It's long past time to get rid of the debt ceiling, and the McConnell-Obama plan is as good a way as any to do it. It gives lawmakers more than a chance to avoid the fiscal cliff. It gives them a chance to end America's flirtations with fiscal suicide.
Harry Reid's proposed filibuster reforms are quite modest. If they pass wholesale, the 60-vote supermajority requirement will remain unchanged. So why's McConnell so steamed? I've asked Senate staff this question, and I've gotten, in general, three answers.
By driving Arlen Specter out of the Republican Party and pushing pure conservatives over more electable Republican candidates, the Tea Party gave Senate Democrats the majorities they needed to pass and protect the key accomplishments of Obama's presidency.
In endorsement after endorsement, the basic argument is that President Obama hasn't been able to persuade House or Senate Republicans to work with him. If Obama is re-elected, it's a safe bet that they'll continue to refuse to work with him. So vote Romney!
One funny thing about the Senate's vote last night to extend the Bush tax cuts for income under $250,000: it was a vote of the Senate. Usually, taxing and spending bills originate in the House because of the "origination clause" in Article I of the Constitution. So Republicans think the bill's Senate origins mean it cannot become law.