As Harry Reid moves to change the filibuster rules, Republicans are already screaming about how unfair it all is. Back when they were in power, they were singing a different tune.
May 19, 2005: (Current Minority Leader) Majority Whip Mitch McConnell (R-KY) via the Washington Monthly: “Because of the unprecedented obstruction of our Democratic colleagues, the Republican conference intends to restore the principle that, regardless of party, any President’s judicial nominees, after full debate, deserve a simple up -or -down vote.”
March 26, 2004: (Current Minority Whip) John Cornyn (R-TX) in floor remarks: “I hope that by the end of this session of Congress, my colleagues will give the President’s qualified nominees what they, and all current and future nominees deserve: the opportunity to have a fair up-or-down vote on the floor of the Senate on their nomination. For the sake of the Senate, the nation, and our independent judiciary, I hope that these partisans will not launch more filibusters, but from what I’ve heard today, I won’t hold my breath.”
November 10, 2004: (Current Minority Whip) John Cornyn (R-TX) via the Baltimore Sun: “The bottom line has to be that the president has the right to get a vote, an up-or-down vote, on his nominees.”
May 23, 2005: (Current Senate Judiciary Committee Ranking Member) Chuck Grassley (R-IA) via Floor Remarks on C-SPAN: “Let’s debate the nominees and give our advice and consent. It is a simple ‘yea’ or ‘nay,’ when called to the altar to vote. Filibustering a nominee into oblivion is misguided warfare and the wrong way for a minority party to leverage influence in the Senate.”
May 24, 2005: Sen. Chambliss and Sen. Isakson (R-GA) via the Atlanta Journal Constitution: “The question is simple and our responsibility clear. Every judge nominated by this president or any president deserves an up-or-down vote. It’s the responsibility of the Senate. The Constitution requires it.”
While the media is already preparing the inaccurate false equivalency games harkening back to the days when Senator Harry Reid was against changing the filibuster rules, what they are leaving out is the unprecedented obstruction that’s take place since then.
As of December of 2012, Republicans had mounted 380 filibusters since Democrats took control of the Senate in 2006.
The People for the American Way determined that things are only getting worse this year. They created this graphic to demonstrate that “Republicans are now on pace to filibuster a full 45 nominees before the end of the Obama administration in January 2017”:
Republicans have mounted unprecedented obstruction in the Senate as the minority party.
Harry Reid tried for too long to put an end to partisan gamesmanship by not changing the filibuster rules. It’s normal for both parties to grouse about obstruction when they are in the minority and for the minority to want to put a damper on the steam of the majority.
But what Republicans have been doing, especially since Obama took office, is not normal gamesmanship. They are trying to nullify a presidency, and hijack two elections by pretending as if the American people did pick their President.
Ms. Jones is the co-founder/ editor-in-chief of PoliticusUSA and a member of the White House press pool.
Sarah hosts Politicus News and co-hosts Politicus Radio. Her analysis has been featured on several national radio, television news programs and talk shows, and print outlets including Stateside with David Shuster, as well as The Washington Post, The Atlantic Wire, CNN, MSNBC, The Week, The Hollywood Reporter, and more.
Sarah is a member of the Society of Professional Journalists.