November 7, 2004


Top Democrat Will Fight by the Rules: Harry Reid of Nevada, a 'tenacious' insider, lines up support for the job of Senate minority leader. (Mary Curtius, November 7, 2004, LA Times)

After the GOP sweep last week, the only place in town Democrats may still be able to slow or stall President Bush's conservative agenda is in the Senate. And to lead the effort, they're backing a backstage master of parliamentary infighting, Nevada Sen. Harry Reid.

"Reid is a kind of Dickensian figure. He haunts the floor. He's like the hovering spirit of the Democrats," said Ross Baker, a political scientist at Rutgers University who specializes in Congress.

"He is constantly on the alert, waiting for an opportunity to pull some parliamentary sleight of hand."

In the months ahead, Reid will need all that wizardry and more.

The GOP has to rewrite some of those parliamentary rules.

Posted by Orrin Judd at November 7, 2004 9:35 AM

Taking advantage of the rules is not going to be enough. Reid will have to figure out how to keep in line those Demo senators from red states who will constantly be reminded of Mr. Daschle's demise. Somehow, I suspect he will be less than successful.

Posted by: Morrie at November 7, 2004 11:01 AM

Let's not get complacent. It's 55-44-1. Chafee is talking about switching and even if he doesn't he's not a reliable GOP vote. If Specter is denied the Judiciary chairmanship who knows what he will do. And the there are plenty of RINOs (Snowe, Collins) and anti-Bush GOPers (McCain) who could prevent the GOP from stopping Dem filibusters even if a few Dem Senators from red states cross over.

Posted by: AWW at November 7, 2004 12:37 PM

McCain may be "anti-Bush" but he's not stupid. It's easy to stop things when there's a one vote margin, and you are that vote, quite another when you're putting your neck on the line and depending on prima donnas like Link, the Maine Twins and the Senator from Scotland. Unless it has somethng to do with one of his pet causes (of which there are too many, I must admit), all he'd be doing is throwing away all the intra-party groundwork for his '008 run that he's been doing these past 12 months.

Posted by: Raoul Ortega at November 7, 2004 1:16 PM

Except for Strom Thurmond I can't recall a senator switching to a minority party, so I expect Chafee will stay put. If Jeffords knocks, should the Republicans open the door?

Posted by: George at November 7, 2004 3:37 PM
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