Mitch McConnell

Confirmed: Harry Reid runs the Senate like a dictator

Harry Reid

Harry Reid is running the Senate with an iron fist, and Republicans and Congressional historians are taking note. The Hill published an article titled “An imperial majority leader?” and dug back several decades to compare the leadership styles of Harry Reid and his predecessors.

Historians suggest that Harry Reid’s grip on the Senate is even stronger than Lyndon B. Johnson’s, who’s nickname became “master of the Senate”:

Reid’s tight leadership reins have protected vulnerable Democrats from having to take tough votes and helped them amass a 55-seat majority. He routinely puts legislation on the floor as a take-it-or-leave-it proposition, denying the minority and even members of his own caucus the chance to amend it.

Republicans point out they were allowed to vote on only nine of their proposed amendments since July of last year.

Parliamentary experts say Reid has managed the floor debate much more strictly than his predecessors.

“Sen. Reid has actively assumed the role far in excess of that assumed by previous majority leaders. That is to be a traffic cop over the amendment process either to police amendments by allowing those he deems acceptable for consideration by the Senate or to bar amendments altogether,” said Martin Gold, an expert on congressional procedure who served former Senate Majority Leaders Howard Baker (R-Tenn.) and Bill Frist (R-Tenn.).

“He has engaged in that practice more than twice as frequently as all previous majority leaders combined,” Gold said.

Today in Liberty: Let’s Stand With Rand against drone strikes, Harry Reid threatens to go nuclear again

“People must fight for something that they want to achieve, not simply reject an evil, however bad it may be.” - Ludwig von Mises

— McConnell wins renomination in Kentucky: Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) took 60.2 percent of the vote over conservative primary challenger Matt Bevin. “The tough race is behind us; it’s time to unite,” McConnell said last night. “To my opponent’s supporters, I hope you will join me in the months ahead and know that your fight is my fight.” Conservative groups that backed Bevin got behind McConnell before he uttered those words. FreedomWorks, for example, sent a statement calling for unity that landed in our inbox at 7:31 pm, not long after the media called the race for McConnell and before he gave his remarks. “Matt Bevin’s principled challenge helped Senator McConnell rediscover his conservative principles come November,” FreedomWorks President Matt Kibbe said. “Competition always breeds stronger candidates, and there is an improved conservative candidate heading into the general election as a result.” Likewise, Erick Erickson, editor of RedState, tweeted this before polls in Kentucky closed.

Today in Liberty: NSA reform at front and center of American politics, GOP Senate candidates won’t back McConnell

“The human race divides politically into those who want people to be controlled and those who have no such desire.” —  Robert A. Heinlein

— House could take up the USA FREEDOM Act this week: The Washington Examiner reports this morning that House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-VA) has “tentatively placed” the USA FREEDOM Act on the calendar for consideration this week. The weekly floor schedule notes that the bill is “subject to a rule,” which means that amendments could be limited and vetted by the House Rules Committee in advance. The USA FREEDOM Act is the best of the reform proposals introduced in recent weeks. Normally we’d use the “it’s happening” gif to express our glee, but we have a story about the latest developments on this issue later today that is causing us to hold back.

Today in Liberty: Tea Party picks up a Senate seat, Obama’s war on coal to hit consumers

“President Obama won the youth vote 3 to 1, but I don’t think he’s got a permanent hold on the youth vote. I think if we bring to them that message, that ‘You know what? What you do on your cell phone is none of the government’s damn business.’” — Rand Paul

— Ben Sasse, Tea Party win in Nebraska: Ben Sasse took 49.4 percent of the vote in the Nebraska Republican Senate primary, easily defeating Sid Dinsdale and Shane Obsorn. Sasse was backed by big-name conservative and Tea Party groups, while Osborn had the quiet backing of the Republican establishment. “Congratulations to Ben Sasse on his victory tonight in Nebraska. Ben is a problem solver who will be a conservative voice in our effort to repeal ObamaCare and bring much needed fiscal sanity to the Senate,” said NRSC Chairman Sen. Jerry Moran (R-KS). “Ben Sasse is a results-oriented leader whom I know will fight for Nebraska and be a great advocate for the Cornhusker State in the Senate. I look forward to working alongside of Ben in the Senate next year in a Republican majority.” Club for Growth President Chris Chocola hailed Sasse as a champion of economic liberty, noting that he “won a hard-fought primary by building his campaign on the simple idea that ObamaCare is a disaster that needs to be repealed,” adding that “Ben clearly articulated a conservative vision to Nebraska voters who rewarded him with their votes.”

Demoralized Dems key to 2014 Republican victory

Gallup Enthusiasm Gap

Pundits are already giving Republicans an electoral edge over Democrats in the 2014 midterm elections. FiveThirtyEight’s Nate Silver predicted in March that Republicans would win six seats in the Senate and capture control of the upper chamber this November, and Larry Sabato holds that Republicans will increase their majority in the House by five to eight seats.

A Gallup poll released yesterday seems to strengthen these predictions. Democrat enthusiasm is at a record low with 32% of Democrats more enthusiastic about 2014 and 55% less enthusiastic, a deficit of 23 points. Overall voter enthusiasm is down significantly from the 2010 midterms, with only 35% of all respondents more enthusiastic about the 2014 elections and 53% who are less enthusiastic, an 18-point deficit.

Despite what Rand Paul feels as a coming “wave election,” Republicans haven’t been spared in the enthusiasm gap. Gallup reveals that “42% of Republicans and Republican-leaning independents currently say they are more enthusiastic than usual about voting, while 50% are less enthusiastic, resulting in an eight-point enthusiasm deficit.”


Sickening: Group with ties to Mitch McConnell attacks conservative candidate’s family

Sasse Screengrab

Over at the Weekly Standard, Mark Hemingway raises the red flag on an ad that seems to attack a candidate’s family. Freedom Pioneers Action Network, a SuperPAC whose Treasurer is Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell’s former campaign manager, released the following ad:

Hemingway suggests the ad does something that’s “normally considered out of bounds” for political attack ads by showing a clip from this ad featuring Ben Sasse’s two daughters. He also the quote used is taken completely out of context, and the newspaper to which the quote is attributed agrees:

In another case, our reporting of the conference does contain a portion of a quote from Mr. Sasse that uses the words “an important first step.” …

Back to the Future: Mitch McConnell edition

 "It's Time for New Leadership in Washington"

As a political junkie, I like good campaign ads. Matt Bevin, who is challenging Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell in the Republican primary in Kentucky, is out with a powerful new ad that reminds voters how Senator McConnell originally made his way to Washington.

Using McConnell’s own words from 1984, Bevin reminds voters McConnell charged Walter “Dee” Huddleston, his incumbent opponent:

“The Kentucky Senior Senator voted 20 times since he’s been there for spending money that we didn’t have. In other words, increasing the debt ceiling or for budget deficits.

“And now as we move toward the election year, he complains about the deficits and acts like a fiscal conservative. We’re all suffering. And our future as Kentuckians depend on obviously people like our Senator, who has let us down.

Today in Liberty: Harry Reid is the new Nancy Pelosi, taxpayers subsidize state-owned businesses

Today in Liberty is a daily roundup of recent political news and other interesting stories presented with liberty-minded commentary. We frequently keep tabs on liberty-minded politicians and candidates in these updates. We also inject some humor on occasion. Click here to receive Today in Liberty every weekday morning via email.

— Harry Reid is the new hotness: The Senate majority leader is the villain in this year’s mid-term election, in case you haven’t already noticed, and he’s one that can be used in both House and Senate races. “A GOP strategist said Pelosi is still No. 2 on the list of liberal villains that scare conservative donors into action, after President Obama. But others say Reid has become a more compelling bogeyman,” The Hill explains. “The main reason? Pelosi no longer runs the House after the GOP reclaimed the lower chamber in 2010. Republicans have been unable to strip Reid of his majority leader title, but they think this will be the year they do that.”

— Al Gore is still around: And he’s stull super serial about climate change. After three  pretentious opening paragraphs, Politico Magazine catches us up on what former Vice President Al Gore is doing these days and his frustrations with the lack of action on climate change. Basically, big money and the Koch brothers are blamed. Oh, and when asked if he’ll run for president again, Gore said this: “I am a recovering politician. And the longer I avoid a relapse the more confidence that I will not succumb to the temptation to run yet again. But I’m a recovering politician. I’ll just leave it at that.”

Keystone XL delay puts Democratic Party ahead of national interest

Barack Obama

The State Department announced on Friday afternoon that it will extend the review period on the proposed northern route of the Keystone XL oil pipeline, citing “on-going litigation in the Nebraska Supreme Court which could ultimately affect the pipeline route in that state.”

“The agency consultation process is not starting over. The process is ongoing, and the Department and relevant agencies are actively continuing their work in assessing the Permit application,” the State Department stated in the release, adding that it “will give the agencies sufficient time to submit their views.”

The State Department and other federal agencies are determining whether the TransCananda-backed Keystone XL pipeline is in the United States’ “national interest.” The new northern route, proposed after President Barack Obama rejected the original track, was submitted in September 2012.

The State Department didn’t give any indication of how long agencies need to assess Keystone XL, which has already been extensively studied. State recently concluded that pipeline would have little impact on the environment, also noting that alternatives would result in higher carbon emissions.

Some observers have already surmised that a decision on the pipeline may not come until after the 2014 mid-term election.

Today in Liberty: House to vote on Ryan budget, Second Amendment hero passes away

“Don’t hurt people, and don’t take their stuff. That’s it, in a nutshell. Everyone should be free to live their lives as they think best, free from meddling by politicians and government bureaucrats, as long as they don’t hurt other people, or take other people’s stuff.”Matt Kibbe

— White House suggests amendment to limit free speech: While Shaun McCutcheon was touting last week’s big win for the First Amendment, White House Adviser Dan Pfeiffer preached doom and gloom, suggesting that a constitutional amendment to limit free speech “may be the only option” to undo recent court rulings.

The views and opinions expressed by individual authors are not necessarily those of other authors, advertisers, developers or editors at United Liberty.