Monday, June 06, 2005
The party of crack-smoking: OK, so maybe that's not the nicest description for our opponents on the other side of the aisle, but a recent back-and-forth between former Clinton attack-man Sidney Blumenthal and the Powerline guys has me thinking that at least some Democrats' minds must be twisted by some illicit drug.
The debate began here when Powerline took Blumenthal to task over a claim in a London Guardian column that Republicans had "filibustered" 65 Clinton nominees at the end of Clinton's second term. Blumenthal came back with a short note which highlighted this helpful chart that demonstrates that Blumenthal was correct only if any and every procedural maneuver that can be used to halt a judicial nominee is defined as a "filibuster." It's like calling every murder a "gun crime" even if the tool used to kill the person is sometimes a knife, sometimes a lead pipe and sometimes a candlestick (no, I'm not going to list every "Clue" murder weapon).
Yes, I find most all of the procedural shenanigans that Republicans and Democrats have resorted to over the years to hold up judicial -- and other -- nominations odious. I think Republicans should've voted a slew of Clinton nominees down.
But let's get back to that chart, because there are some revealing bits of politics being played too.
The table, at the very bottom, gives us a scorecard:
Clinton: 56 nominees, 21 renominations, 7 hearings, 1 vote, 1 confirmation
Now, these aren't the sum total of Clinton's nominees. Don't be misled into thinking that Clinton only got one judge through during his eight years in office.
First, nominees 38 through 56 were all nominated during Clinton's last year in office. That's 18 judges, some of whom didn't have their FBI background checks processed before having their nominations moved to the Senate by President Clinton.
Second, many of these "renominations" are laughingly bogus. Check out nominee numbers 8, 9, 11, 12, 13, 16, and 17. All of them were renominated by Clinton in 2001 -- after President Bush had won the election. You've got to be under the influence of several highly illegal drugs to expect that the opposing party is going to act on judicial nominees by an outgoing lame duck president.
If this is the quality of the argument that there is a long history of judicial filibusters, then it falls of its own weight. It's laughable.
Of course, we knew this already.
It would've been nice, however, if the press had played the Democrats' shattering of precedent in using the filibuster this way with as much shock and awe as they've played Republican attempts to break it.
*UPDATE* I've responded to Quiddity's complaints/attacks here.