Senate Democrats have a number of arguments for keeping themselves in the majority: The war on women. (They believe there is one and are against it.) Impeachment. Republicans are racists. Republicans are obstructionist.


Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) speaks to reporters on Capitol Hill on July 29. (J. Scott Applewhite/Associated Press)

Aside from being entirely made up by Democratic consultants who think Americans are dolts, these “arguments” for the Democrats’ reelection share a common feature. They are all arguments against the Republicans. But what is the argument for the continued reign of Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) and a Democratic majority?

The Senate has not voted on jobs bills sent by the House, any “fix” for Obamacare or a domestic energy development bill. The Senate will not take up a real vote on the Keystone XL pipeline. It will not take up Iran sanctions. It did pass Veterans Affairs legislation and Iron Dome funding, not exactly difficult votes. Other than that, not much of consequence has gone on in the Senate, but not because of Republican objections. The GOP would love to take up many of these subjects, debate them and offer amendments; it is Reid who either won’t take up meaty issues or won’t allow any minority amendments, a practice he has taken further than any modern Senate leader. Speaking to the press on Tuesday, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) said succinctly: “Well, if you look at the last six years, the president and his people, I think, believed they got just about everything they wanted legislatively the first two years.”

In essence, the Senate has become an adjunct of the White House. Reid’s side comes up with no innovative (or even non-innovative) initiatives of its own and doesn’t allow any from the GOP. It changed the Senate rules to rubber-stamp Obama appointees and won’t allow votes on things that will make the White House uncomfortable. It is not that the Senate has been unproductive; that would be an improvement. Rather, it has been counterproductive time and again. It propagates nasty partisanship. “The Senate majority did not want the president to be challenged on anything, which of course leaves him free to pursue his agenda through the bureaucracy, all of whom work for him,” McConnell said. He pointed out, “And of course that serves the president’s purpose because it gives him a Congress to run against and it gives him the freedom of his bureaucrats to pursue his agenda, largely unimpeded by the kind of restrictions on the spending process that Congress would normally write in to appropriation bills if they ever passed them.”

When Democrats demand more problem-solving, they leave out an important step. On “Meet the Press” on Sunday, Sen. John Thune (R-S.D.) observed, “Wages are flat, unemployment’s high, everything from gas to food to health care costs more for the American people. But you can’t address that situation if you don’t vote.” This is not “business as usual” or “the way things work” in Washington. “[W]e went for an entire year where we cast less than one vote on a Republican amendment per month. And in the Harry Reid Senate, that’s become the norm,” said Thune. “It’s become a factory for show votes where votes are made that are more interested in winning votes that are for Democrats in November elections than they are for winning jobs for the American people. And that’s got to change. The Senate’s got to function again. It is dysfunctional.”

It has become somewhat comical. The president says he will have to “go it alone” on the border issues because Congress won’t act. Reid is forcing Obama to act unilaterally on the border crisis? He might as well complain that it’s Congress’s fault that there is no domestic energy bill. (Foiled again by Harry Reid!)

This is one big reason (the unpopular president is another) that Democrats are desperate to make the election about local issues. The more nationalized the election, the more voters will be inclined to sweep the do-nothing Democrats aside. But those local issues and the big major issues aren’t going to be solved so long as Reid thinks his job is to block and tackle for the White House. These very same Democratic senators who now plead for reelection voted him in and keep him there; they are therefore responsible for the current state of affairs. (Frankly, the one thing that might help Democrats would be for Reid to resign before November. We know that’s not going to happen.) So we return to the original question: Why do the Democrats deserve to be reelected and to keep the Senate? Ya got me.

 

 

Jennifer Rubin writes the Right Turn blog for The Post, offering reported opinion from a conservative perspective.