Nuclear games: Harry Reid unites the GOP, declares war

Harry Reid may have won the battle, but he is risking all out war. Photo: Harry Reid / Associated Press

WASHINGTON, November 25, 2013 — If Billy Joel’s epic historical hit “We Didn’t Start the Fire” was extended to 2013, the events of the last week would certainly merit inclusion. On the domestic front, Harry Reid and the Democrats, in a move hailed by President Obama, changed the rules on filibustering Presidential judicial appointments. And in World news, John Kerry and leaders of the UN Security Council are high fiving each other and calling each other “bro” over their “victorious” dealings with the Iranian government.

President Obama and his allies take the nuclear option away from the Republicans, and give it to Iran.

However, it may leave him and the Democratic party weaker than ever and lead to a long lame duck session which will go a long way towards souring the legacy of President Obama.

The GOP was in state of civil war, and in many ways still is. All over the country and in Congress, Establishment Republicans looked down at their Tea Party colleagues and challengers as though they were second class conservatives. Tea Party members planned challenges to sitting Republican legislators while the GOP made it clear that Chris Christie in New Jersey was the type of Republican they would support, over Ken Cuccinelli in Virginia. They were doing a fine job of making the party look like a bunch of petulant children.

But this move by Reid could change all of that.

Harry Reid has just provided the Tea Party and Establishment GOP with a common enemy. The “nuclear option” as it is called of doing away with the higher voting requirements to break filibusters on Presidential judicial appointments was an aspect of Senate regulation which both factions within the Republican Party held sacred, as did also a few Democrats. It was not long ago, in 2005, that the Republican-controlled Congress threatened the same nuclear option, but ultimately chose to negotiate instead of nullifying the minority voice in the Senate.

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As many have said, it will come back to haunt them, but it may haunt them sooner than most think.

Harry Reid has distracted the GOP from their own splendid little war, and brought their collective focus and hatred down upon the heads of the DNC.

What could possibly go wrong with that plan? The GOP is outnumbered in the Senate, the White House is under Democratic control, and the House is seen as incompetent and uncooperative by many in the nation.

The problem is that the DNC and Republican Establishment had the Tea Party on the ropes. Hated and outcast by their own party, the Tea Partiers would continue to exist on the fringe of their own parent organization until mid-term elections either made them or broke them.

But no.

Harry Reid had to pull his nuclear option, and now the GOP factions have a common enemy. Now the Establishment and Tea Party will be forced to work together to fight for survival. They have already worked together to fight against the motion to drop their own “Fat Boy” on the Senate.

Harry Reid forced the Tea Party and the Establishment to work together, his intent may have been to fracture them further by creating more situations in which the two factions could disagree. However, what it probably did was provide the Republican factions a reason to turn their swords from each other and onto the Democrats. While Harry Reid may have used the nuclear option to force surrender or compliance, it may have instead inspired only a combined resistance.

So now the Senate GOP’ers are more united than they have been since before the shut-down, their power in the Senate severely diminished by these rule changes they are forced to huddle together for survival.

The deal with Iran is the first big test of the GOPs newfound “we are all one big happy conservative family” allegiance.

In an attempt by the Obama Administration to score points with the International community and put a notch in the President’s dusty win column, Secretary of State Kerry was dispatched to solidify a deal to halt the progression of Iran’s nuclear energy and weapons development. Iran is under heavy sanctions from many western nations, and their economy has suffered greatly as a result, despite the fact that it sits on top of countless barrels of that black stuff that the World runs on.

Iran has claimed for years that they are only developing their nuclear energy capabilities for peaceful reasons. It seems odd that a country drowning in oil would be looking at nuclear reactors to supply energy.

It is, of course, the right of every sovereign nation to develop energy solutions in a peaceful manner. However, it is also the right of other nations to be suspicious when your particular nation is filled with radical Muslims who have sworn to wipe Israel and the United States off the map. But by all means, oh wise Global powers, do not peak behind the curtain that says “Peaceful” Nuclear Program and question any deeper. Do not demand that they destroy all equipment related to the weaponization of nuclear materials, do not increase sanctions against a radical, totalitarian regime that supports Hamas and Hezbollah, and by all means believe that you have the stomach to retaliate against Iran if they break these rules that you have set for them. But by the time they do break them, they will already have gotten away with billions of dollars, and a 3% growth in their currency. They have accomplished all of this by simply agreeing to talk.

Sen. Reid will more likely face a single party mind in opposition to the Iran deal instead of finding some of the more center leaning Republicans defecting to the Democratic camp. Republicans are more than happy to torpedo this deal which would take a win out of the win column for the Obama Administration while simultaneously strengthening ties among Republicans. In addition, because of the disastrous fallout of Obamacare and the lies and scandal surrounding it, many dismayed Democrats with upcoming elections will see this deal as an opportunity to defect from the Obama Camp and begin distancing themselves from what many believe to be a sinking ship.

So, not only has the GOP been given a common enemy, but some of that enemy is defecting, at least on this issue. And it will not be surprising if President Obama and his allies find themselves increasingly isolated from a Congress that is reeling from the impact of plummeting approval ratings, polling data, and terrible legislation.

Harry Reid and President Obama may have won a battle in going nuclear on the Senate floor, but it may have been at the expense of the war. 


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Conor Higgins

Conor Higgins has a B.A. from Catholic University in DC in American History, with a concentration on guerrilla warfare on American soil. He has an M.A. in US History from George Mason University in Fairfax, VA, with a concentration on Cold War insurgency. He believes that all news and all information should be taken with a grain of salt, and implores people everywhere to seek news stories everywhere. 

Higgins is also a fervent believer in the traditional role of media, in terms of acting as a balanced check on government policies and individuals regardless of party affiliation. But in the end, he believes that no matter how heated an issue is, there is nothing that can't be discussed over a smoke and some whiskey. 

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