While it looks as though he is unlikely to win tomorrow’s presidential election, Mitt Romney shouldn’t expect cooperation from Senate Democrats should he manage to prove all the pollsters wrong. In a statement issued from his office on Friday, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) said that his caucus will not work at all with Romney to pass his “severely conservative” agenda:
“Mitt Romney’s fantasy that Senate Democrats will work with him to pass his ‘severely conservative’ agenda is laughable. In fact, Mitt Romney’s Tea Party agenda has already been rejected in the Senate. In the past few months, we have voted down many of the major policies that Mitt Romney has run on, from the Ryan plan to end Medicare as we know it, to the Blunt Amendment to deny women access to contraception, to more tax giveaways for millionaires and billionaires, to a draconian spending plan that would gut critical services for seniors and the most vulnerable Americans.
“Mitt Romney has demonstrated that he lacks the courage to stand up to the Tea Party, kowtowing to their demands time and again. There is nothing in Mitt Romney’s record to suggest he would act any differently as president. As governor of Massachusetts, he had a terrible relationship with Democrats, cordoning himself off behind a velvet rope instead of reaching out to build relationships. And in the near-decade that Mitt Romney has spent running for president, both his words and his actions have shown that pleasing the far right is more important to him than working across the aisle.
“Senate Democrats are committed to defending the middle class, and we will do everything in our power to defend them against Mitt Romney’s Tea Party agenda.”
Now, Republicans won’t have the votes to pass Romney agenda, barring surprise wins tomorrow night. But there are always members on one side of the aisle or the other that will be willing to crossover on certain issues. Two Senate Democrats who immediately come to mind are Joe Manchin of West Virginia and Mark Pryor of Arkansas, the latter of which will be up for re-election in 2014. There are other Senate Democrats from traditionally red states who may find themselves in a tough spot should the oppose a President Romney, including Mark Begich of Alaska, Max Baucus of Montana, Kay Hagan of North Carolina, and Tim Johnson of South Dakota.
There will not be enough votes to bypass a filibuster, but if Romney should actually follow through on his promise to repeal ObamaCare, Senate Republicans would only need a simple majority through reconciliation and would be able to pickoff at least a couple of Democrats to join them.
There is another aspect to this that needs to be mentioned. Reid has endlessly complained that Senate Republicans have abused the filibuster, a procedural tactic long used in the chamber to block legislation. After the 2010 mid-term, Reid floated changing the rules of the Senate to eliminate the filibuster. And back in May of this year, Reid put eliminating the filibuster back on the table.
So while he’s spent the last four years complaining that Republicans are the “party of ‘no,’” Reid is saying that it’s his party’s intention to do exactly the same thing. Hey, it’s not surprising. This is politics. But the hypocrisy is astounding given the lengths Reid was willing to go to bypass the opposition in the Senate.