Democrats Still Uneasy Over Playing Political Hardball

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Republicans, as we know, have promised to block Richard Cordray as head of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. This isn’t because they have anything in particular against Cordray. They’ve promised to block anyone unless Democrats agree to changes that would essentially make the CFPB toothless. They’ve done the same for nominees to the National Labor Relations Board. The CFPB can’t legally operate without a director, and the NLRB can’t legally operate without a quorum, so, as Adam Serwer puts it, this is essentially a way to nullify a pair of agencies they happen to dislike “through procedural extortion.”

Dave Weigel is puzzled. “I continue to ask why Democrats didn’t get concessions on a few nominees in exchange for the filibuster punt,” he writes today. Unfortunately, I think the answer isn’t hard to find: Harry Reid didn’t have the votes for filibuster reform and Mitch McConnell knew it. What’s more, Reid himself didn’t seem to have the stomach for a filibuster fight in the first place. If Reid had demanded action on the CFPB and the NLRB, McConnell would have just laughed it off. It would have been a bluff and he knew it.

Democrats could have gotten more out of this. They could have gotten real filibuster reform, or, failing that, at least some concessions in return for a compromise. But they chickened out. Even after winning the fiscal cliff battle, and then forcing Republicans to back down over the debt ceiling, Dems still didn’t understand the value of playing hardball. It was an opportunity missed.

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Truth #1: The chaos is the point.

Truth #2: Team Reality is bigger than it seems.

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SIX TRUTHS

Reclaiming power from those who abuse it often starts with telling the truth. And in "This Is How Authoritarians Get Defeated," MoJo's Monika Bauerlein unpacks six truths to remember during the homestretch of an election where democracy, truth, and decency are on the line.

Truth #1: The chaos is the point.

Truth #2: Team Reality is bigger than it seems.

Truth #3: Facebook owns this.

Truth #4: When we go to work, we're in the fight.

Truth #5: It's about minority rule.

Truth #6: The only thing that can save us is…us.

Please take a moment to see how all these truths add up, because what happens in the weeks and months ahead will reverberate for at least a generation and we better be prepared.

And if you think journalism like Mother Jones'—that calls it like it is, that will never acquiesce to power, that looks where others don't—can help guide us through this historic, high-stakes moment, and you're able to right now, please help us reach our $350,000 goal by October 31 with a donation today. It's all hands on deck for democracy.

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