March 03, 2005

Unprecedented Filibusters? Uh, No.

Brazen is really the word the best describes the ConservaBorg disinformation machine. The latest shit to come flying out of that thing is recycled from the previous term. It seems that the Democrats are Evil (again) because they are filibustering some of Bush's fine judicial nominees. Just for kicks,go take a look at the career highlights and opinions of this bottom-of-the-barrel bunch. As it turns out, for all the cries of Democratic obstructionism, 95% of Bush's nominees have been confirmed (as opposed to 65% of Clinton's).

With King Pill Popper leading the way on AM radio, right-wing nutballs everywhere are talking about how horrible and unprecedented is this idea of filibustering nominees. In general, of course, Republicans happily blocked a large number of nominees during the Clinton administration simply on ideological grounds, as John Dean discusses here. This was true even when Democrats held the Senate.

If you want to get nitpicky about it and say, well, it is *still* unprecedented, because Republicans have never actually voted to filibuster for the purpose of blocking a floor vote on a nominee ... well, that's wrong, too. Frist himself, the current majority leader, participated in a vote to filibuster a Clinton nominee back in 2000. And Republicans made history in 1968 with the first ever filibuster of a judicial nominee (Supreme Court justice Abe Fortas). Of course, more often, Republicans just complain (in that patented victim voice) that "All we want is an up or down vote on the Senate floor!" as if they hadn't repeatedly blocked Clinton nominees in committee, preventing just such a vote as a routine matter (which provoked little, if any, reaction from the media).

The best part is that someone like Frist goes on Meet the Press and claims that all this talk of filibustering on the part of the Democrats is "unprecedented". And how does the hard-hitting Pumpkinhead Tim Russert respond? Usually by staring off into space or moving on to the next topic. Occasionally, Frist will get challenged by someone, but he's never pressed honestly about it. That's your "liberal media" in action, getting to the bottom of the barrel as quickly as possible instead of the bottom of the story.

As usual, the most interesting and damning aspect of this whole sad affair is not the debate over whether filibusters are truly unprecedented. No, it is abundantly clear that Democrats are using the tools of the Senate just as Republicans have in the past. The questions I want to hear about are: Why are Republicans (and their surrogates in the corporate media) lying about it so brazenly? Why do otherwise intelligent political observers allow the lie to propagate unchallenged? Why do so many ConservaBorg bloggers feel the need to believe this lie so desperately? I think the answer to that last question is the desperate need to retain the status of victim. Republicans just don't know how to behave any other way. They're just going to keep playing the "I'm so hurt and offended!" card until it stops working.

Media Matters has plenty more on this, by the way.

Posted by Observer at March 3, 2005 07:03 AM

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