We really should thank the Democrats for making this raving lunatic the head of the DNC. Not-so-bold prediction time: There won’t be a single Democrat who runs on Obamacare.
Here is the latest proof that the elected Republican leaders in Washington are cut from the same cloth as the opposition. Speaker John Boehner hired a new immigration policy director. Presumably, the Republican House leader would hire someone who will push an alternative policy to the Democrat’s insatiable quest for amnesty, right? Wrong. Speaker John A. Boehner, R-Ohio, is taking on a new and formidable | Read More
ObamaCare is smoldering in rubble, and we should expect the Democrats to jump onto something – anything – that will give them a chance to stop talking about it. That’s why it was unsurprising to watch the Democrat Party launch themselves into a complete meltdown yesterday over a tee shirt sold in the National Republican Congressional Committee online store. The GOP committee, though, isn’t backing down. “Happy | Read More
This ad says Mary Landrieu cast “the deciding vote” for ObamaCare: Enter Glenn Kessler, Fact-Checker Extraordinaire, who gives this entirely true statement “Two Pinocchios.” Here is his reasoning: As always with bills in the Senate, there are critical procedure votes. Because of GOP objection, Democrats needed to win a supermajority of 60 votes in order to end debate and advance the Senate’s version of the legislation. (This is known as a cloture vote.) On Christmas Eve in 2009, the bill was passed in the Senate by a vote of 60 to 39. Every Democrat in the Senate, including Landrieu, voted for that bill. But it was never officially reconciled with a House version because the Democrats lost the Massachusetts Senate seat in a special election. So an amendment of the Senate bill, crafted in the House, was finally passed on March 25 under a procedure that avoided the 60-vote requirement. That bill only needed 50 votes, and it passed 56 to 43, with Landrieu again voting with the majority. It was certainly a messy ending but Obama’s health-care effort did not become law until the second bill was passed. Levi Russell, an AFP spokesman, said the first vote backs up the ad’s statement. “In order to achieve cloture and pass President Obama’s health care law out of the Senate, the bill needed 60 votes,” he said. “The bill passed 60-39 out of the Senate. As Landrieu voted yes, her vote provided the critical margin for passage. If she had voted no, the bill would not have passed.” Sounds right to me. But Kessler comes up with his own definition of the “deciding vote”: Okay, but is that what really happened? The deciding vote is really that last vote reached—and that wasn’t Landrieu. Instead it was then Sen. Ben Nelson of Nebraska (who, by the way, voted against the second bill.) . . . . Given that Landrieu was one of the last holdouts on the law, a reasonable case could be made that her vote was important for the outcome, at least for the first vote. But calling her the “deciding vote” is going too far, as it invites a slippery slope in which attack ads could be made against every Senate Democrat, saying each cast the deciding vote. In the case of the cloture vote, there was only one deciding vote — Ben Nelson. And he’s no longer in the Senate. But every single Democrat did cast the deciding vote. Her vote was not just “important” to the outcome — it was critical. It was indispensable — in the sense that without it, there would be no ObamaCare. There would be no second bill and no signed law. Landrieu’s vote was absolutely essential to the passage of the law — as was the vote of every other Democrat. Now, maybe you disagree with my argument. But the issue is at least debatable , isn’t it? My position is at least arguably correct. It’s a matter of opinion. Yet Kessler, the “fact checker,” gives the ad “two Pinocchios” — which under the paper’s rating system means : Significant omissions and/or exaggerations. Some factual error may be involved but not necessarily. A politician can create a false, misleading impression by playing with words and using legalistic language that means little to ordinary people. What is “significant” about whether Landrieu’s vote was the first, one of the middle ones, or the last? It is clear that the point of this ad was to say: if Mary Landrieu had not voted this way, we would have not have gotten ObamaCare. That is 100% correct. Who cares whether it was the final vote or not? That’s not the point of the ad. The point of the ad was that her vote was absolutely critical to the outcome. But it’s worse than Kessler’s assessment of this one ad — because his pronouncement has far-reaching implications. Now, any time Mary Landrieu’s opponent argues that she cast the deciding vote for ObamaCare, who is absolutely correct, she will be able to say: “The Washington Post has ruled that exact claim to be misleading and gave it two Pinocchios.” And that (unlike her opponent’s claim) will be entirely misleading. Fact checkers need to stay out of areas where a statement is arguably entirely true. Unfortunately, they haven’t, they don’t, and they never will. UPDATE: A bit more analysis here . UPDATE x2: The hacks at PolitiFact have done essentially the same thing here . “Any one of those 60 Democrats who voted for it in the U.S. Senate, had they voted no, it would not have passed,” Rubens said in an interview. “So any one of those 60 would have been the deciding vote.” However, PolitiFact has been unsympathetic to that argument in the past, since calling someone “the deciding vote” implies he or she played a pivotal role, such as withholding support until the last moment. Your vote plays a pivotal role if, without it, the bill would fail. As the kids say: duh. ( Do the kids still say that? I am confident they would say it to PolitiFact.)
The New York Times editorial board today, November 21, 2013, editorializing in favor of the judicial filibuster, at a time when we have a Democratic President and Senate majority: For five years, Senate Republicans have refused to allow confirmation votes on dozens of perfectly qualified candidates nominated by President Obama for government positions. They tried to nullify entire federal agencies by denying them leaders. They abused Senate rules past the point of tolerance or responsibility. And so they were left enraged and threatening revenge on Thursday when a majority did the only logical thing and stripped away their power to block the president’s nominees . In a 52-to-48 vote that substantially altered the balance of power in Washington, the Senate changed its most infuriating rule and effectively ended the filibuster on executive and judicial appointments. From now on, if any senator tries to filibuster a presidential nominee, that filibuster can be stopped with a simple majority, not the 60-vote requirement of the past. That means a return to the democratic process of giving nominees an up-or-down vote , allowing them to be either confirmed or rejected by a simple majority. . . . . Republicans warned that the rule change could haunt the Democrats if they lose the White House and the Senate. But the Constitution gives presidents the right to nominate top officials in their administration and name judges, and says nothing about the ability of a Senate minority to stop them. ( The practice barely existed before the 1970s. ) Thank God we have a “return to the democratic process of giving nominees an up-or-down vote .” After all, the filibuster barely existed before the 1970s, meaning history is on the Democrats’ side in demanding an up-or-down vote! You know what’s coming, don’t you? Of course you do. The New York Times editorial board on May 18, 2005, editorializing against the judicial filibuster, at a time when we had a Republican President and Senate majority: Of all the hollow arguments Senate Republicans have made in their attempt to scrap the opposition’s right to have a say on President Bush’s judicial nominees, the one that’s most hypocritical insists that history is on their side in demanding a “simple up-or-down vote” on the Senate floor . Republicans and Democrats have used a variety of tactics, from filibuster threats to stealthy committee inaction on individual nominations, in blocking hundreds of presidential appointments across history, including about one in five Supreme Court nominees. This is all part of the Senate’s time-honored deliberative role and of its protection of minority rights, which Republican leaders would now desecrate in overreaching from their majority perch. . . . . Democrats have hardly been obstructionists in their constitutional role of giving advice and consent; they have confirmed more than 200 Bush nominees, while balking at a mere seven who should be blocked on the merits, not for partisan reasons. This is a worthy fight, and the filibuster is a necessary weapon, considering that these are lifetime appointments to the powerful appellate judiciary, just below the Supreme Court . In more than two centuries, only 11 federal judges have been impeached for abusive court behavior. Clearly, uninhibited Senate debate in the deliberative stage, with the minority’s voice preserved, is a crucial requirement . In 2005, we received dark warnings about the specter of divisive partisanship that would result from discarding those sacred rights of the political minority in the Senate: Senator Frist, with the help of Vice President Dick Cheney, would sidestep a Senate precedent requiring two-thirds’ approval for a rules change and instead have a simple majority strike down the filibuster on judicial nominees . He promises that there would be no effect on other legislation, but the damage would be incalculable. Democrats are already vowing procedural paybacks and gridlock. A few moderate senators from both parties – realizing that the Senate’s prestige is at stake, as much as its history – are seeking a compromise. We hope President Bush will step in to help find a solution. Otherwise, warns his fellow Republican Arlen Specter, chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, the result will be the harmful crimping of minority rights in a proud deliberative body and “a dark, protracted era of divisive partisanship.” Today? If you’re in the minority, you’ll just have to suck it up — and making the change with a simple majority is just fine: From now on, voters will have to understand that presidents are likely to get their way on nominations if their party controls the Senate. . . . Democrats made the filibuster change with a simple-majority vote, which Republicans insisted was a violation of the rules. There is ample precedent for this kind of change , though it should be used judiciously. Comical hypocrisy from an unserious publication. P.S. When the last Democrat was president, in 1995, they felt the same way they do today : Once a rarely used tactic reserved for issues on which senators held passionate convictions, the filibuster has become the tool of the sore loser, dooming any measure that cannot command the 60 required votes. . . . Now is the perfect moment for them to unite with like-minded Democrats to get rid of an archaic rule that frustrates democracy and serves no useful purpose. They really don’t even try to pretend that hard to be interested in principle, do they?
The rest is here:
Hysterical Hypocrisy on Filibusters from the New York Times