"It is depressing; I'm very depressed,” Republican Sen. John McCain said this week.
“We're going down the wrong path here,” Democratic Sen. Joe Manchin said.
They were both talking about the same thing: the GOP’s potential use of the so-called “nuclear option” to confirm Judge Neil Gorsuch to the Supreme Court.
And it is all, as Charlie Pierce would say, my balls:
Back in 2005, when now-Justices Roberts and Alito came up for confirmation in rapid succession, Republicans made it very clear that the they would resort to the 'nuclear option' if Democrats tried to block either nomination. In response Democrats worked out a deal which amounted to preserving the Supreme Court filibuster on condition that they never use it. In other words, it was abolished.
Josh Marshall is right. A filibuster you have available only as long as you don't use it, is a nullity. The GOP isn't going nuclear this week; they're simply finishing off what they started 12 years ago.
Maybe they'll have to own it. More likely they won't (who votes for Senator based on what happened to Senate rules a year ago?). Either way, nothing changes that wasn't changed already. But now the GOP won't have a leg to stand on (or a deal they can claim didn't apply to them) the next time a Democratic President places a Supreme Court nominee before a Democratic Senate. So now they've caught the car, and the GOP Senate is about to prove itself as incapable of governance as the House GOP has already proven itself to be.
Anyway, they burned as many bridges as they could on the way to this. I'm sure the Democrats are to blame:
McConnell successfully triggered the nuclear option just after 12:30 p.m. Eastern time with a 48 to 52 vote along party lines.
It normally takes a two-thirds vote, or 66 votes, to jettison Senate rules in the middle of a session. Using procedural tools to do it is a rare step that generates extreme ill-will in historically deliberative body.
Happy days are here again.