And the punches keep coming

"Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid is, famously, an ex-boxer.

Put an emphasis on "ex."

As the health-care debate made its way to the Senate, the chamber’s top Democrat refused to take tactical steps that would have allowed for the passage of meaningful legislation with a majority vote.

No, no, no, Reid argued. He did not need to alter the filibuster rule that required 60 votes to act.

No, no, no, Reid argued. He did not need to consider using the budget reconciliation process that Republicans had employed to move controversial legislation when they were the majority party in the Senate.

No, no, no, Reid argued. He could use the power of persuasion to get the chamber’s 58 Democrats, two independents and maybe even a few Republicans to vote for real reform.

Reid was convinced that he could wrangle the likes of Connecticut Independent Joe Lieberman and Nebraska Sort-of-Democrat Ben Nelson into a super-majority that would matter. And why not? He had protected Lieberman, in particular, when other Democratic senator’s had questioned why an active campaigner for John McCain’s 2008 Republican presidential run should enjoy the benefits of seniority and membership in the majority caucus.

Besides, Reid bet, he would have the muscular presidency of Barack Obama to help him get the job done.

Reid bet wrong."

At the Nation
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