Blog Credo

The whole aim of practical politics is to keep the populace alarmed (and hence clamorous to be led to safety) by menacing it with an endless series of hobgoblins, all of them imaginary.

H.L. Mencken

Thursday, May 30, 2013

Harry Reid's Game Of No-Limit Hold'em

Will Harry Reid have this much moxie?

Obama's decision to fill the final three slots in the DC Circuit Court is going to be an interesting test case for Harry Reid.  Back in January, Reid had the opportunity to end the filibuster for nominations to the Courts and to the Executive Branch.  He choose instead to monkey around the edges and make some modest housekeeping changes.

The result?  He got played like a Steinway.  Mitch McTurtleface has continued to block everything he possibly can in his continued pursuit of a scorched earth policy that would make Stalin blush.

This becomes the acid test for both McConnell and Reid. If the GOP filibusters all three of the nominees (or even two of them), then Reid has his excuse to "go nuclear" and end the filibuster of nominations.  As Booman says, this will lead to the filling of a dozen positions within the Executive Branch, including Cordray at the CFPB.  Chait has also noted that this will allow Obama to pursue his second term climate change agenda through regulatory oversight.

But Harry Reid will have to follow through, if McConnell and crew filibuster.  And it's never clear that Reid understands the nature of his opposition.

Meanwhile, McConnell has to calculate whether it's worse to give the Democrats control of the most important Circuit court in the land or allow the other bottlenecked nominees to serve.  Also, would Reid "going nuclear" have a positive or negative effect on the GOP base for 2014.

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