ALEXANDER: The power grab behind the crocodile tears

Democrats try to change the rules when they can’t get their way

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John Adams was right. And so was then-Minority Leader Harry Reid in 2005 when, opposing Majority Leader Bill Frist’s effort to use the “nuclear option” to kill the filibuster on judicial nominations, he said: “And once you open that Pandora’s box, it was just a matter of time before a Senate leader who couldn’t get his way on something moved to eliminate the filibuster for regular business as well. And that, simply put, would be the end of the United States Senate.”

The only real confirmation issue before the Senate is Mr. Obama’s use of his recess appointment power to install two members of the National Labor Relations Board when the Senate was not in recess, a blatant affront to the constitutional separation of powers that the District of Columbia Circuit Court of Appeals said was unconstitutional.

Fortunately, a compromise has been reached in which the president is sending to the Senate two new, untainted nominees for the board. This week’s debate, however, shows the threat to the end of the United States Senate lingers.

Those Democrats still seeking to create a Senate in which a majority can change the rules whenever it wants should be prepared for what could happen next. Their dream of a Democratic freight train running through a Senate in which a majority can do whatever it wants might turn into their nightmare if, in 2015, that freight train is the Tea Party Express.

Sen. Lamar Alexander is a Tennessee Republican.

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