Small details tell big stories in the political world and Washington Examiner Chief Political Correspondent Byron York has a master's eye for detecting them.
Take his column today on how Jeh Johnson, President Obama's new Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security, thumbed his nose at Senate Republicans.
In Harry Reid's nuked Senate, only 51 votes are required to confirm — or deny — presidential nominees for cabinet posts. That fact changes everything about the Senate.
No more compromises
For example, as York notes, "If Johnson could be confident that he had at least 51 of the Senate's 55 Democratic votes — he actually had all of them — he didn't need to pay attention to Republicans at all. And so he didn't."
Senate Republicans asked Johnson multiple questions. Johnson responded with platitudes and generalities. The diplomatic description here is "thumbing one's nose."
The Senate's constitutional role of "advice and consent" on presidential nominees is now meaningless because they need worry only about keeping the majority happy. Minority members no longer count.
What goes around ...
Republicans will eventually retake the Senate majority and when they do, don't be surprised if something like the following are their first three rules changes (which will only need 51 votes, thanks to Harry Reid):
— Senate committees will each include only one member of the minority party and the minority staff for each Senate committee shall consist of one individual whose hourly compensation will equal the District of Columbia's minimum wage (not to exceed 29 hours in any one week).
— Senators representing the minority party shall have speaking privileges on the Senate floor on alternative Tuesdays and Thursdays, with each individual minority party senator's total speaking time not to exceed five minutes for any 24-hour period and only for the purpose of introducing commemorative resolutions of interest to residents of their respective states.
— Two-thirds majorities of both the majority and minority party caucuses shall be required to change any Senate rule.
On today's washingtonexaminer.com
Editorial: Don't limit the charitable deduction.
Noemie Emery: Obamacare blunts the emerging Democratic majority.
Diana Furchtgott-Roth: Obama uses rules to punish enemies and reward friends.
In other news
The Washington Post: Military trial in U.S. eyed for Russian captured in Afghanistan fighting for the Taliban.
The New York Times: Top Iraqi official advises Karzai to take U.S. deal.
New York Post/Michael Goodwin: Obama is the year's biggest liar.
Chicago Tribune: Ethanol giant ADM moving headquarters to Windy City.
The Washington Times: Pentagon considers removing Lee, Jackson portraits from War College.
Talking Points Memo: Conservative media arms race heats up with Salem acquisitions.
Mother Jones: The five biggest meat stories of 2013.
Washington Monthly: Top 10 higher education stories of 2013.
New Republic: Coastal elites are getting rich off Detroit's bankruptcy.
Daily Caller: John Boehner lives in apartment owned by tanning lobbyist.
The American Spectator: The best way to cut spending is to cut spending.
The Weekly Standard: Speed-reading the Pope.
National Review Online: Inequality doesn't matter.