Whoops. Speaking candidly about his book on C-SPAN less than a year ago, Harry Reid said that his proudest moment in the Senate was fighting against the nuclear option the GOP considered using to break a Democratic filibuster over Bush's judicial nominees. The same nuclear option he is now talking about using to push state-controlled health care through if Democrats can't find 60 votes.
Reid didn't just speak out against reconciliation or the nuclear option in the Senate. He vehemently opposed it, invoking the language of the framers of the Constitution.
"What the Republicans came up with was a way to change our country forever," Reid stated. "We would in fact have a unicameral legislature where a simple majority would determine everything that happens... the Senate was set up to be different. That was the genius, the vision, of our Founding Fathers."
When former Democratic Majority Leader Tom Daschle asked what the likelihood was we would see the nuclear option come up again, Reid passionately reiterated his convictions. [emphasis mine]
"As long as I am the leader, the answer is no. I think we should just forget that. That is a black chapter in the history of the Senate. I hope we never, ever get to that again. I really do believe it will ruin our country."
Daschle expressed the same concerns about reconciliation as Reid. Click on the following link and see for yourself. [Note: if you get a pop-up window error, simply click on the flash player icon on the C-SPAN page]
My how things have changed. Is Reid ready to abandon his convictions for the expediency of ramming unpopular health care reform down the country's throat? Have we really reached such a crisis that Reid will abort his principles (and those he ascribed to the founding fathers) to help dear leader get what he wants despite his belief that it will destroy the nation?
In April, Democrats set October 15 as the deadline for state-controlled health care reforms to pass. If they hadn't, according to the New Republic, the White House and Senate agreed to pursue the nuclear option. Reid's spokesman suggested last week that the nuclear option was still a possibility. [emphasis mine]
"We will not make a decision to pursue reconciliation until we have exhausted efforts to produce a bipartisan bill," said Jim Manley, a spokesman for Mr. Reid. "However, patience is not unlimited, and we are determined to get something done this year by any legislative means necessary."
In the same interview, Reid also made several comments complaining that the Bush administration was too partisan, that they were willing to do anything to get the president's agenda passed, even without a mandate or any support from the opposition party. Pot? This is kettle. You're black. Click on the following link to watch more hypocrisy.
If Reid and the Dems proceed with this tactic, splitting the health care bill in two for reconciliation, as the Wall Street Journal reported on August 20, there should be a photo of Reid next to the word "unprincipled sell-out" in the dictionary. The nuclear option Harry Reid is suddenly comfortable pursuing was designed for budgetary measures only, and has never been used for major overhauls of highly controversial legislation, especially ones that take liberties away from the people like socialized medicine.
Anyone who seriously believed that Obama would bring a bipartisan effort of change to Washington can now officially admit they bought into a bag of Democratic falsehoods and demagoguery. And oddly enough, they did it to defeat a true moderate with a long history of bipartisanship, John McCain. Instead, Chicago thuggery has come to the White House.
(Note: These videos aren't on youtube and I couldn't find a way to embed them, so if someone knows how, please add them to your blog before they go down the memory hole.)
Update: To be clear, Republicans threatened but never used the nuclear option under Bush. And their threatened use of it was limited to confirming judges that the Constitution gives the executive branch the power to appoint. To compare this with a nuclear option to pass state control of health care is to compare apples and orangutans.