May 11, 2012
Via Guy Benson, who has background on Reid’s outburst as well as irresistible video from 2005 of Dingy Harry (plus a bunch of other Democratic all-stars) singing the filibuster’s praises while they were in the minority, natch. You know who I think is actually to blame for this bit of theater? Richard Mourdock. Let WaPo explain:
Tuesday’s landslide victory in the GOP primary by Indiana state Treasurer Richard Mourdock, a staunch conservative who beat longtime Sen. Richard G. Lugar, gave Democrats hope for claiming a seat they have not seriously contested in three decades…
“Eight months ago, I thought that Republicans had a 60 to 65 percent chance of taking the majority. Now, it’s a 50-50 proposition as to whether Republicans can take the majority,” said Jennifer Duffy, a longtime expert on Senate races who works for the independent Cook Political Report.
Stuart Rothenberg, editor of the Rothenberg Political Report, said he places his “pinkie on the scale” now for Democrats retaining the majority, but added that his calculation hinges on economic improvements, particularly as reflected in the monthly unemployment numbers. “A few more months of less than 200,000 new jobs, and I take my pinkie off that scale,” Rothenberg said.
A year ago it seemed a fait accompli that the GOP would pick up a bunch of Senate seats in the midwest and reclaim the majority. Today that’s less certain. The economy looks a little better than it used to — how could it not? — and Mourdock will have more of a fight on his hands than Lugar would have, so just maybe Democrats will squeak through with 51 seats. In that case, that darned filibuster’s got to go so that the majority can’t be sandbagged repeatedly by tea-party obstructionists. (See, e.g., Ezra Klein.) Wait a few months, though, and see what Reid et al. think in, say, September if we’ve had another summer of minimal growth and Mourdock’s out to a solid 10-point lead on Donnelly. Strange new respect for the filibuster as an extra brake on the world’s greatest deliberative body will flower anew. In fact, listen carefully here and you’ll see that he’s not exactly calling for an end to the filibuster, just some changes. He knows how badly this soundbite can come back to haunt him if he has to turn on a dime in, say, three months, so he’s leaving himself a little wiggle room just in case.