So finally the “unthinkable” has happened—the Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid had executed the ‘nuclear,’ option to weaken the filibuster rule that will enable judicial and executive nominees to be confirmed (except supreme court nominees) with a simple majority vote. And the Democrats lost no time to employ this new rule to confirm President Obama’s nomination of Patricia Millett as a judge to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia by invoking cloture to end the debate with 55-43 vote.
Despite a previous agreement the Republicans were holding several of President Obama’s nomination with threats of filibuster. Sen. Reid had warned earlier, “It's time to change the Senate before this institution becomes obsolete.” Reid had explained why he was using this option, “Not for the good of the Democratic majority, but for the good of the United States of America.” During President Obama’s first term the Republicans had filibustered more than 400 times, an unprecedented number considering that President Johnson had to face only one filibuster during his entire presidency. Only on executive nominees Obama had to face 62 filibusters against Clinton's nine, the maximum number prior to Obama. The Republicans had made the Senate unworkable, with senseless application of this antiquated rule.
Yet, the tally was 52 to 48 in today’s vote, three democrats voted against it—Sens. Carl Levin of Michigan, Joe Manchin of West Virginia, and Mark Pryor of Arkansas. Why did these three Democrats voted against it?
Republican Senator of Tennessee, Lamar Alexander described the change as the “most important and most dangerous restructuring of Senate rules since Thomas Jefferson wrote them.” The filibuster rule was instituted to preserve the interest of the minority at the cost of the majority, which made the US senate an undemocratic institution, a rarity among the developed nations.
Why then the three Democrats voted against the reform that was aimed at curbing the power of filibuster and make the US senate more democratic?
Because these senators are Corporate Democrats, and the differences between the corporate Democrats and the Republicans are very little, both want to promote the interest of Wall Street at the cost of the Main Street.
This is the predicament in American politics today. One party is the wholesale agent of the corporate America, while a significant number of the other party members are serving the same master.
Thank you Mr. Reid for doing the right thing, the nation will be grateful to you for showing the courage to take this monumental step.