Yesterday, a bunch of silly Republicans pretended to be mad at Hillary Clinton, then got genuinely mad when she replied to them sharply. Today some of the same Republicans pretended to be mad in the general direction of John Kerry, who was testifying in support of his nomination to be secretary of state. Tempers stayed in check for the most part, though, and despite their distress at the fact that Kerry is likely to support the policies of the president who appointed him, Republicans will let Kerry slide through without too much of a fight.
Meanwhile, Harry Reid and Mitch McConnell reached a deal on filibuster reform, agreeing that actually reforming the filibuster in any meaningful way would be a bad idea (more details below). So we can look forward to another Congress in which every piece of legislation more momentous than declaring August to be National Snap Pea Awareness Month will require a supermajority of 60 votes in order to pass. Not that much of anything would pass the House even if it made it through the Senate; John Boehner just declared his sincere belief that Barack Obama will "attempt to annihilate the Republican Party," and he'll be there to make sure that doesn't happen. This attempt at annihilation will probably be accomplished through nefarious tactics like advocating for popular liberal policies, seeking to make government work efficiently, and even supporting members of Obama's own party in future elections. No wonder they hate him so.
So They Say
“Today, by moving to open more military positions—including ground combat units—to women, our armed forces have taken another historic step toward harnessing the talents and skills of all our citizens. This milestone reflects the courageous and patriotic service of women through more than two centuries of American history and the indispensable role of women in today’s military. Many have made the ultimate sacrifice, including more than 150 women who have given their lives in Iraq and Afghanistan—patriots whose sacrifices show that valor knows no gender. "
Daily Meme: Filibluster
- The Senate made some changes to its plan for filibuster reform, but all in all they were quite underwhelming. Now, the majority party won't need 60 votes to kickstart debate on a bill, but they will have to allow the opposition to slide two amendments into the legislation. Filibustering actual legislation remains intact.
- Timothy Noah at The New Republic notes, "There are also a few other chickenshit changes."
- Why the change of heart, Senate? Harry Reid says, “I’m not personally, at this stage, ready to get rid of the 60-vote threshold."
- What does the change mean? Well, the filibuster isn't dead, and future senators can still dream big about copying Howard Stackhouse or Jefferson Smith's fictional filibuster prowess ...
- ... or Huey Long's Senate floor cooking-show filibuster, or Bernie Sanders book-spawning one. But in the end, not much has changed at all. Talking won't be a requirement for those seeking to filibuster a bill, and the filibuster of middle school history class will remain a rarity.
- As The Washington Post's Ezra Klein sums up, "The Senate’s reformers are crestfallen. This is not, in their view, filibuster reform. Forget breaking the Senate’s 60-vote requirement."
- Senator Tom Harkin, who favored forcing a talking filibuster, said today's move equaled "baby, baby steps."
- Ed Kilgore writes," I doubt any reforms will matter a lot until and unless a Senate majority takes the bull by the horns and reduces the cloture threshold below the current 60 votes via the 'constitutional option.' If that is indeed, as its critics call it, the “nuclear option,” today’s deal is very conventional."
- In short, "so much for any hope that this Senate might be significantly different from the last one."
What We're Writing
- Bryce Covert takes a look at protections for domestic workers—whom they're for, how they've come about, and why they're important. Nurses and nannies and new-age labor organizing, oh my.
- Jonathan Bernstein tells us why President Obama might want—and shouldn't want—to be a liberal Reagan. Short and sweet? I knew Ronald Reagan, and Ronald Reagan, sir, was no Ronald Reagan.
What We're Reading
- Thanks to Citizens United, there's a whole new revolving door for former politicians and Hill staffers to pass through.
- Mother Jones follows climate-change dynamo Jason Box to Greenland's ice sheet to learn that it's halfway to snowcone and might go full slushie way ahead of schedule.
- Senator Joe Manchin of West Virginia seems surprised when his West Virginian constituents from West Virginia admit to being gun owners. His support on gun control is (surprisingly?) not assured.
- President Obama takes a stand on enforcement on Wall Street by nominating a former state prosecutor to the head of the SEC. Her current day job? White collar defense lawyer on Wall Street.
- Chase Madar takes a sobering journey through the power prosecutors can and have used to silence and intimidate the likes of Aaron Swartz, Bradley Manning, and Thomas Drake.
- David Frum and Tucker Carlson tackle the tricky question of a rule reversal on women that has already happened with arguments that are already outdated. Fight like with like, we guess.
- The Onion's Joe Biden strikes again!
- The New Yorker collects pictures of women in the military throughout American history.
- Only 11.3 percent of the workforce is unionized now. Yikes.
Poll of the Day
The Pew Research Center came out with a poll today to let us know that currently 72 percent of Americans think deficit reduction should be a top priority for the President and Congress this year, after "strengthening economy" and "improving the job situation."There is a significant gap between the 72 percent of respondents on this survey and the roughly zero percent of Americans who thoroughly understand the links between the deficit and their paychecks.