The Corner

Eyeing Nuclear Response, Senate GOP Fears Playing into Reid’s Hands

Harry Reid may have detonated a nuclear bomb, but Senate Republicans don’t want a war if it would distract from the disastrous Obamacare rollout, senior GOP aides say.

The importance of keeping Obamacare front-and-center is dominating the internal discussion of how to respond to Reid’s unprecedented decision to abruptly end the filibuster for nominations with a bare-majority vote. It also explains why Minority Leader Mitch McConnell was relatively muted in his response, telling reporters, “I don’t think this is a time to be talking about reprisal. I think it’s a time to be sad about what’s been done to the United States Senate.”

“Our guys know that Obamacare is what Dems want to run from; we don’t want to help them,” says a senior GOP leadership aide. 

That’s not to say there hasn’t been any response. Typically ahead of a recess, senators conduct a flurry of left-over business via unanimous consent as senators leave town. Last night, nothing was agreed to.

But high-profile retaliatory strikes are unlikely to happen because Republicans believe it would play right into Reid’s hands, taking Obamacare from the front-pages of newspapers. “Retaliation is exactly what Reid is hoping for,” says one GOP aide.

McConnell and other top Republicans hinted at the approach yesterday in comparing Reid’s bare-knuckle tactics with how Democrats passed Obamacare through Congress.

“It is impossible to change the subject away from Obamacare. Reid is not that good,” adds a former McConnell staffer.

The approach is not without critics. Matt Hoskins, executive director of the Senate Conservatives Fund, a political action committee helping McConnell’s primary candidate, criticized McConnell’s response in an e-mail to his group’s members.

“The only way to deter a nuclear attack is to make it clear that the response will be equally devastating,” Hoskins wrote. A McConnell spokeswoman retorted that Hoskins’s argument was “stupid.”

One looming question is whether Reid will move to kill the filibuster for legislation, as well.

On that issue, Republicans are of different minds. One senior aide says, “I don’t think people would be surprised by anything Reid did at this point,” while others suspect Senate Democrats are already having second thoughts about how a post-nuclear Senate will operate.  

Most Popular

Politics & Policy

Students’ Anti-Gun Views

Are children innocents or are they leaders? Are teenagers fully autonomous decision-makers, or are they lumps of mental clay, still being molded by unfolding brain development? The Left seems to have a particularly hard time deciding these days. Take, for example, the high-school students from Parkland, ... Read More
PC Culture

Kill Chic

We live in a society in which gratuitous violence is the trademark of video games, movies, and popular music. Kill this, shoot that in repugnant detail becomes a race to the visual and spoken bottom. We have gone from Sam Peckinpah’s realistic portrayal of violent death to a gory ritual of metal ripping ... Read More
Elections

Romney Is a Misfit for America

Mitt’s back. The former governor of Massachusetts and occasional native son of Michigan has a new persona: Mr. Utah. He’s going to bring Utah conservatism to the whole Republican party and to the country at large. Wholesome, efficient, industrious, faithful. “Utah has a lot to teach the politicians in ... Read More
Law & the Courts

What the Second Amendment Means Today

The horrifying school massacre in Parkland, Fla., has prompted another national debate about guns. Unfortunately, it seems that these conversations are never terribly constructive — they are too often dominated by screeching extremists on both sides of the aisle and armchair pundits who offer sweeping opinions ... Read More
U.S.

Fire the FBI Chief

American government is supposed to look and sound like George Washington. What it actually looks and sounds like is Henry Hill from Goodfellas: bad suit, hand out, intoning the eternal mantra: “F*** you, pay me.” American government mostly works by interposition, standing between us, the free people at ... Read More
Film & TV

Black Panther’s Circle of Hype

The Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) first infantilizes its audience, then banalizes it, and, finally, controls it through marketing. This commercial strategy, geared toward adolescents of all ages, resembles the Democratic party’s political manipulation of black Americans, targeting that audience through its ... Read More