January 1, 2015

The Congress vs. Obama and Reid

GOP self-imposed future?
Happy New Year everyone.  Looking ahead, 2015 is going to be an interesting year in politics. Obama will be forced to veto all sorts of legislation that finally makes it to his desk, despite Harry Reid's efforts to filibuster. A smart Mitch McConnell would leave the Senate rules to negate the need for super-majorities in place for as long as the GOP feels it can hold the Senate.  That would be the smart thing to do.  It may not be the GOP thing to do. I've been on vacation the last 2 weeks and not paying as close attention as I normally would, so I'm not sure if the idea of normalizing those Senate rules is still on the table for the GOP majority, but if it is, it shouldn't be.

The flawed calculus of public opinion as led by the mainstream media that the GOP are doing something sinister and so they should not do it is simply that - flawed.  The leverage given by Reid's distortion of the rules is too powerful to ignore.  Reversing it is a good idea, but not now.  The Democrats have dome a massive amount of damage to America, and the top priority right now has to be undoing that.  Afterwards, normalizing Senate rules can be given some thought.  Obama is still in charge of the Executive branch and is increasingly likely to do ill-advised things.  Taking away your own ability to fight those decisions, even in part, is like tying your own hand behind your back.

If it's public opinion that the GOP leadership is fretting about, I'd advise them to get over it.  It's easy enough to say in every single interview, a la Debbie Wasserman Schultz the same talking point over and over again: these are rules that the Harry Reid Democrats put in place for themselves and we are simply obeying the rules we were given.  Or perhaps something more well-crafted, but the point remains "they did this" repeated often enough and long enough will deflect blame.  And hey, if things go south anyway, it might at least force the public to reconsider the notion of the Senate's role in government to not just be a rubber stamp to the Congress' or the president's will. It's meant to be deliberative. That would not be a bad thing.  It'd be easy to tie it back to the Obamacare push debacle, especially after the 2015 tax collection from the IRS starts to hit taxpayers' wallets.

Mitch McConnell might be a parliamentarian, and a good one at that, but he's not a bold leader.  That's what the GOP lacks in the Senate.  Mitch McConnell strikes me as an effective back room, number 2 guy; an advisor to the GOP Senate leader on the options available.  #1?  That's a role that Rand Paul might fit well, if he were not likely going to run for president instead.

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