U.S. Senate

Republicans Hate Getting What They Wanted When They No Longer Want It

We’ve seen the Republican reaction to Harry Reid’s reluctant and long-delayed decision to invoke the so-called nuclear option, changing the Senate’s filibuster rules so that Obama’s judicial nominees get the simple up-or-down votes they deserve.

It’s been fun, if frustrating to watch. Rand Paul did what Rand Paul does best and threw a tantrum. We just wish he would take his toys and go home to conclude his childish reaction. Sean Hannity once supported filibuster reform. Now he is calling it “One of the most lawless power grabs” in U.S. history. The rules allow for it, but it’s a power grab? Rush Limbaugh melted down, calling the democratic process “dictatorship,” and of course, Fox News went straight for the false equivalency cupboard.

It has been fun because exploding Republican heads are a joy, but frustrating because they get to tell their lies in response and have them obligingly repeated by a compliant and complicit mainstream media. Look at CNN repeating the myth that “Both parties have been guilty of political hijinks involving filibusters.”

If you want to know how bad things got before Harry Reid did what needed to be done, look at Right Wing Watch’s list of “ten most outrageous filibusters of Obama’s nominees” and at the five charts provided by People for the American Way. You will see (as if any liberal or progressive needs to be told) that that claim “both sides do it” does not hold water:

The Republicans were claiming Obama was stacking the courts but in fact the Republicans were trying to overturn the results of the elections they lost and pretend they won after all. As Obama said, “A deliberate and determined effort to obstruct everything, no matter what the merits, just to refight the results of an election is not normal. And for the sake of future generations, it cannot become normal.”

Now that they have lost they claim that it will make politics in Washington more partisan. This is because they can no longer get away with their rampant use of partisan politics. How dare Democrats stand up to them! Obviously, things had gotten as partisan as they could possibly get – government was not functioning, after all – or we would not have seen Reid act.

And it turns out that Mitch McConnell, who so opposed the nuclear option, was actually for a simple up-or-down vote on judicial nominees – in 2005, when George W. Bush was president.

He doesn’t think such votes are fair when a Democrat occupies the White House, of course. Remember, Republican conceptions of liberty and freedom apply only to Republicans. Say “fair is fair” and you will likely see a Republican vomit. (Use this power responsibly!)

And McConnell was not alone. No, no, no. He is among a list of “Twelve Republicans Who Broke Their Pledge to Oppose Judicial Filibusters” provided by Right Wing Watch:

1. Mitch McConnell (R-KY)
2. John Cornyn (R-TX)
3. Lamar Alexander (R-TN)
4. John McCain (R-AZ)
5. Chuck Grassler (R-IA)
6. Saxby Chambliss (R-GA)
7. Lindsey Graham (R-SC)
8. Johnny Isakson (R-GA)
9. James Inhofe (R-OK)
10. Mike Crapo (R-ID)
11. Richard Shelby (R-AL)
12. Orrin Hatch (R-UT)

These are the guys, who, when Bush was president, said they’d never, ever filibuster a nominee. (And shouldn’t Republicans be excoriating them for changing their minds? Isn’t that evil to the conservative mindset?)

You won’t see this list appearing on major media outlets. Far from it. As Media Matters points out, “Right-Wing Media myths about filibuster reform” have “made the jump to CNN,” with Dana Bash’s assertion “that the ‘nuclear option’ would make Washington ‘even more partisan,'” ignoring ‘the hyper-partisan maneuvers Senate Republicans have already employed.”

And you will find CNN reporting that Obama was once against the nuclear option but now is for it while making no mention at all of the 12 Republicans listed above and their changed positions.

That zany liberal media elite!

Remember what I said yesterday about the struggle for liberty getting no help from the mainstream media? This is a perfect example of what I was talking about. Bad enough we have to contend with Fox News but even the other outlets spew Republican talking points.

The Republicans brought the filibuster changes on themselves. They are not the victims. The Obama administration, Obama’s nominees, and the American people were ultimately the victims of Republican efforts to nullify and delegitimize Obama’s presidency. They are threatening us now, Mitch McConnell saying, “”You’ll regret this and you may regret it a lot sooner than you think,” but I don’t see how we could have more regret than we have already had as a result of their obstructionism.

They are stomping their little feet now that they did not get their way but this will not slow their assault on Obama or on the Constitution, and nothing under the sun will slow their flood of lies or the mainstream media’s willingness to repeat them.

Cloture and judicial nominees charts from Right Wing Watch

Hrafnkell Haraldsson

Hrafnkell Haraldsson, a social liberal with leanings toward centrist politics has degrees in history and philosophy. His interests include, besides history and philosophy, human rights issues, freedom of choice, religion, and the precarious dichotomy of freedom of speech and intolerance. He brings a slightly different perspective to his writing, being that he is neither a follower of an Abrahamic faith nor an atheist but a polytheist, a modern-day Heathen who follows the customs and traditions of his Norse ancestors. He maintains his own blog, A Heathen's Day, which deals with Heathen and Pagan matters, and Mos Maiorum Foundation www.mosmaiorum.org, dedicated to ethnic religion. He has also contributed to NewsJunkiePost, GodsOwnParty and Pagan+Politics.

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