Robert Reich falsely claims Mitch McConnell destroying Senate with democracy

Former Labor Secretary Robert Reich says that Republican Majority Leader Mitch McConnell is destroying the Senate and by extension, the American government. 

Reich makes his case in an article for the left-wing Guardian outlet.  In it Reich focuses on democracy and “democratic norms” and falsely claims McConnell is set to do away with all that.

What gets Reich all riled up over McConnell is his suspension of filibuster rules regarding judicial nominations, a.k.a., the “nuclear option.” That is to say, when a  majority vote in favor of a nomination is cast, the minority party won’t be able to filibuster the vote ensuring affirmation by democratic means.

So lets sum up Reich’s claim. McConnell will destroy the Senate by making it more democratic. In all democratic bodies in the universe, the US Senate is set apart from the rest where the majority vote doesn’t count due to a minority filibuster. Is that really democratic?

Reich reaches for high hyperbole by saying, “No person has done more in living memory to undermine the functioning of the US government than the Senate majority leader, Mitch McConnell….McConnell is actively and willfully destroying the Senate.” The filibuster is not a built-in feature of the US Senate and the body got along without it for most of its history. Yet to Reich it’s central to the chamber and doing away with it, although in a limited capacity, is tantamount do “destroying our democracy”.

Reich uses the word “norm” as in “norms of our democracy” to give cover to a rule that is anything but democratic. He writes a short explanation of how and when McConnell limited the filibuster, then he claims:

Step by step, McConnell has sacrificed the Senate as an institution to partisan political victories.

There is a vast difference between winning at politics by playing according to the norms of our democracy, and winning by subverting those norms.

Is it a “norm” for a democratically elected majority to not win through democratic means because the minority doesn’t like the outcome? Sure, McConnell wants to win but shouldn’t he  in favor of a “democratic norm” that explicitly nullifies the democratic process?

To be fair, Reich doesn’t actually believe in any of this hypocritical nonsense. His side is losing and that’s what upsets him. He never made mention of Harry Reid, the Democrat majority leader during the Obama years, doing the exact same thing regarding judicial nominations of that president’s administration. I can look it up but I won’t because Reich just isn’t worth the trouble but I’d bet gazillions that Reich was very much okay with it. 


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