In the hallways of the US Capitol, intrepid visitors can still find scars left behind when the British burned the building to its foundation stones nearly 200 years ago. Today, Democratic Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid is doing his very best to repeat that history. Should he gain his way, Senate rules will be changed, the principle of unlimited debate will be restricted, and a fire will rage in the Senate that will burn for a long time to come.
Despite 30 years of service in Congress, Reid appears oblivious to the implications of the tired phrase “someday the shoe will be on the other foot.” In recent weeks, he has gratuitously insisted that his proposal to limit filibusters would be a broadly welcomed opportunity to improve the efficiency of the “world’s greatest deliberative body.” Seven years ago, however, he sang a very different tune. Fighting for the right to stonewall Bush nominees in 2005, Reid, then the minority leader, called the filibuster “the last check we have against abuse of power.”