About Dem Regrets - Kimberly Strassel, WSJ
Democrats Send Their Regrets
Blowing up the filibuster, keeping Pelosi in charge—the list of mistakes is long.
Regrets? Delaware Sen. Chris Coons has a few—and not too few to mention. At the top of his list is his party’s decision in 2013 to blow up the filibuster for most presidential nominees.
“Many of us will regret that in this Congress,” a dejected Mr. Coons told CNN on Tuesday. “Because it would have been a terrific speed bump, potential emergency brake, to have in our system to slow down the confirmation of extreme nominees.”
Cue Sinatra and “My Way.” That’s how former Senate leader Harry Reid, House Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi and President Obama ruled for eight years. They planned each charted course, each careful step. Now, they’re not finding it so amusing.
Mr. Coons is regretting giving up his tool to stop Donald Trump’s march of reformers. It’s a cabinet parade of charter-school-lovers, and law-and-order prosecutors and tax-cutters and ObamaCare-slayers, of the sort to give a good Delaware liberal night sweats. There was a day when not one of these nominees could have hoped to squeeze past a Senate filibuster. But Mr. Reid did it his way, and Mr. Trump keeps tweeting.
Former veep candidate Tim Kaine in October threatened that Republicans would be really, really sorry if they tried to use what filibuster tools were left against a Hillary Clinton Supreme Court nominee. If Republicans “stonewall,” then a “Democratic Senate majority will say we’re not going to let you thwart the law,” he declared in October. Incoming Senate Democratic leader Chuck Schumer is now regretting that belligerence, and insisting that the Supreme Court filibuster is inviolate, and that his party never did kill it, you know, and that should count for something, and . . . blah, blah, regrets.
It would be hard to stall the confirmation process, at least after Minnesota Sen. Amy Klobuchar’s regretful September news conference, the one where she stood tall and hit Republicans for refusing to confirm Mr. Obama’s end-of-the-road nominee, Merrick Garland. “This is not just some TV show [like] ‘Eight is Enough.’ Eight is not enough on the United States Supreme Court,” she railed. She’s joined in regret by the activists behind those trendy Twitter campaigns: #weneednine. #doyourjob. Bring on Mr. Trump’s own Tweetbomb: #likeyousaid.
Mr. Schumer is also regretting those dozen interviews before the election, the ones he gave as he measured his majority-leader office curtains. He explained to Politico that his party was on the verge of electoral dominance and that this meant it would have “a mandate.” He elsewhere warned all those mulish Republicans that they’d have an obligation to work with his world-dominant party. “If we’re gridlocked for another four years, the anger and sourness in the land will make that of 2016 seem tame,” he lectured.
Some might describe electoral dominance as owning the White House, and the Senate, and the House, and 33 governorships and 68 (of 98) state legislative chambers. But Mr. Schumer now regrets his definition. In a recent ABC News story, he said Mr. Trump’s victory is “not a mandate” and that his Democratic Party remains free to “go after him tooth and nail.”
At least 11 senators, led by Oregon’s Jeff Merkley would appear to regret staying silent while Mr. Reid pioneered the art of hateful speech—routinely calling opponents un-American, tax cheats, liars, losers, tools, first-class rats, and embarrassments. How else to read the senators’ recent letter to Mr. Trump complaining that he’s a big meanie? Meanies do as meanies see, and Mr. Merkley never said a peep as Mr. Reid set a new low standard for public behavior.
House Democrats, those with a brain, now regret that they didn’t can Nancy Pelosi when they could—say, back in 2010. After the liberal Mrs. Pelosi was this week elected leader again, in a rout, Arizona Rep. Kyrsten Sinema complained, and not in a shy way, that her party was doubling down on its “failed strategy of recent years.” But Ms. Sinema did nothing two years ago when Mrs. Pelosi ran unopposed after her third-straight House loss.
The entire Democratic Party is regretting its call for masses of infrastructure, now that there are indications Mr. Trump won’t do it their way. It is regretting it refused to work with Republicans on important bills, now that it’s not likely to get asked.
More than a few Democrats are regretting listening to that piper of the alt-left, Sen. Elizabeth Warren, who danced them into indefensible voting records. That regret was on display this week when—despite Ms. Warren having railed against a medical-innovation bill as a giveaway to Big Pharma that made her “gag”—every member of her Massachusetts delegation voted with House Republicans to pass it. In fact, 174 Democrats ignored Ms. Warren.
Let’s hope that’s because now—as the end is near, as Mr. Obama faces his final curtain—at least some have had their share (and fill) of losing. Maybe “my way” wasn’t so smart after all.