Now that Democrats have gone “nuclear” and destroyed the filibuster for most judicial and executive nominees, Republicans’ warnings about the true ambitions of this president and his party are coming to fruition. If the procedural rights of the minority party are not protected, other rights will be next to go, and there can be no room for compromise with the majority on anything–at all.
Democrats have overreached. Convinced that the Republicans would never dare a confrontation over funding the government again, they are trying to press home the advantage, stacking the courts and appointing Obama sycophants to key posts. Republicans will note that their recent agreement to allow several Obama appointees to proceed in order to save the filibuster meant absolutely nothing to Reid, Obama, and the Democrats.
The question now is how to retaliate. In the short term, Republicans can use their power in the House of Representatives to block any of President Obama’s desired legislation, including immigration reform. In the medium term, Republicans must consider what to do when they take over the Senate–which could happen in the 2014 elections, if the public remains as outraged as it is now about the failure of Obamacare.
Republicans could extend the Democrats’ new rule and stack the courts (perhaps even the Supreme Court) after 2016. They could also eliminate the filibuster for ordinary bills as well, which would make repealing Obamacare easy. Or they could promise to reverse what Democrats had done, and restore the traditional protections of the minority. The latter may be best in the long run. But they will be in no rush to compromise.