Patterico's Pontifications


Hysterical Hypocrisy on Filibusters from the New York Times

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 5:51 pm

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?

52 Responses to “Hysterical Hypocrisy on Filibusters from the New York Times”

  1. Ding.

    Patterico (9c670f)

  2. Around here, it’s called Democrisy.

    The realistic Dana (af9ec3)

  3. Teh dementia-addled Grey Lady… all the news and opinion fit to sh*t on.

    Colonel Haiku (795383)

  4. Engrave it by laser into something very, very hard, so we can just point to it in the future.

    Of course, if they succeed in their apparent plan of turning US federal government into a giant size city of Chicago, maybe we will not get out chance.

    MD in Philly (f9371b)

  5. and the rats continue to stream to the exits at the NYT.

    Colonel Haiku (795383)

  6. Deimocracy means rule by panic or terror, doesn’t it ?

    Sorta describes the current majority party in the senate, now, don’t it ?

    Alastor (2e7f9f)

  7. Teh White House is primed and ready to fight back, so let their mincing sissy slapfest begin!

    Colonel Haiku (795383)

  8. Harry Reid hears “little boy’s pants half-off at Macy’s” and races off Senate floor.

    Colonel Haiku (795383)

  9. … Film, at 11…

    Colonel Haiku (795383)

  10. Is it ok to be feeling hate?

    mg (31009b)

  11. Perhaps I misread this, but I think the FOR and AGAINST in the bolded leaders are backwards.

    Kevin M (bf8ad7)

  12. Or at least insert the word “ending”

    Kevin M (bf8ad7)

  13. ” They really don’t even try to pretend that hard to be interested in principle, do they? ”
    – – – – –

    You’re misunderstanding what the principle is.


    ” WE {Dems, Liberals, Progressives} WIN.
    YOU {Republicans, conservatives} LOSE. ”

    So you see, they ARE sticking to their principles.

    A_Nonny_Mouse (57cacf)

  14. OK, but wasn’t McConnell and many in the GOP hypocritical too since they were previously pushing the nuclear option when Biden and other Democrats were (also hypocritically) opposed?

    Former Conservative (a22d9a)

  15. Yes, but they did not do it after their concerns were addressed, and they did not bring it back up every 3 weeks to get more concessions.

    This is the difference between a deal, and blackmail with Reid promising every time that THESE are really the last negatives. But they never are and eventually he’s told publish and be damned.

    Kevin M (bf8ad7)

  16. The journalists and editors of The New York Times write and edit better than most English-speaking people.

    That does not make them smart, nor does it provide them the privilege of thinking for the rest regardless of credentials.

    Ag80 (eb6ffa)

  17. Khrushchev was right, they’ve buried us.

    htom (412a17)

  18. Khrushchev was right, they’ve buried us.


    Former Conservative (a22d9a)

  19. The revised icon for the Democratic party should be an as…I mean donkey pinioned by a whirling weathervane.

    LTMG (9a1240)

  20. Did they bury us, or did we bury ourselves?

    MD in Philly (f9371b)

  21. He’s a lot more optimistic than I am, but then he’s a psychiatrist; maybe it’s a habit: Krauthammer On Filibuster Change: “Democrats Will Absolutely Rue The Day”

    Former Conservative (a22d9a)

  22. Oceania is against filibusters. Oceania has always been against filibusters.

    Dirty Old Man (354f80)

  23. Remember that Obama has been willing to cheat in elections, using the IRS, etc., and that demographics are generally tipping in the Democrats favor. He may well have calculated that strict majority rule benefits the left more often than not going forward.

    Former Conservative (a22d9a)

  24. Dhimmiocracy.

    With a heaping helping of court-packing.

    Ed from SFV (091806)

  25. Justice Bork called. He wants his Republic back.

    Ed from SFV (091806)

  26. That does not make them smart…

    That’s because intelligence per se (particularly as determined by rote ability) and, if you will, ideological intelligence do not go hand-in-hand. The fact they’re not mutually inclusive is rarely raised or scrutinized by most people. And, of course, the fact that liberal bias does not necessarily make a person nicer or more humane is another aspect of human behavior that’s rarely, or never, mentioned.

    Mark (58ea35)

  27. The left seized the moment that it had, won the battle, and won the war with the help of John Roberts.

    They now will be able to pack the courts to strike down future reforms.

    All because the right stayed home on election day.

    And when we have the chance, maybe, to make amends in 2014 and 2016, it probably will happen again.

    So, we will live with it as obedient serfs.

    Ag80 (eb6ffa)

  28. Patterico, you’ve got your “in favor” and “against” reversed. Today the NYT was against the filibuster; in 1995 they were for it.

    Milhouse (b95258)

  29. In principle what they’ve done today is right, and the Republicans should have done it back in ’95. But at the time the Ds kicked up a fuss, and the Rs backed down and agreed to play by the Ds’ preferred rules; in my opinion that means that however justified this change is in principle, the Ds should have been estopped from making it. They got the advantage of playing by their rules during the Bush administration; therefore the Rs are entitled to play by the same rules for the length of the 0bama administration. Then the rules should be changed. But what they’ve done today is just piracy. (Which, ironically, is what “filibuster” means. A filibuster is an act of piracy, an illegitimate hijacking of the senate by a minority.)

    Milhouse (b95258)

  30. Neal Boortz had an awesome tweet earlier: You can have the Rule of Law, or you can have Democracy. You cannot have both.

    Ed from SFV (091806)

  31. And when O’bamacare gets repealed on a 51 to 49 vote they’ll scream about the unfairness of it all.

    Catseyes (ae8723)

  32. Comment by Former Conservative (a22d9a) — 11/21/2013 @ 6:38 pm

    Without hypocrisy, politics is very boring.

    askeptic (2bb434)

  33. Then the rules should be changed.

    They didn’t just change a rule, they burned the rule book – they just haven’t realized it yet.

    askeptic (2bb434)

  34. Comment by Ed from SFV (091806) — 11/21/2013 @ 9:17 pm

    “A Republic, if you can keep it.”

    askeptic (2bb434)

  35. Checks and balances going by the board, one by one.

    Along with all the other actions of this authoritarian, we are slipping into rule by mob.

    Even with the O-Care fiasco, he is going ahead and ramming through the destruction of our system of government. It’s not even slowing him down.

    Is there any way to turn this around?

    Patricia (be0117)

  36. Folks, the LIBTARDS/COMMIES do not think there will ever be another MAJORITY other than themselves. They are consolidating power, and they are WAY WAY out of control. They are dishonest, evil and they do not fear consequences. They will find out the hard way, just like Mussolini did.

    Gus (70b624)

  37. So, we will live with it as obedient serfs.

    speak for yourself.

    Molon Labe.

    redc1c4 (abd49e)

  38. BTW, Pat, this ought to be picked up & carried by every news source in the US by noon tomorrow.

    it won’t, but it ought’ta be


    redc1c4 (abd49e)

  39. Patricia I am with you!
    Thank You.

    Gus (70b624)

  40. The Article V movement is growing – now that Reid went Nuclear we will really take off as it is the only way to control the Obama machine . . no blocking – no veto.
    Here is how we make the DC political class small, weak and LIMITED and a Court that must live under the Limits of Article III. Repeal the 14th, 16th and 17th amendments.—group-overvi

    Article V – Group Overview and Proposal
    ARTICLE V Group Overview and Proposal Patriots United in a Common Cause… to restore Liberty through Article V It is in our diversity of persons and independence of thought that we find our…

    Mangus Colorado (@MangusColorado) (fd0472)

  41. says it all. what scum.

    gabe (71477e)

  42. Erwin Chemerinsky no doubt has blown in the same unprincipled wind.

    Mitch (c919d0)

  43. This is why nobody but hard core liberals read this rag.

    chad johnson (7df380)

  44. Does the NYT still have an “ombudsman” to help sort out fallacies and major problems with the writing or editing? It would be fun for someone to point out this radical change in the NYT’s editorial views on the senate, and ask the NYT to formally address this apparent contradiction if not outright hypocrisy.

    elissa (c37a48)

  45. Why is everybody surprised?
    Democracy is not the rule of the people; democracy is the rule of the Democratic party.

    Hai Cohen (237f71)

  46. Chemerinsky is a cheap, talentless hack.

    SPQR (39ad84)

  47. dontcha got the “favor” and “against placed on the wrong editorials?

    mark traeger (94ef8e)

  48. The Greeks knew best: True democracy is, essentially, rule by the mob. That’s why we have what used to be, a Republic, “If you can keep it”. (The War of Northern Aggression answered, perhaps for all time, the preeminence of the Federal Gov’t) The Senate was formed/devised to be deliberative and the rules (re, filibuster, etc) legislated to give a little substance to minority input and, hence,slow the law – making process to the extent that it was ‘cooperative’, in part, to assuage the passions of the House. Hence, rules that give a bit of substance to minority perceptions. Jefferson has been set spinning in his grave by the egregiously hypocritic machinations of Reid, et al (see, 2005). Essentially, rules, to ‘Progressives’, have no real meaning in law and certainly, have no relation to the Constitution, that ever malleable/forgettable anachronism to unemployable, uneducated/indoctrinated twit-twitting youts and their cynical, leftist elitist ‘educationalists’. Whoa! I’m onna role!

    The really sad part? No on will really notice, as the uninformed, ill-educated/indoctrinated ‘electorate’ will continue to beg that the hammer of gummint continue to smack them in their clueless head, as the abscence of pain would just be too unbearable….

    Bruce Webb (f0745a)

  49. SPQR, bite your tongue….
    Erwin is not cheap.

    askeptic (b8ab92)

  50. Hmmm, don’t you have that wording flipped, didn’t they argue against the fillibuster on the 21st and for it when the Dems were in the minority? No matter, the NY Times is a joke and the left will of course follow it’s every whim.

    Trip (9521f7)

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