On Judge Gorsuch vote, go nuclear. Democrats have it coming.
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Much is being written and there is much hand-wringing over the idea of the use of the so-called "nuclear option" in the pending vote on Judge Neil Gorsuch's elevation to the Supreme Court.  Is this the end of the Senate as we know it, or just the logical extension of the "Reid Rule" whereby Sen. Harry ReidHarry ReidBill O'Reilly: Politics helped kill Kate Steinle, Zarate just pulled the trigger Tax reform is nightmare Déjà vu for Puerto Rico Ex-Obama and Reid staffers: McConnell would pretend to be busy to avoid meeting with Obama MORE and the then majority Democrats abolished the filibuster for many federal appointees, including judges, with the exception of the Supreme Court?  And most importantly, what do the conservative grassroots think about the "Nuclear Option?"

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In short, the grassroots are excitedly counting down to the launch.  They are making fresh popcorn, snuggling up with their families in front of the big screen television and they are ready to enjoy the meltdown of the Democrats.  "Five, four, three, two, one..." Boom.  Let the entertainment and the merrymaking begin; we'll make our popcorn in the afterglow.  

 

This is not just about the Supreme Court.  This is about political power, and the importance of its rational use.  And it's also about payback.  Part of the balance in our political system comes from the idea that if the party in power does bad things with that power, eventually the other party will do the same when it returns to power.  For a long time, under the leadership of Sen. Harry Reid, the Democratic Party abused its power in the Senate.  They worked hard to silence the opposition, in so many ways.  

It's important to remember, the rule change that put the nuclear option on the center of the table came from the Democrats at a time when they were in control, and they didn't like the minority Senate Republicans having any ability to muck up the works with the filibuster of nominees.  So they changed the rules.  

They were warned by many at the time that the Republicans would some day be in charge, and would have the same power, and possibly even more.  They were warned about the precedent they were setting.  But the Democrats charged ahead with reckless abandon, and it appears that the Republicans remembered, and are about to return the favor.  The grassroots couldn't be more pleased.

While the Democrats have a long history of using their power aggressively, Republicans, much to the chagrin of the grassroots have a long history of not returning the favor.  They seem to forget what the Democrats did to them when they controlled the levers of power.  

To take just the most recent example, there has been much consternation among Republicans about what does or does not fall within the process of "reconciliation" according to the Senate rules and the parliamentarian.  Categorizing something as falling within the reconciliation process allows for a filibuster-free, up or down vote.  The parliamentarian serves at the pleasure of the Senate and is there to provide "advice and guidance" to the "presiding officer."  

There is no rule that requires the presiding officer to accept that advice and guidance.  Yet rather than make a simple parliamentary determination that would allow many of the fixes their base wants on health care, the Republicans crow about the difficulties with the parliamentarian.  They never even presented anything to the parliamentarian for review.  

This kind of behavior by Republicans constitutes preemptive surrender.  Democrats would never behave in this manner, and managed to ram all of ObamaCare through on reconciliation.  Why the difficulty now, when Republicans are in charge?  The Republicans are in the majority in the Senate it's time they act like it.  

Republicans in the Senate also often seem in denial of the fact that Democrats will use their power over the rules to stifle opposition if and when they ever regain the majority (which history tells us they will do).  While Republican leaders in D.C. often seem to forget past Democratic behavior, the conservative grassroots do not.  So, today, the grassroots are ready, and excited, to see the Democrats have to live under the political reality that Sen. Harry Reid created during his tenure as the Majority Leader in the Senate.  

It is time for the Republicans in Congress to act like the majority, and do what must be done to confirm an eminently qualified man, Judge Neil Gorsuch, to the Supreme Court.  If the Democrats want to self-immolate by filibustering and thus forcing the nuclear option, so be it.  The grassroots are ready to watch and enjoy.  I can smell the butter and popcorn already.

Mark Meckler is the president of Citizens for Self-Governance, founder of the Convention of States Project, and a leading constitutional grassroots activist.


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