TAMPA, Fla. -- Hours before the first night of the Republican National Convention commenced on Tuesday, longtime anti-tax advocate Grover Norquist offered a window into how he believes Senate Republicans will operate should they win the majority this fall.
The changes to rules and decorum they complained about when Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) made them, he predicted, would become standard operating procedure once the tables were flipped.
"I think they will do everything that Reid did to them," Norquist told The Huffington Post. "There will be a period where you are going to live under your own rules for awhile until you do or say something that convinces us that the modern Democratic Party will never behave that way again."
This would mean, Norquist explained, that Republicans, led by now-Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), would block Democrats from offering "secondary amendments" to bills, a practice that Reid has employed routinely in order to head off awkward votes or ones completely unrelated to the legislation at hand. It also could mean streamlining procedures to ensure that bills can get to the floor without having to clear a filibuster vote first. That wouldn't eliminate the filibuster itself. But it "comes close" to filibuster reform, said Norquist.
Republican leaders occasionally act as if Norquist is some rogue operative with no real connection to the party. But he is incredibly plugged in and has managed to win the fealty of a vast majority of the party's members. His forecast for how the GOP would operate procedurally is hardly ill-informed.
That said, it's easy to imagine Democrats adopting the Republicans' tactics should they end up in the minority, turning repeatedly to the filibuster to bottle up legislation they don't like.
As for whether or not the Senate will in fact change hands, recent bungles by Rep. Todd Akin, the Republican nominee for Senate in Missouri, perhaps make that less likely. But on Wednesday morning, McConnell said he believed there was a path to the majority without Akin. From Politico:
With Rep. Todd Akin staying put in Missouri, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell still sees a path to a Republican majority even if his party fails to knock off Sen. Claire McCaskill in the fall.
Speaking to POLITICO’s Mike Allen at the Playbook Breakfast here, McConnell noted that there are four Democratic seats in states where Mitt Romney will likely defeat President Barack Obama — North Dakota, Nebraska, Montana and Missouri.
“We have, in three out of four of them, a real good opportunity for a pickup,” McConnell said, a not-so-subtle reference to Akin’s candidacy in Missouri. “And we’ll see about the fourth one.”