Last night this was reported on Lawrence O'Donnells show, and I believe it is worth mentioning again. Here is some of the transcript:
“Harry Reid, who every day does much more than most people in the news media realize, and definitely accomplishes much more than the news media ever reports, pushed through pages and pages of nominations for President Obama yesterday when everyone was focused on what the House would do on the fiscal cliff vote. And Harry Reid did that with the active but invisible help of Mitch McConnell who did his part to make sure that no Republicans would vote against any of those nominations. And what did the United States Senate do today, that dysfunctional United States Senate? According to the news media, absolutely nothing.”
In other words, the Senate functioned. It functioned in a very big way. Not necessarily the best way, but it functioned in doing part of the work it was meant to do: confirm Presidential Nominations The Senate was practically empty and by unanimous consent, over 100 stalled confirmations were approved. You can take a look here
. Having no other senator in the chamber prevented a filibuster which would have entailed a simple objection to any of these nominees.
We may never really know why Mitch McConnell agreed to allow Harry Reid to use this procedural action. It may have been in return for a delayed deal on filibuster reform
. There have been many times that I have criticized Mr. Reid and will no doubt do so in the future. What was illustrated to me last night is that there is a reason why this man is the Senate leader. He may be quiet, but he is indeed a policy wonk. He knows procedures and the inner working of the legislative branch of Congress. There is something to be said about that. There is something to be said about experience and using that experience to make government function.
As O'Donnell pointed out, the media didn't tell people this because the media likes controversy and drama. Sadly, it appears that so do many elected officials. All one has to do is take a look at the actions of House speaker Boehner in the past few weeks (months, years?). Take a look at all of the shenanigans from freshmen representatives in the 111th and 112th congress. It is a classic example of compare and contrast. Harry Reid deserves credit for the quiet thankless work he does -- it is leadership. I'd also like to add that Mitch McConnell does get credit for making something work in this 'do-nothing' Senate. Yes, it pains me to say it. Harry Reid even stepped aside in the budget negotiations to let Vice President/Senator Biden step in.
So for today, let's give the quiet man a big shout out. This is the second lame duck congress the President has had, and with the help of people like Harry Reid, we were able to see historic legislation that also included nominations that are important to the nation, such as federal judicial posts finally being filled. That allows justice to be done. We should not be seeing vacant seats in the judiciary
We have a long way to go with our legislative branch; this week was a good start -- no thanks to those that prefer to see and participate in dysfunction. Saying no all the time is not functioning, it is not governing, it is obstruction. Maybe Mitch McConnell remembered that this week. Let's hope more people do.