Nuclear Option

After today’s Senate vote to eliminate the use of the filibuster for presidential nominees (except for the Supreme Court), Mitch McConnell vowed revenge. Evoking the tragicomic specter of unified Republican control over government, the minority leader admonished Democrats for overreaching. “I say to my friends on the other side of the aisle, you’ll regret this,” he warned.

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Stop mourning bipartisan comity, sanctimonious Beltway scolds! It died a long time before the filibuster did.

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Is Tennessee’s Lamar Alexander such a proud upholder of Senate tradition that he can’t bear to give ground on the filibuster? Is he simply spoiling for a fight? Or, like a drunken frat boy yelling, “Come at me, bro!” is he feeling both a little piqued and a little reckless at the same time? 

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Harry Reid’s threat to change filibuster rules so executive nominees will only require 51 votes for approval has touched off dire warnings that doing so would put the Senate on a slippery slope to becoming more like the House.

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