reid and, by extension, the entire Democratic party has chosen to embrace the most extreme form of small “c” conservatism, a commitment to making change almost impossible and a strong assurance to uphold the status quo no matter what. Obama campaigned on change, yet Reid has committed himself to protecting the foolish Senate rule that is used to crush change in its tracks.
By making a blanket promise to never work to reform the filibuster with majority vote, regardless how horribly it is abused, Reid has entirely turned his back on every single yet-unrealized progressive goal. Reid has decided to forever defend an absurd 60-vote requirement that means, by definition, the United States will never again pass a progressive or left-leaning piece of legislation.
Reid had to choose between advancing the policies he promised his supporters or keeping a grip on his precious power, even after voters reject his party. Today, on the Senate floor, he proudly chose holding on to power. Reid is the living embodiment of protecting the status quo, a true ultra-conservative to his core.
Harry Reid will not technically fight against progressive reform, instead he promises to fight desperately to assure those who will actively stand against progressive reform have all the power they need to crush it. The net policy, though, is that he is as great an impediment to reform as any Republican. Whether it is a public option, single payer, EFCA, campaign finance reform, or drug re-importation, Reid wouldn’t kill these changes himself, but he will make sure to hand power to those who will be sure to do the deed.
As America remains crippled by a multitude of broken systems in desperate need of reform, the Senate Democrats decided that the best course of action is to insure that any change from the status quo is almost impossible.