A meeting of Senate Republicans on Wednesday grew tense as Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., told his members he could have gotten a better deal on nominations than the one negotiated by rank-and-file Republicans.
McConnell’s tone, according to multiple sources, implied that he had been kept in the dark about the talks between some in his own ranks and Democrats. However, those same Republicans say they kept McConnell updated throughout their negotiating process.
Sen. Bob Corker, R-Tenn., got so frustrated with McConnell’s presentation of events, that he called “bullshit” loud enough for the room to hear, nearly a half-dozen sources said. The heated exchange underscored the “buyer’s remorse” among some Republicans, especially leaders, one senior Republican said on background.
The humorous aspects of this story aside, Corker is right. A true deal requires both sides to have some power or the ability to offer something the other side wants. If Harry Reid (D-NV) actually had the votes for nuclear option then he held all the cards.
The idea that the minority party has power over routine issues in the Senate is total nonsense. The minority only has power because the majority has maintained a tradition of needlessly giving the minority non-constitutional veto. As soon as the majority decides to end this silly practice, the minority loses all leverage.
If Reid had the votes, the Republicans’ only options were to let Reid use the nuclear option or give him almost everything he wanted. They went with the latter. No amount of silly tombstone tweets from McConnell could change this dynamic.