Me, in June, on concerns that temporarily losing the New Jersey seat might prevent Democrats from doing Senate reform:
I don't question [this] reporting -- that is, I'm sure that Democrats are saying what he reports they're saying -- but I don't really believe it. I continue to believe it's highly unlikely that the Democrats will act unless they're very close to being unanimous. One defection, maybe; two, perhaps; more, and I don't think anything happens.I made this point multiple times: Harry Reid wasn't going to act with 51, or if Joe Biden was needed to break a 50-50 tie.
And yesterday, the account of how the deal was made:
Meanwhile, Reid continued to pick up support for the nuclear option from the few Democratic holdouts, including Sens. Mark Pryor (Ark.), Max Baucus (Mont.) and Joe Donnelly (Ind.). Pryor emailed Reid over the weekend to say that he'd be with him if it came to a showdown, and Baucus, who hadn't previously supported going nuclear, said on Tuesday that he would have been with Reid if it had come to a vote. That left Sen. Carl Levin (D-Mich.) as the lone resister.So Reid had 53 votes, with just the one defection. Called it!
Granted: it's certainly possible that the whole thing was a bluff, and Pryor, Baucus, and Donnelly (and perhaps even others) really were just going along with the bluff. It's also possible that the last several votes Reid had were conditional...they were willing to go nuclear only if some particular Republican obstacle couldn't be overcome (although given that it was basically a surrender, that doesn't seem especially likely at this point). And yes, just because he didn't go ahead with 50 or 51 doesn't prove he could not have.
But don't you believe it. Pretty much Reid wasn't going to go ahead unless he had almost all of the caucus with him...and at any rate, the last ten or so votes all probably fell together, with a very good chance that Reid's himself was one of them.
OK, enough with tooting my horn. Want a larger point? Just the old Bill James one. Sometimes, you can see more from outside than you can from inside.