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Senator Harry Reid, D-Fool Me Twice

By       Message John Nichols     Permalink
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Cross-posted from The Nation


Harry Reid. (AP Photo)

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid on Thursday was shocked  to learn that there was filibustering going on in the Senate.

"It is shocking that our Republicans colleagues would leave our nation without a secretary of defense with all the things going on and when we're in a war," Reid said after Senate Republicans voted against confirming former Republican Chuck Hagel as the new head of the Pentagon.

It was "shocking" -- if we use the definition of the word as "troubling" or "unsettling" -- that 58 senators (the members of the Democratic caucus and four Republicans: Senators Thad Cochran of Mississippi, Susan Collins of Maine, Mike Johanns of Nebraska and Lisa Murkowski of Alaska) out of 100 wanted a vote but could not get it.

But it was not "shocking" -- if we use the definition of the word as "surprising" or "unexpected" -- that a Republican minority was again obstructing action in the Senate.

Seriously! What did Harry Reid think was going to happen when he rejected the calls of Senators Jeff Merkley, D-Oregon, and Tom Udall, D-New Mexico, for filibuster reform?

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What Merkley, Udall and a number of other senators have been proposing for several years now is the restoration of the traditional filibuster where, as in Mr. Smith Goes to Washington, a dissenting senator must hold the floor and make the case -- the very long case, at least in some instances -- against a nomination or a bill.

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John Nichols, a pioneering political blogger, has written the Online Beat since 1999. His posts have been circulated internationally, quoted in numerous books and mentioned in debates on the floor of Congress.

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