In my new piece I interview Sen. Jeff Merkley, one of the leaders of the Democrats’ filibuster reform plan. He’s convinced – as are a bunch of independent campaigners – that Republican threats to block basically everyone Obama nominates are going to give the reformers the last votes they need.
“It’s only really now dawning on folks what the strategy is,” Merkley said. “If we can turn back the clock to the Susan Rice nomination, a lot of people said: ‘Oh, that’s just maneuvering by Republicans to get John Kerry instead and give Scott Brown a chance to come back here.’ With Jack Lew and Chuck Hagel, it becomes so much more apparent that this wasn’t a strategy aimed at one Senate seat.”
I tie this into something I refer to, unimaginatively, as The New Democratic Chutzpah. From the briefing rooms where administration flacks won’t rule out the Platinum Coin to the House where the de-Blue-Dogged-Democrats refuse to provide any cover for Republican bills to the filibuster, the strategy seems to be breaking Republicans.