They did it. Senate Democrats invoked the nuclear option and blew up over 220 years of legislative history in the United States. The Democrats changed the rules of the Senate to allow Presidential appointments to executive and judicial positions with a simple majority vote. Instead of the original 60 vote threshold, now the Senate will only need 51 votes to approve these appointments. It may not seem like a major change – but it is – Senator John McCain (R-AZ) may have said it best, “This changes everything, this changes everything.”
Funny enough, the same Democrats that today “broke the rules, to change the rules,” once fought tooth and nail to stop Republicans from doing the very same. In 2005 the Republicans threatened the nuclear option because of Democrats filibustering President George W. Bush’s judicial appointments. The key word there is threatened. In the end, a bipartisan group of Senators brokered an agreement and the nuclear option was left untouched.
Do you remember some of the things the Democrats said during that nuclear option debate? How about just what Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid said? (Check out this great video of Reid on the nuclear option from 2005)
“My Republican colleagues claim that nominees are entitled to an up-down vote. That claim ignores history, including recent history.”
“Some in this chamber want to throw out 214 years of Senate history in the quest for absolute power … They think they’re wiser than our founding fathers. I doubt that that’s true.”
The nuclear option, “simply put, would be the end of the United States Senate.”
What is Reid saying now?
“These nominees deserve at least an up-or-down vote. But Republican filibusters deny them a fair vote and deny the president his team.”
To remain relevant and effective as an institution, the Senate must evolve to meet the challenges of a modern era.”
“It’s time to change the Senate before this institution becomes obsolete.”
How about what another Senate expert thinks about the nuclear option? What do you think, Vice President Biden? (Circa 2005)
“I pray God, when the Democrats take back control, we don’t make the kind of naked power grab you are doing.” – then Senator Joe Biden
The Senate Democrats betrayed the American people yet again when they voted for the nuclear option. Our system is designed to give the minority more power than its numbers would ordinarily give it. Why? Because our founding fathers knew the corrupting influence of power. They knew that the majority could not be trusted with its “full share” of power – they would persecute and ignore the minority’s beliefs and desires.
Senate Democrats chose to value themselves more than they values our nation, and they should be punished for that. It’s my sincerest hope that this, along with the many other failings, shortcomings and scandals that the Democrats have been a part of, be seared into the brains of voters for years to come.
Again, I think John McCain’s reaction to the day’s events are just about perfect.
“This changes everything, this changes everything… (This) puts on a chill on the entire United States Senate.”
“I have reached to them. I spent an hour in Harry Reid’s office. Come on. I reached out until my arms ache… They are governed by these hard over, newer members of Democratic senators who have never been a minority, who are primarily driving this issue and they succeeded and they will pay a very, very heavy price for it.“
I hope so Senator McCain, I sincerely do.
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