Here's a few questions for Harry Reid to chew on while he contemplates this comment by Byron York about the fallout from the so-called 'nuclear option:'
...nearly everything the Senate does requires that senators first agree to direct the body's attention to this or that subject. That is usually done through a routine procedure called unanimous consent. But if just one senator wants to stop things, he or she can.
"Most people underestimate the importance of unanimous consent and how it will, if denied, slow down the operations of the Senate, perhaps to a halt," says John Cornyn, the number-two ranking Republican in the Senate. "I can foresee a circumstance where every time there is an effort to do something on the floor, there is going to be an objection, and that will string out for a long time."
...and they go like this:
- Mike Lee of Utah came to the Senate via a delegate convention revolt in the primary, and is not up for re-election until 2016. By all accounts, his constituents are perfectly happy with him. Does Reid think that Mitch McConnell or anybody else can keep Mike from playing unanimous consent?
- Rand Paul of Kentucky stood up in the Senate earlier this year and talked for 13 hours until the White House finally admitted that no, they don't think that they have the right to drone strike an American citizen on US soil. He's also not up for re-election until 2016. Does Reid think that Sen. Paul cares if anybody says mean things about him and unanimous consent, either?
- Ted Cruz of Texas just got elected, and he is in that Senate seat until he's done with it, and he comes from a state whose inhabitants would respond to news that Ted shut down the Senate indefinitely with a cheery So... what's the catch? Indeed, Senator Reid... what's the catch?
The moral of the story is, of course, that elections matter. Which is a double-edged sword: you need to get the right people elected, but you also have to get the right people elected. That means being ruthless, sometimes: life is, alas, unfair. Still, it's better to have one fire-breather than none, as we may soon see...
Moe Lane (crosspost)