A Curious Bystander

Megan Chrisler, Staff Writer

After the Republicans put their money where their mouth was with the government shutdown, the Democrats in the Senate followed suit with changing the filibuster rules. The change lets President Barack Obama have an easier time of appointing nominees, nominees that will probably be Democrats. Both parties have been threatening the “nuclear option” for awhile, but last-minute turn arounds always saved the day.

“The American people are sick of this. We’re sick of it,” Senate majority leader Harry Reid said about Republican obstructionism. “Is it any wonder how people look at Congress? So as I said a little while ago, enough is enough.” If I didn’t know better, I would have said this was Speaker of the House John Boehner talking after the government shutdown.

The act itself isn’t so bad. So Obama gets some of his nominees in judicial positions? They’ll probably be Democratic, but they won’t be inadequate at their jobs. And if there was no nuclear option, so what if some positions aren’t filled? We had a bunch of government positions unfilled in October, and that wasn’t completely catastrophic. And it’s not like Republicans wouldn’t do this if they were in power; in fact, they threatened to do it in 2005 when they held Senate majority (and, of course, Democrats were furious).

But this isn’t about making Congress work better. If it was, Republicans wouldn’t have their panties in a bunch. This is an open statement of partisanship in Washington, adding to the already humongous impasse. The rule was put in place for a reason: to give the system a check and balance so that presidents weren’t filling their administrations with people from one party. The fact that the rule is being changed alludes to people in power wanting more power, proven by the fact that there were only three Democrats who didn’t vote for this.

But I thought Democrats were the reasonable, compromising ones?

The truth is, no one in Washington is reasonable or compromising. They all want to win a game that is getting too serious (don’t tell me Republicans wouldn’t do the same thing if they were in charge). Changing the filibuster rule isn’t a big deal; continuing to work against each other is. As Republican Sen. Rand Paul said, “It doesn’t make for a very healthy or helpful environment.”