Democratic Minority Leader Harry Reid's decision not to seek reelection in 2016 will mark the end of his impressive 30-year career in the Senate. Mr. Reid, one of the least charismatic politicians to rise to his post but who mastered the Senate arcane rules to his party's advantage, anointed Chuck Schumer as his successor.
It is amusing for Democrats to watch the "Ted Cruz wing" of the GOP try to defend their big DHS bill, just as it will be amusing to watch them howl later this week when it gets split in two. All a Democrat will have to do to really rub it in will be to say, "But you've been saying all along that immigration reform can only be done one tiny step at a time!"
If Republicans win control of the Senate, there will be the gridlock -- only much worse. It will be so bad that the American people will look back on this current Congress as "productive". Suppose, however, that independents actually control the balance of power. If they act together, they can break the gridlock.
In the conduct of today's Republican Party, we can see a pattern of destructiveness. It displays an insatiable lust for power and wealth, an impulse to prey upon the vulnerable, a preference for conflict over cooperation, a persistent dishonesty, and a willingness to sacrifice the greater good for selfish advantage.
I'm using the word "reconciliation" in a very specific rules-of-the-Senate fashion. Because McConnell just revealed to Politico how he intends to govern, should his party take control of the Senate in November -- and it appears that the previously-arcane "budget reconciliation" maneuver will figure heavily in his playbook.
The invocation of the nuclear option last November addressed a real problem with the functioning of the Senate, paved the way for a new generation of insightful legal minds to join the ranks of the federal judiciary, and has allowed the president to address the nation's judicial vacancy crisis by accelerating the pace of confirmations. We are all better off for it.