Harry Reid's Ebolan Roulette.

Specifically, the Surgeon General nomination.  Why is Vivek Murthy’s nomination stalled, again?  Well, as Byron York reminds us it’s primarily because [mc_name name=’Sen. Harry Reid (D-NV)’ chamber=’senate’ mcid=’R000146′ ] wants it stalled:

It would take just 51 of the Senate’s 55 Democrats to confirm Murthy. But that confirmation has not happened. “There is bipartisan opposition, so [Reid] hasn’t even tried to bring him to a vote,” says another senior Senate GOP aide.

Consider this the fallout from Reid’s decision to partially nuke the filibuster (oh, I slay me): [mc_name name=’Sen. Harry Reid (D-NV)’ chamber=’senate’ mcid=’R000146′ ] wanted the judges, and he figured that getting them was worth the embarrassment of having to occasionally scuttle the President’s more embarrassingly awful executive branch nominees. And Murthy is, indeed, embarrassingly awful: back in 2012 he rather infamously declared guns to be a “public health issue” – which is to say, Dr. Murthy wants to use the regulatory aspects of the State to do an end-run around that pesky Constitution thingy and ban guns that way.  Which is why civil rights groups have made their opposition to Dr. Murthy crystal clear – and why [mc_name name=’Sen. Harry Reid (D-NV)’ chamber=’senate’ mcid=’R000146′ ] has allowed Murthy’s nomination to languish in the bowels of the Senate*.

Normally all of that would be an ‘ehh,’ except for three things:

  1. The aforementioned filibuster changes. There are enough Senate Democrats running for reelection who are already quietly frantic about their chances that they don’t need any more headaches right now.  And ticking off the National Rifle Association in an election year counts as a ‘headache.’  Oh, my, yes.
  2. NLRB v. Canning. That particular decision keeps the President from using a pro forma recess to simply appoint Dr. Murthy.  The President could have used the August recess to appoint Murthy, except that he made an agreement with Senate Republicans not to**.
  3. Ebola.  Turns out that we were going to have a public health crisis in October.  Would a Surgeon General be helpful in this situation? I don’t know: maybe yes, maybe no, [mc_name name=’Sen. Harry Reid (D-NV)’ chamber=’senate’ mcid=’R000146′ ] had better hope the answer is ‘No.’

All in all, this is pretty much par for the course when it comes to [mc_name name=’Sen. Harry Reid (D-NV)’ chamber=’senate’ mcid=’R000146′ ]’s insanely dysfunctional way of running a railroad. I am not impressed with Reid’s basic competency, sorry: the Surgeon General mess is emblematic of the way that the Senate Majority Leader lurches from crisis to crisis.  He’s managed to please nobody here, including the people on his own side, and at this point there may not actually be a way to resolve it.  And you can’t even say Well, [mc_name name=’Sen. Harry Reid (D-NV)’ chamber=’senate’ mcid=’R000146′ ]’s just trying to win the election.

I mean, seriously: at this point, is he? – Because if [mc_name name=’Sen. Harry Reid (D-NV)’ chamber=’senate’ mcid=’R000146′ ] really is trying to win, he’s kind of doing it wrong***.

Moe Lane (crosspost)

*Dave Weigel has an entertaining, if not particularly fair-to-Republicans, description of how that happened.  Shorter version: Democratic Senators do not react well to changes in the media environment, particularly when it’s linked to a loss of protective cover.

**Which is why this is [mc_name name=’Sen. Harry Reid (D-NV)’ chamber=’senate’ mcid=’R000146′ ]’s Ebolan Roulette, not Barack Obama’s. I’m going to annoy some people and be fair, here: Barack Obama has the right to have his ridiculous nominees be voted on by the Senate.  It’s [mc_name name=’Sen. Harry Reid (D-NV)’ chamber=’senate’ mcid=’R000146′ ]’s job to get said ridiculous nominees voted on.  The bottleneck in this specific process is all Reid’s fault.

***Two weeks before the election and Democrats don’t listen to me.  It’s safe enough for me to give my opinion on this.