The Point of No Return

I guess you could classify this as a lack of civility:

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) lacks the votes to begin debating his targeted jobs bill, according to sources monitoring the legislation.

Reid needs 60 votes to open debate on the $15 billion jobs bill. The vote is scheduled for Monday, when lawmakers return from the Presidents Day recess.

“I understand Reid does not have the votes for cloture on Monday on his jobs bill,” one source said.
 
A Reid spokesman said the vote is in the hands of Republicans. Democrats have 59 senators in their conference.

What this underscores is the simple fact that whether you attribute the rise of the filibuster to a breakdown in comity amongst Senators or a rational response to systemic incentives, we’re to the point where there just isn’t any way to reasonably expect a return to the old social norms of the Senate. The minority has gotten to the point where they’re potentially willing to prevent the majority from even considering bills the majority party would like to pass, and they’re also in a position to benefit from that obstruction electorally. There may have been a time when the prevailing norm of Senate cuture was to eschew the potential rewards of blocking everything on the majority’s agenda, but those days are clearly gone. The minority recognizes that they have both the incentive and the means to keep the minority from doing anything, and they’ve decided they’re willing to excercise that ability. It’s just incredibly naive to imagine that things can go back to the way they were so long as the filibuster rule exists.

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