A few weeks ago, Republicans in the Senate, aided by the media, got people to buy into the idea that Democrats interested in reforming the filibuster rule to ease the unprecedented obstruction of the last Congress were playing with fire. That failing to honor the rights of the minority party would blowback in the Democrats’ faces when they inevitably lost control of Congress’s upper chamber. The spook campaign worked. Instead of passing muscular rules that would have still provided for minority rights, but not at the expense of critical decisions, from Cabinet appointments to bringing legislation to the floor in a timely manner, Senator Reid took his slice of the loaf and a handshake deal, that pinky swear, Republicans would not continue their lockstep opposition to anything and everything in the Senate.
Cut to yesterday and the first ever filibuster threat of any Cabinet member in the history of our country. That Republicans show no similar fear of precedent or blowback is unsurprising. Democrats, being the good government types they are, always back down and never take revenge. Yesterday’s decision by the GOP to force a cloture vote on Chuck Hagel (a Republican, no less) did set one precedent –it showed that if they ever do get the majority back, they will be as unafraid to change the rules to ensure Democrats cannot pull these types of shenanigans as Democrats are willing to do just the opposite.