Ed Kilgore worked at the DNC, which makes him a man of sorrow and acquainted with grief when it comes to expecting Democrats to do anything to change the status quo in Congress. So when he starts counting heads for filibuster reform and gets a majority, I begin to think it might happen:
When you go through the list of holdouts, however, the number likely to buck Reid (who has himself reversed his position since the 2011 vote on a very similar Udall/Merkely/Harkin measure) begins to shrink. John Kerry, who has additional reasons to be a team player right now, is “leaning heavily” towards support. Jay Rockefeller says he’d prefer “radical over nothing.” Daniel Inouye’s doubts are only about the “talking filibuster” ban (entirely legitimate doubts, as Jonathan Bernstein keeps pointing out). Diane Feinstein is similarly on board a ban on filibustering motions to proceed. Bill Nelson doesn’t like the “constitutional option,” but says “I’m supporting Harry Reid.” Max Baucus and Jack Reed seem entirely neutral at this point, which makes it unlikely they’d buck Reid and the Caucus and kill reform.
That leaves two Senate Democrats who voted against the 2011 bill and haven’t said anything indicating a change of position: Carl Levin and Mark Pryor. If they and Donnelly wind up being the only holdouts, then Reid would comfortably have the votes without any concessions to bring a Republican or two on board. And you’d figure Levin might be susceptible to some back-home Blue State pressure if push comes to shove.
The Senate is populated by dozens of people who think they should be President, and maybe one or two who actually will, if the cards fall exactly right. The rest express their frustrated will to power by throwing little obstructionist, snot-nosed, red-faced, tear-stained, booger-flinging tantrums that get them on the TV and in the columns of the DC press corpse. Taking away their power to block a vote whenever their mommy or daddy issues are flaring up was always going to be a tough sell. I hope Kilgore is right, but I’m still not expecting meaningful filibuster reform, even though it’s clearly in the Democrats’ best interests.