Monday, February 22, 2010
So when a popular bill like a jobs bill comes down the pike, Republicans are not going to gain too many political points by filibustering it. Today five--count 'em, five--Republican Senators voted for cloture to allow the jobs bill to come to the floor for a vote: Scott Brown, Olympia Snowe, Susan Collins, Kit Bond, and George Voinovich. Harry Reid was elated of course, saying: "I hope this is the beginning of a new day here in the Senate." So welcome to bi-partisanship in Congress.
Not to brag too much, but I did predict a long time ago that there could be some benefits for the Democrats in controlling less than a 60 vote majority, and some dangers in having 60 votes. We have now seen what happens when you try to rule Congress with a supposedly unbreakable majority that still required you to please people like Ben Nelson and Joe Lieberman. You end up with health care legislation that the House is not too crazy about, and with both liberals and conservatives mad at you. The alternative of having to attract only a few votes from a larger group of conservative Democrats and moderate Republicans may actually give the Democrats more and better options, and may produce more defensible outcomes.