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Dana Milbank: McConnell undid 213 years of Senate history in 33 minutes

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Members of the Senate used to call their institution the “world’s greatest deliberative body.”

No one is likely to mistake it for that after Wednesday.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), in his latest move to seize power by dismantling the chamber’s centuries-old safeguards, was about to push through another vote to break another rule. But first he gave a speech blaming the other side.

“The Democratic leader started all of this,” McConnell proclaimed, his face blotchy red with anger.

Pointing at the Democratic leader, Charles E. Schumer (N.Y.), McConnell added: “He started this whole thing.”

If that weren’t preschoolish enough, the once-distinguished gentleman from Kentucky said a third time: “He started it! That was a sad day. This is a glad day.”

Actually, Vice President Aaron Burr started “it” — the Senate tradition of unlimited debate, that is. That tradition has prevailed, more or less, in the Senate since 1806. Over that time, senators had the right to delay votes on presidential nominees they found objectionable. But McConnell undid 213 years of history in 33 minutes on Wednesday afternoon, holding a party-line vote to rewrite the rules of debate.

Both sides have........

© The Saratogian