Reid’s comments came after Republicans filibustered his attempt to move a House-passed compromise reauthorizing the Export-Import Bank. But the proximate cause of Reid’s ire hardly matters. The point is that he’s concluded he was wrong to oppose filibuster reform when Democrats had the chance.
Election wonks I know think that if President Obama wins re-election, Democrats have even odds -- and maybe even a bit better -- of retaining control of the Senate. Their margin will be slim. But a slim margin is all they’ll need for filibuster reform if they follow the Merkley/Udall plan, which uses a process called “the Constitutional option” to change the rules with 51 votes. More on that here.
Ahh, but there's a down side, as I've been saying. That 53-47 current margin is 3 lost seats from being a tie, and 4 from being the end of the filibuster if the GOP keeps the House (which if they retake the Senate they certainly will).
Consider, though, what this means if Republicans retake the Senate. The leader of the Senate Democrats appears to have endorsed some version of filibuster reform. That doesn’t make filibuster reform an inevitability. But it does make it likelier. And wouldn’t Republicans prefer it happen on their watch than when the Democrats control the institution? Probably.
It's very likely if the GOP takes both chambers of Congress and 100% guaranteed if that happens and Romney wins. Now that Reid has opened the gates, the Republicans will start making the argument that if they do take the whole ball of wax, the only way to get rid of all that "Obama socialism" is to axe the filibuster.
Of course, as voters, we ultimately determine that fate. Get out there and register a friend to vote this week.