Re: @DougS - Rewriting history
Yes, the democrats had a majority in both houses in 2009-2010, which let them push through legislation without republican votes. They still followed normal procedures for Obamacare, starting it in committee, getting debated on the floor, allowing votes on republican amendments (some of which were accepted) so it wasn't as bad as what we've seen the past month in McConnell's Senate.
Where things really went off the rails was when republicans used their majority to refuse any Obama appointees to come to a vote, and not recessing congress so there was no possibility of recess appointments. If this was done for controversial appointees and sensitive positions that would be one thing, but they started doing it for everything, even meaningless ambassadorships. The democrats stupidly suspended the rules to push those through with a majority vote, which paved the way for suspension of the rules to push Gorsuch through. Now Trump is pushing McConnell to suspend the rules in all cases, so the Senate is simple majority rule. What I don't understand is why he got on that rant after losing the health care vote in the Senate 51-49. Does he not understand that such a change would not help get health care past the Senate?
If McConnell is dumb enough to do that, it will come back to bite republicans down the road when the democrats regain a majority in the Senate, which is only a matter of time. Probably not in 2018 since too many seats are up (they have a better chance of taking back the House) but depending on what happens with Trump there could be a D landslide in 2020. Conservatives will rue the day they permanently suspended the rules requiring 60 votes if that happens, as democrats could simply undo whatever republicans accomplish from 2017-2020. And probably will.
I hope you see how unhealthy it is making politics into some sort of ping pong game where the main goal is to undo the other guys' accomplishments the first chance you get. Regardless of who you want to blame for starting it, or escalating it, it is clear this has become the modus operandi of both parties. In the past the 60 vote majority required for most things in the Senate prevented this, and forced at least minimal bipartisan cooperation. Now cooperation is a dirty word for republican primary voters, and they will remove anyone guilty of working across the aisle, to replace them with a purist who will vote in lockstep for all republican bills and against all democrat bills. The democrats don't appear to have reached that point yet, but the Sanders/Clinton split is the beginning of the same story on their side. If someone with Reagan's record of passing bipartisan legislation was running in a republican congressional primary, he'd out on his ear in favor of someone seen as more "loyal" to conservative principles.
Personally I think rather than changing the rules in the Senate to require 51 votes instead of 60, we'd be better off changing the rules in both the Senate and the House to require 2/3 majority to pass anything. No party will ever manage such overwhelming majorities, so there would be no possibility of passing republican or democratic "dream" platform ideas, only to see them undone a few years later. What good would it do republicans to pass the massive tax cuts they want to see if democrats can simply undo them a few years later? What good would it do democrats to pass single payer health care if republicans can simply undo it a few years later? Wild swings in something as basic as taxes or health care would be a disaster for the economy.
Reagan was a darling of conservatives but he worked with the democrats on many issues, including tax reform. Clinton might have fiddled with it around the edges when he had power, but he didn't undo Reagan's tax cuts. Would you like to see the Ryan plan (or whatever tax plan you subscribe to) passed in full to take effect on Jan. 1, 2019, only to see the democrats take power in the 2020 elections and pass a repeal of those changes effective Jan. 1, 2022? Or would you rather have some simplifications and rate cuts / deduction elimination that isn't nearly all you could hope for, but won't be undone the first change democrats get?