Democrats are parading around this week with their most dour expressions, accusing Mitch McConnell and the Republicans of not only stealing President Obama’s rightful Supreme Court nomination but also of destroying the integrity of the Senate with their “nuclear option” approach, which eliminated the filibuster for court confirmation votes. In the meantime, they are trying their best to deflect any criticism coming their way…and there’s a whole heap of it to deflect. Some of it, indeed, is coming from within the ranks of their own party.
Among the chief critics is former Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle. He appeared on a Real Clear Politics podcast this week to discuss what he described as a problem the Democrats had made for themselves. Daschle, who will not ever be confused for a conservative or a Trump supporter, nonetheless said that Democrats only needed to look in the mirror if they wanted to find the people responsible for tearing down Senate norms.
“Unfortunately, Democrats have far dirtier hands when it comes to the erosion of the institutional pillars of the Senate than Republicans going all the way back to–you know, they used to do filibusters in the House and the Senate,” Daschle said. “And the Senate the House took them away in the 1830s, and the Senate began taking them away under Woodrow Wilson in 1917–then getting rid of the talking filibuster in the 70s–and then the whole budget process was a Democratic product, and that was in my view a procedural disaster.
“Then we lowered the threshold from 67 to 60,” he continued. “That was a Democratic effort. And then in 2013, we took it away completely for nominations and that was Democratic. So, Democrats who may lament this institutional deterioration, I think there’s a lot of history here that can’t be explained away.”
Well, that would suppose that Democrats had any interest in explaining anything and it would assume that they actually give a damn about the finer points of parliamentary procedure. They don’t, and Daschle knows damn well they don’t. They want to score points with their rabid base. From the moment Donald Trump was sworn in, Democrats launched their 2018 election campaign. Everything they do up until next November is for the purpose of getting the vote out. They don’t want to govern in the minority; they’re simply holding the fort down until they can turn the tables.