When Barack Obama had the opportunity to fill vacancies on the Supreme Court, conservatives had no doubt that he’d appoint strict ideologues who would do nothing other than rule to uphold any and all things that fall in line with socialist liberal views — the constitution be damned. And certainly Sonia Sotomayor and Elena Kagan have lived up to that billing.
At the time of their nominations, the minority party in the Senate (Republican) did not have the numbers to block the appointments. Thus in an effort to halt the express train to Progressiveville, they invoked the only remedy they had – the filibuster. The majority party (Democrat) decided it wasn’t going to sit for that and thus changed Senate rules. Formerly, 60 votes (which they didn’t have) were needed to end a filibuster. Harry Reid chucked that rule and changed it to a simple majority (51 votes) needed to end filibustering and move on to a vote of the full body — a change which became known as “the nuclear option.”
We now are facing the exact same scenario in the U.S. Senate only with reversed roles; Republican president’s appointee, Democrat minority seeking to filibuster, Republican majority with its finger on the nuclear option.
This pending move by the Republicans has Democrats howling, of course. Predictably it’s also drawing choruses of venom from the liberal media. But oh how quickly they forget. It was just a few years ago, 2013 to be exact, when then-Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid did the exact same thing — and how did the media react?
The folks over at Newsbusters have compiled an extensive collection of quotes and video of what the now-so-deeply-offended lib media had to say back in those days and boy, is it ever eye-opening. Today liberals are accusing Republicans of a “massive power grab.” Take a look at some of the things they had to say then:
How about this from everyone’s favorite Rachel Maddow:“…they changed the rules of the United States Senate, so Republicans can’t just block judges anymore. Judges can be blocked on an up or down vote, on a majority vote, like always, but they cannot be blocked anymore with just a minority of votes. Republicans cannot force that anymore. And I know, as I’m hearing myself saying it, I know that it sounds like it’s not that much of a change, but this is a huge freaking deal. This is like 3-inch headlines. This is like people who don’t even care about politics really ought to care about this.”
Or Chris Matthews on Hardball:
‘What a difference a day makes.’ Due to the action of the Senate Democrats today, there will be no more 60- vote requirements to get the president’s appointments confirmed, no more dallying around and delay tactics, no more Mickey Mouse. And with any luck, there will be action.”
Political analyst John Avlon: “Bipartisanship has been broken for years now. And the reason that Harry Reid pulled this option is that the filibuster has gotten out of control. We are at a point where the number for example blocking – Republican obstruction of Obama nominees are over 80 that’s almost half the historic total….Detonating the nuclear option is a big deal in an already fractured Senate. But the reality is that things were already bad so let’s not get Pollyannaish about the immediate past.”…
And the lovely Los Angeles Times:
“We welcome this action not because it represents a comeuppance for arrogant Republicans but because filibustering presidential nominees is undemocratic and violates the spirit if not the letter of the Constitution, which says that the president shall appoint judges and other officials ‘by and with the advice and consent of the Senate’ — not by and with a supermajority of the Senate. This isn’t a new position for this page. We advocated the nuclear option in 2005, when Republicans were threatening to ‘go nuclear’ to stymie Democratic filibusters of judges nominated by President George W. Bush. In recent years, the original, stem-winding filibuster mutated into a ‘filibuster lite’ that allowed senators in the minority to block a vote on a nominee without having to engage in marathon speechmaking. A once-rare form of obstruction became commonplace. Now a minority of senators will be free to vote against a president’s nominees but not to prevent a vote from being taken. That’s a victory not just for the Democrats but for good government.”
Amazing how now that the shoe is on the other foot, it no longer fits.
[Note: This article was written by Derrick Wilburn]