Not one, not two, but three filibusters blocking the national defense of the United States and the paying of whatever men and women in uniform remain in thankless service. This after the same unconscionable, despicable tactic was used, in concert with Barack Obama's veto of the earlier Defense bill, to extort the preemptive surrender of an omnibus FY2016/FY2017 biennial budget that got shoved down Republican throats a couple of weeks ago.
Why does Harry (G)Reid keep pushing this? For the same reason a lion licks its testicles: Because he can. And will, until the GOP finally, well and truly has enough:
The idea, it seems, is that Harry Reid is paranoid that Republicans will pass the defense bill at heightened spending levels first, then renege on the contours of the new budget agreement by passing other spending measures at lower-than-agreed-to levels as a continuing resolution.
Because, of course, that is precisely what (G)Reid would do if he were Mitch McConnell.
Senate Republicans have no intention whatsoever of doing this, I'm told (GOP leaders called this "delusional" and a "conspiracy theory"), but that's the excuse Democrats have conjured to justify their latest obstructionist gambit.
That, of course, suggests that that is precisely what Senate Republicans should be doing - fighting fire with fire - but Dirty Harry knows they won't. That's simply the spin for which he's laying the groundwork now in order to deploy a month from now:
One source told me he suspects Reid's real goal is to run out the clock until the December 11th deadline to fund the government is imminent. This would force the Senate to roll all of its separately-crafted appropriations bills (all twelve of which have been passed out of committee for the first time in six years, by the way) and roll them into a giant "omnibus" spending bill. This serves the purpose of undermining "regular order," in which Congress spends taxpayer money according to the normal rules, along a normal schedule....Today's Democrat Party is bizarrely invested in a governance-by-crisis model, wherein they retain the ability to use manufactured "emergencies" to help advance their ideological agenda - secure in the knowledge that when push comes to shove, much of the media will help them blame the resulting dysfunction and brinksmanship on Republicans.
And they're absolutely correct in that belief, because it always works. But is it possible that Senator Pencilneck is too confident in that tried & true tactic?
Their latest filibuster takes this legislative nihilism to a new level, managing to draw the ire of Senator Lamar Alexander, a mild-mannered, cooperation-minded Republican from Tennessee. He took to the Senate floor yesterday to warn his Democrat colleagues that their maneuvering is ushering in an era of even more acute partisan acrimony, vowing to help take the lead on scorched-earth tactics if this continues:
Is Senator Alexander bluffing? Just blowing off some steam, after which he'll return to his normal state of docile, supine, go-along-to-get-along collegiality? I couldn't blame any of you for cynically answering in the affirmative. But what if he's serious? Lamar Alexander is the antithesis of Ted Cruz, after all. I'm not sure what he has in mind in terms of "leading on scorched-earth tactics," but as he pointed out, the Republicans are in the majority, not the Democrats, and there's a very simple, straightforward step they can take to cut Harry (G)Reid's balls off at a stroke: Nuke the filibuster altogether. Make all votes (other than veto-overrides and treaty ratifications....well, okay, treaties don't exist anymore in the Age Of The One, but you get my point) of the simple majority variety. Would that make the Senate less "deliberative"? It would. But seeing as how the current minority party is flagrantly abusing the privilege for poisonously, treasonously hyperpartisan reasons at diametric odds with the will of the American people and the best interests of the country as a whole, I'd say it's long past time to pull that trigger. And don't give me any flapdoodle about setting a precedent for the Dems to follow the next time they're back in the majority, as Dirty Harry already partially did that two years ago himself.
If even Lamar Alexendar has had all he can stands, he can't stands no more, this would be the place for him and his "cooperation-minded" Republican colleagues to start.
And remember, Speaker Paul Ryan has already sounded the call to battle on the House side.
In the words of Nick Fury to Loki in The Avengers, "You have made me very desperate. You might not be glad that you did."