Live from Music Row Wednesday morning on The Tennessee Star Report with Michael Patrick Leahy – broadcast on Nashville’s Talk Radio 98.3 and 1510 WLAC weekdays from 5:00 a.m. to 8:00 a.m. – host Leahy welcomed Tennessee Star National Correspondent Neil W. McCabe to the newsmakers line to give his predictions on what will happen with the filibuster in the U.S. Senate and a red wave in 2022.
Leahy: We are joined now by our good friend, great colleague, the best Washington reporter in the country Neil McCabe, Washington Correspondent for the Star News Network. Good morning, Neil.
McCabe: Michael, quick question. Michael Patrick, Leahy, is that an ethnic name?
Leahy: (Laughs) Well, Neil McCabe, I will tell you, Michael Patrick Leahy, Neil McCabe, born of Irish, through and through on St. Patrick’s Day.
McCabe: One of the holiest days of the year Michael.
Leahy: There are, I think, a few pub crawls going on in Boston where you’re from, and New York City. And even here in Nashville. What about Washington, D.C.? Who is pub crawling? What are they doing up there with the crazy Democrats now trying to get rid of the filibuster?
McCabe: The pub scene isn’t what it used to be in Washington. But it is interesting about the filibuster because part of the deal that Mitch McConnell struck with Schumer was that they were going to protect the filibuster. And when they found out that Joe Manchin the senator from West Virginia was going to be a stick in the mud. Now all of a sudden they realized how important the filibuster is to stopping their agenda and they’re going to try it.
I mean, basically, what the Democrats have to do now is smash and grab because they’ve lost control of the calendar. We talked about it last week the fact that Biden hasn’t even scheduled a date for a State of the Union. And so there’s going to be no do sort of buy what they call skinny budget, where the incoming president gets a chance to make adjustments to the ongoing fiscal year. There’s no Biden agenda going in Magisterium if you will.
There’s talk about gun control. But there’s no real push on anything. The people expected him to make a big announcement or propose some legislation on immigration. But that’s all jammed up now. One of the problems, of course, is that you don’t have a confirmed director of the Office of Management and Budget, where everything that goes past all the regulations and laws and legislation proposed by the president passes through that office.
And so, Schumer and Nancy Pelosi the speaker, they realize, and if they’re going to get any of their priorities done they need to basically stop waiting for the president, they’ve got to get rid of the filibuster. And they just might do it. If Democrats are serious about taking control of this country they really have no choice. The question is, will Nancy go along with it?
And also look at Mark Kelly, who’s the Democratic senator from Arizona who’s up for work reelection because he was finishing the old term of McSally. (Inaudible talk) Mark Kelly is up in Arizona. And then you also have Rapahel Warnock in Georgia who is up. So these are two Democrat incumbents who are in conservative states that were stolen from the president in the 2020 presidential election because of all the bogus rules that they put in in the different states.
And, of course, the Democrats are well aware Mike that there is going to be a red wave in 2022. Not just structurally or institutionally, because the first midterm of a president’s term is always going to go against the president in the White House, but in particular, there’s going to be a fervor against the establishment.
And I fully expect President Donald Trump to be on the campaign trail, beating the drum, beating the pots and pans to drive up turnout. The Republicans are going to have a big year in 2022. And so the Democrats are looking over the horizon and things aren’t good. If they want to get anything done, you’re going to have to get rid of that filibuster. It’s just do they have the guts to pull it off?
Leahy: So my question for you, Neil McCabe, the Washington correspondent for the Star News Network, The Tennessee Star, and all our pantheon of six state-based conservative news sites.
Leahy: Thank you! That’s right. It’s not a pantheon of news sites. It’s a constellation of Star News sites around the country. An ever-growing constellation by the way. You have a way with words Neil McCabe.
McCabe: (Inaudible talk)
Leahy: Will the Democrats, yes or no, attempt to get rid of the filibuster?
McCabe: They won’t have the guts.
Leahy: They won’t have the guts.
McCabe: (Inaudible talk)
Leahy: Ah, that is a very interesting prediction. Crom and I were talking a little bit about this. Crom, why don’t you tell Neil a little bit about this little quorum element here that Mitch McConnell threatened to exercise. Describe it to Neil and Neil I’d like to get your reaction to whether or not McConnell might do this.
Carmichael: Neil, what McConnell said on the Senate floor yesterday was that if the Democrats actually do go through with using the 50 plus one to break the filibuster then what he will do is he will use the quorum rule and no Senator will show up in the Senate Chamber. And they won’t have a quorum of 51.
And the vice president cannot count in terms of the quorum. So without 51 senators, the Senate can conduct no business at all, including apparently committee hearings. They can’t do anything. And so McConnell says, if you’re going to blow up the filibuster, we simply will not show up, and nothing will happen in the Senate. Nothing.
McCabe: First of all, the report to that was the same device that they can use to get rid of the filibuster Federal rules are supposed to be changed with the two-thirds. But what Harry Reid did when he first started getting rid of the filibuster, is he used the device at 50. With a simple majority, you can overrule the ruling of a chair. So you get the chair to rule something, and then you override them.
And then that becomes a new rule. And so that’s how he was able to hotwire the two-thirds requirement to change any Senate rules. And so, frankly, if McConnell wanted to do that Schumer could just as easily and get rid of the filibuster. (Inaudible talk) The Senate has the right to change whatever its rules are. Whether it’s the Supreme Court, House, or President. Nobody can rechange how they run their chamber. However, no one is better at defense than Mitch McConnell.
I would never count on Mitch McConnell to advance the conservative agenda. And there’s no evidence he has done anything and his entire career in the Senate to advance the conservative agenda, right? We want to ban abortion. We want gun rights, right? We want to deregulate. None of that stuff is being advanced by McConnell. But nobody is better at defense. And we saw the way he handled Kavanaugh. And we’ve seen it with Merrick Garland.
Leahy: Merrick Garland the now attorney general of the United States.
McCabe: And Schumer is afraid of McConnell. That’s for sure.
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