On Thursday, even as House Republican leadership caved to President Obama’s executive amnesty, passing a $1.1 trillion omnibus bill funding that amnesty through the end of February, Senate Republicans prepared to do the same. The Senate Republican cave comes on the so-called “nuclear option” – the stripping of the power of the filibuster from the minority on judicial and executive nominees.
In 2013, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid used a procedural gimmick to remove the filibuster from play, lowering the bar for nominations to 51 votes instead of the usual 60 required to stop any filibuster. Republicans set up a hue and cry at the time, complaining that such a step was unprecedented – which it was.
Now the question becomes whether Republicans play by the Marquess of Queensbury rules.
With Republicans retaking the Senate beginning in January, they have the option of restoring the filibuster. Senator John McCain (R-AZ), always ready to scuttle Republican priorities in favor of a chimerical comity, says that Republicans ought to give Democrats the filibuster that Democrats seized from Republicans. “I think it’s rank hypocrisy if we don’t,” he said. “If we don’t, then disregard every bit of complaint that we made, not only after they did it but also during the campaign. I’m stunned that some people want to keep it.”
Thankfully, McCain’s opinion isn’t the only Republican opinion in the Senate. Next week, Republican senators will meet to determine strategy on the filibuster.
If you want Democrats to stop breaking the rules, then you can’t simply hand them an advantage when they do break the rules. They must be taught the lesson that any option they use to destroy minority rights in the Senate can be turned against them. If Republicans refuse to hold Democrats’ feet to the fire, Democrats will see only advantage in perverting the rules anytime they please. After all, President Obama and his allies have shown time and again that they don’t care about the boundaries of power – they only care about how to evade them.
Ben Shapiro is Senior Editor-At-Large of Breitbart News and author of the new book, The People vs. Barack Obama: The Criminal Case Against The Obama Administration (Threshold Editions, June 10, 2014). He is also Editor-in-Chief of TruthRevolt.org. Follow Ben Shapiro on Twitter @benshapiro.