Patterico's Pontifications


More Stunning Hypocrisy from Harry Reid on Filibusters of Judicial Nominees

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 11:17 pm

No, keep reading; you haven’t heard this one yet. Revel in this delicious hypocrisy from Harry Reid:

Good morning. I’m Harry Reid from Nevada, the Democratic Leader in the Senate.

This weekend, spring has made it to Washington DC. From the window in my office in the Capitol, I can see down the Mall, past the Washington Monument and to the Lincoln Memorial. It’s a long way from my hometown of Searchlight, Nevada, and it’s quite a view. The famous cherry blossoms are in full bloom and the city is crowded with visitors — especially young people, here with their families or with their schools.

As the kids line up at the National Archives to see the original copies of the Constitution and the Bill of Rights, they’ll learn about “checks and balances” and “freedom of speech.” And when they’re done, I wish they would come down the street to the Capitol and teach some of what they’ve learned to the Congressional leaders of the Republican Party.

You see, in the past weeks, we’ve seen Republicans in Congress abuse their power in too many ways. We have a Republican leader threatening judges who protect our rights and corrupting our government by running roughshod over the ethics committee to protect himself.

Republicans are trying to increase their power even if it means ignoring rules that go back to America’s beginnings. They seem to think that they know better than our Founding Fathers. Somehow, I doubt that’s true.

In their latest move, President Bush and the Republican leadership are trying to ram through radical choices for judges who will serve a lifetime on the bench. They are trying to eliminate a two-hundred-year-old American rule that says that every member of the Senate has the right to rise to say their piece and speak on behalf of the people that sent them here.

This isn’t about some arcane procedures of the Senate. It is about protecting liberty and our limited government.

This isn’t about politics. In the past…two Democratic Presidents tried to take control of the judicial branch and Americans of all political stripes rightly spoke up to defeat those efforts.

It isn’t even about judges. The fact is that this President has a better record of having his judicial nominees approved than any President in the past twenty-five years. Only ten of 214 nominations have been turned down. And those ten had views that were totally out-of-touch with the mainstream values Americans share.

When it comes down to it, stripping away these important checks and balances is about the arrogance of those in power who want to rewrite the rules so that they can get their way.

It would mean that the U.S. Senate becomes merely a rubber stamp for the president.

It would mean that one political party – be it Republicans today or Democrats tomorrow – gets to have all the say over our nation’s highest courts.

It would remove the checks on the President’s power…meaning that one man, sitting in the White House, could personally hand out lifetime jobs to judges whose rulings on our basic rights can last forever.

That’s not how America works.

Here, in America, the people rule – and all the people have a voice.

Here, in America, our judges should be independent – not puppets dancing to the pull of one person in power or one political party’s agenda.

We cannot sit by and allow the corruption of America’s values in America’s Congress. The Republicans who run Washington should start using their power for the good of all Americans, not abusing it for their own benefit.

Our Constitution tells us that the courts should be free from political pressure and that our rights are protected by checks and balances.

Our children know that you can’t change the rules just to get your way. I think it’s time that Washington Republicans remembered those truths.

This is Senator Harry Reid. Thanks for listening.

Mad props to Morgen R. for that wonderful link. But please: don’t just read the transcript. Go to this link and listen to this mook solemnly intone these words. It really is the only way you get the full effect.

Isn’t that beautiful? The absolute professed devotion to principles, and the determined denial that it has anything to do with politics or judges, is not only classic hypocrisy of the first rank, but it also really helps put the lie to all the explanations we’re hearing today for why every Democrat on Earth has had a change of heart on this issue.

Now for the stuff you’ve already read and heard today — just in case any of you missed it. First, if you want some other juicy Harry Reid quotes on this issue, many are collected here (thanks to Hot Air). More analysis from Roger Pilon via Instapundit.

And now, of course, we have the Liar in Chief:

Obama 2005:

Obama 2013:

Between all this and the rank and laughable hypocrisy from the New York Times that I revealed earlier this evening, it is absolutely astounding that any thinking person would take any of these people seriously ever again.

AND NOW, FOR A SHORT AND JOYOUS THUMB-SUCKER ABOUT WHAT IT ALL MEANS: To me, this is liberating. I never believed in filibustering judicial nominees to begin with. Elections have consequences. Presidents deserve an up or down vote. The filibuster does not comport with the Constitution and it never did. We were fools to let the Democrats do it. Fools. Now, it’s never going to happen again. It is good and damned well never going to happen to a solid Republican nominee like Miguel Estrada again. Ever.

And those people who fretted about how they would take it from us if we took it from them? Guess what? We didn’t take it from them and they still took it from us. So what good did that achieve? Huh?

And please. Don’t assign any weight to the notion that the filibuster is still good for Supreme Court nominees. That’s the same sucker’s bet that you guys took when you let Democrats filibuster Miguel Estrada and try to filibuster Alito. You know what? The filibuster is still there for Supreme Court nominees . . . until the Democrats decide that it isn’t. And then, it won’t be. Read that Harry Reid quote again, and tell me that you think there is an ounce of principle on the Democratic side in the entire Senate. The second they decide they need to take away the filibuster for a controversial Supreme Court nominee, they will.

So rejoice in the disappearance of the filibuster on judicial nominees. It never should have been used to begin with, and it will never be used again, and good riddance. It may hurt a little in the short term, but in the long term, this is better for us.

We are going to ram this down their throats one day. Let me say that again. We are going to ram it right down their throats. And man, is that ever gonna feel good.

33 Responses to “More Stunning Hypocrisy from Harry Reid on Filibusters of Judicial Nominees”

  1. Ding.

    Patterico (9c670f)

  2. I think that, just before President Paul appoints Justices to the Court to bring them up to their full complement of 17, we should be sure to get rid of that nagging little leftover remnant of the old republic.

    Kevin M (bf8ad7)

  3. We are going to ram it right down their throats. And man, is that ever gonna feel good.

    Feel better it will, when shove it up their ass we do! Where their heads are located it is!

    Yoda (c1890a)

  4. I’ll go with Yoda and “start at the other end” with that ramming process. Bend over Harry.

    Comanche Voter (caea51)

  5. Also, I can foresee several rules changes done in the same way:

    1. On impeachments, “No” votes are not counted. The 2/3rds requirement, though, will be scrupulously honored.

    2. A quorum is whatever the presiding officer says it is. It might be 5.

    3. The presiding officer may select a secret ballot on any legislation, and then announce the results after destroying the ballots to preserve secrecy.

    4. Members may be sent to the corner and required to wear a dunce hat, by majority vote.

    All kinds of fun and games with this new method of arbitrarily changing the rules.

    Kevin M (bf8ad7)

  6. It’s the “emerged Left” signifying the end of phase one of the three phases of socialism. When the Left emerges from the shadows in any nation, it’s usually the death knell on the road to totalitarianism – either the soft one of the EU or the hard one of Hitler, Stalin, Mao. Call this phase the “always win phase”.
    The next phase that is beginning is the “always fail phase”. Obamacare is an example and is exceptional in that it happened a bit in advance of normal socialism.
    The final phase is the “chaos phase” where a period of collapse, sometimes a mild revival, then it’s back to phase one. Even the introduction of the “barbarians” in this phase is just another prelude to starting over at phase one.

    cedars rebellion (7ffc20)

  7. Hypocrisy is the default position of the Democrats, and we’ve known that at least since Tom Daschle was Majority Leader.

    The problem isn’t that the Senate Democrats are employing the “nuclear option” while they have the majority; the problem is that such strong Republican stalwarts like John McCain and Lindsey Graham sabotaged the efforts of the GOP to employ the nuclear option when it was good Republican judicial nominees who were being filibustered.

    Senator McCain made some noises recently that there were people who wanted him to run for President in 2016. Assuming that there were any actual Republicans in that group, they’ll now see what his compromise has wrought.

    Senator Graham is facing a primary challenge in the Palmetto State; let’s hope it succeeds.

    The hisorian Dana (3e4784)

  8. I would like to see a senator read Dear Harry’s speech out loud on the floor of the Senate.

    Simon Jester (86b56d)

  9. Too late, Simon. That chance was yesterday. Maybe they’re thinking what Patterico is — we’ll be the majority in the next Congress, booh-a-ha-ha. To be hoped.

    nk (dbc370)

  10. Breaking your own rules to change your rules seems like a bad idea.

    JD (c2096b)

  11. Sleaze-Ocrats in action.

    Rodney King's Spirit (5c6cbf)

  12. The key in the future is not to pack the courts.

    It is to pass legislation 51/50 that guts the institutions that support Liberalism.

    Govt Agencies

    Make the money disappear and the parasites will be disbanded.

    Rodney King's Spirit (5c6cbf)

  13. It’s one thing to be young and foolish but old, malevolent and foolish would be a terrible way to spend the twilight years of one’s life.

    Colonel Haiku (e807c3)

  14. pack the courts too but ….. destroy the institutions first.

    Rodney King's Spirit (5c6cbf)

  15. . It never should have been used to begin with, and it will never be used again, and good riddance.

    It will, with much lecturing, be re-instituted at the end of the session, should the next election go badly for the Democrats.

    And McCain and Graham (or someone filling in for them) will go on the talk shows and say how this is a restoration of a good idea, and really, it never should have been done in the first place, but water under the bridge and…

    If 2014 goes well, of course, no need for any changes. Just when it’s going to benefit the Republicans.

    Unix-Jedi (373e32)

  16. How it probably went down:

    Reid: John, I’ve got to do something. That SCOAMF is making all Democrats look bad, and food stamps and free contraception are not enough to keep the LIVs tame.
    McCain: Harry, I sympathize, I really do. You’ve seen the wacko-birds I’m having to deal with.
    Reid: Make it look like you’re putting up a good fight. A real tight vote. I’ll even get three of my guys from purple states to vote with you. That way we’ll both be covered and even look good with our great unwasheds.
    McCain: Sounds like a plan, Harry. Consider it done. Heh! The best part will be Cruz, Lee, and Paul not knowing which end is up. Heh! They’ll go on thinking that all this bulls**t is for real. Heh!
    Reid: Heh! Hey, I meant to ask you. Do you have the AIPAC donors’ breakfast on Thursday or do I?
    McCain: You have AIPAC on Thursday. I have the Chamber of Commerce. On Friday, I have AIPAC and you have the Teamsters. On Saturday, I’m flying home, but don’t forget your luncheon with the NRA.
    Reid: Thanks. I thought so too, but it’s hard to keep this fundraising every day straight.

    nk (dbc370)

  17. It’s gratifying to see Democratic lies and hypocrisy pointed out, but Democrats no longer care about lies or hypocrisy and I’m not sure most Americans care, either.

    DRJ (a83b8b)

  18. It’s gratifying to see Democratic lies and hypocrisy pointed out, but Democrats no longer care about lies or hypocrisy and I’m not sure most Americans care, either.

    Comment by DRJ (a83b8b) — 11/22/2013 @ 6:32 am

    That may be, although it’s a sad thought. But what do you think accounts for Obama’s plummeting approval ratings if not a recognition of all the lies he told? I think we’re reaching a tipping point in the perception of him.

    But even if only Republicans care, let’s point out the hypocrisy and lies, so that a scenario like Unix-Jedi suggests might happen (restoration of the filibuster if we get in power) never ever happens.

    When we get in, we flex our muscles for once. We badly need a collection of solid judges to repeal all the leftist bull excrement that has become standard in the courts.

    Harry Reid was warned. Our conscience is now clear. This is a good thing.

    Patterico (9c670f)

  19. I think the plummeting rates indicate people don’t trust Obama to tell them the truth, but that doesn’t make ObamaCare go away and I don’t think it’s going to stop Obama from implementing his agenda by executive orders over the next 3 years.

    My concern is that once all these things take effect, including ObamaCare, they will be difficult or impossible to undo even if they are unpopular. Instead of stopping liberal programs from becoming law, our task will be to chip away at existing laws and programs. That’s something Republicans have historically found even harder to do than preventing liberal programs from being passed in the first place.

    DRJ (a83b8b)

  20. This is really all about the DC Courts. He is trying to push 3 new Judges onto that Court.

    JD (c2096b)

  21. I think that 51 votes to repeal should be the new standard.

    JD (c2096b)

  22. I don’t deny the importance of the courts but I also don’t think they will save Republicans from liberal policies as they have in the past. Most of that will be the result of liberal court-packing during the Clinton and Obama years, but a part is also due to John Roberts’ view that any change should be incremental. IMO it’s too late for incremental change.

    DRJ (a83b8b)

  23. I came out in favor of the nuclear option in 2004, just after Bush’s reelection.

    Put aside, for purposes of argument, any consideration of who’s currently the POTUS and which party controls the Senate. Look to the Constitution.

    The Constitution doesn’t require the Senate’s consent to presidential nominations — and indeed, nominees can and sometimes should be rejected outright, instead of confirmed — but it does clearly envision that the Senate not ignore those nominations. You can’t “advise,” and you can neither consent to or reject a nominee, if you don’t hold a vote.

    Until George W. Bush was president, the filibuster hadn’t been used on nominees. That was a hallowed tradition of the Senate, one of comity that dated back to Jefferson, but that is and has always been extraconstitutional. Indeed, there’s nothing in the Constitution to guarantee the Senate’s tradition of unlimited debate or the availability of any sort of filibuster. But this self-restraint nevertheless enhanced the Senate’s traditional, and extremely useful, function as the “saucer to cool the hot coffee of the House,” and as a conservative skeptical of change, I applauded and appreciated it.

    But the Democrats have long since abandoned notions like comity, self-restraint, and even honesty. Instead you have shameless jackle-clowns like Harry Reid running the show, and for them, partisanship of the moment trumps every other consideration.

    The notion that this rule change will not affect SCOTUS nominees is the stupidest and funniest talking point of the Twenty-First Century.

    Beldar (8ff56a)

  24. One advantage to being on the left is that you can wake up to a brand new day, everyday.

    AZ Bob (ade845)

  25. And while I’m at it: If you want to understand the United States Senate and its role in American history, there is no better single-volume book for that than Robert A. Caro’s Master of the Senate, the third volume in Caro’s “The Years of Lyndon Johnson” series.

    Beldar (8ff56a)

  26. Legal Insurrection’s post is must read.

    Democrats nuked the ratchet

    The seemingly inexorable march towards economic socialism and political statism has been accomplished through legislative and judicial ratchets which, once established, were all but impossible to reverse in part because the filibuster helped lock in the agenda and those supporting the agenda.

    Because of the ratchet, the nation moved only in one direction: Towards redistribution of wealth, and bigger government.

    Because of the ratchet, there was little or no hope of fundamental reversals.

    Not anymore.

    When Democrats — the embodiment of redistribution and statism — exercised the Nuclear Option yesterday, they blew up the ratchet. The filibuster is dead for all purposes, even if superficially only as to non-Supreme Court nomninees. No one will respect the filibuster for Supreme Court nominees or important legislation — the Senate can’t be half pregnant.

    Former Conservative (1b569c)

  27. Color me unstunned.
    The ends ALWAYS justify the means.
    They don’t care if they look like hypocrites, especially since they’re counting on the MSM to cover for them.

    Icy (bd2739)

  28. Reid’s stunning antithetical positions on judicial filibusters is not his first adventure in hypocrisy. Back when Bush was prez and immigration/amnesty was the hot issue, Drudge linked (on Thomas) a speech Harry Reid had made on the Senate floor some years earlier. I remember being so surprised to learn of his earlier opposition to amnesty and that he argued his position clearly and intelligently. It was truly the first and only time I have ever thought that Reid might actually have a brain. His prior speech expressed my own opinions quite nicely, but by the time Drudge linked it, his position had flipped to the opposite side.

    Thomas has an infuriating practice of keeping a link live for only 30 minutes, so if you don’t click a link soon after a blogger posts it, you are out of luck (it happened to me again just last week). I was never able to return to the Thomas page and copy the text of Reid’s old speech for my own files.

    So, to get to the point of this comment at last: I don’t know how to find the speech that Drudge linked long ago, although I have searched Thomas and Google for Reid’s old immigration speech several times over the years. I am hoping that someone with better Thomas skills than mine will want to add Reid’s immigration speech to the filibuster speech Patterico quoted in this post — it would help establish Reid’s hypocrisy as a pattern of behavior, not a one-time lapse in judgment. For myself, I would appreciate a link that is not time-sensitive (not Thomas!); pasting the entire text of Reid’s immigration speech into a blog post or the comments section or someplace with long-term accessibility would be better. I enjoy being able to whip out a link that supports the objective of a blogger’s post. I cannot produce a link to Reid’s immigration speech in support of Patterico’s point today, but I do have another link to share. Poor Richard’s News posted a surprising example of Reid’s ability to argue diametrically opposed opinions in July of 2012:

    pa (4f643b)

  29. One reason why I often observe and point out trends in other countries, from the extreme of Venezuela or Argentina to the slightly less extreme of France or Greece, is because, while the US has a different history and political structure than societies long roiled by banana-republic leftism, the human nature here in America nonetheless is not all that vastly different from what’s found in Venezuela or France (or EU countries in general), or Mexico, etc.

    That’s why ideas and trends — or circumstances — that are very foolish or corrupt, and that generally all originate from the left (eg, the use and notion of the filibuster shamelessly manipulated one way in the past, another way today, and undoubtedly another way in the future), will metastasize throughout a society the same way that cancer metastasizes throughout the human body.

    The arrival of Obama in 2008 (even if only symbolically) is a moment in US history that this nation will never live down.

    Mark (58ea35)

  30. Patterico:

    That may be, although it’s a sad thought.

    I think most Americans are fairly cynical about promises by politicians from both sides of the aisle. Instead, the public looks at whether a politician’s policies and promises work. The public will support Obama’s policies (including ObamaCare) if they work, even if they became law by lies and hypocrisy. The public won’t support things that don’t work, but I’m not convinced the rhetoric politicians use matters as much as it used to. Deeds matter more than words.

    DRJ (a83b8b)

  31. R.I.P. Sylvia Browne, ‘psychic’
    And when I say “R.I.P.” I mean GOOD RIDDANCE TO BAD BULLSH*T.

    Icy (bd2739)

  32. The Honorable[sic] Senator … does not deserve that form of address.

    htom (412a17)

  33. I’m not mad at Harry Reid, for the scorpion stings because.

    But McCain and Graham (and the other Gang of 14 Republicans) were/are fools and it was pointed it out at the time that Democrats would most certainly go nuclear the first chance they had.

    Shocked, gambling, winnings sir.

    Memories (5b4e33)

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