By Brad Friedman on 1/24/2013, 12:25pm PT  

The one thing the Senate Majority Leader never seems to fail at: Failing.

Harry Reid last May, on the Senator floor, apologizing to Senators Jeff Merkley (D-OR) and Tom Udall (D-NM) for blocking their 2010 attempt to weaken the filibuster: "These two young, fine senators said it was time to change the rules of the Senate, and we didn’t," Reid said then. "And they were right. The rest of us were wrong --- or most of us, anyway. What a shame… If there were anything that ever needed changing in this body, it’s the filibuster rule, because it’s been abused, abused and abused."

Harry Reid today, after striking a deal with Minority Leader Mitch McConnell to ensure anything close to (small "d") democracy stays decidedly out of the U.S. Senate: "I’m not personally, at this stage, ready to get rid of the 60-vote threshold."

See Ezra Klein for more of Reid's reasons for striking a deal to make minor procedural changes to Senate rules which do absolutely nothing to change the use --- and abuse, abuse, abuse --- of the filibuster. See Sam Stein and Ryan Grim for more of an explanation of what the marginal procedural changes to be made actually are.

In short, as many Filibuster reformers are noting today: Harry Reid's filibuster reform doesn't actually reform the filibuster in any way.

But let's spread some blame around. According to Merkley --- who had been leading a coalition of Democratic Senators and activists calling for the requirement of a "talking filibuster" (already fairly weak tea when it comes to filibuster reform) --- during a conference call last week, he called on reformers to pressure these Democratic Senators who were still "wrestling with his proposal", as Politico characterized it: Max Baucus (MT), Patrick Leahy (VT), Dianne Feinstein (CA), Barbara Boxer (CA), Joe Manchin (WV) and Mark Pryor (AR).

Presuming the Reid/McConnell deal is adopted today, as it likely will be, another chance to reform --- or kill --- the filibuster all together will not occur until the first legislative day of the next U.S. Congress, in 2015. All of which goes some way towards supporting the suggestion offered by progressive activist David Swanson during my interview with him last November, that Dems, at least a minority with enough power to undermine their caucus, have little interest in reforming the filibuster, as it gives them an excuse to make sure things they want to act like they believe in, but actually don't, will never see the light of day in the U.S. Senate.