He once called the “nuclear option” an “un-American” move that would destroy the Senate and “ruin our country.”
But on Thursday, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid did it anyway. He took the unprecedented step of gutting Senate filibuster rules for presidential nominees on a straight party-line vote, a high-stakes gambit that could have enormous implications for future presidents, reshape an institution he’s served in for 26 years, and ultimately define Reid’s legacy as one of the longest-serving Democratic leaders in history — one with a penchant for bare-knuckled tactics.
On the weekend of Nov. 9, Reid enlisted his top lieutenants, Sens. Chuck Schumer of New York and Dick Durbin of Illinois, to help take the caucus’ temperature. But after several weeks of counting votes, Reid was still encountering skepticism even among his confidants as late as Monday evening. He bucked up his troops ahead of the hugely controversial move.