Browsing the blog archivesfor the day Friday, November 22nd, 2013.

A Tale of Two Editorial Boards

Obama Administration

If there were a competition for cluelessness between the editorial boards of the New York Times and the Washington Post, Wapo would win, hands down. Behold their opinions of the filibuster bomb:

The New York Times, in an editorial headlined Democracy Returns to the Senate:

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. …

… It would have been unthinkable just a few months ago, when the majority leader, Harry Reid, was still holding out hope for a long-lasting deal with Republicans and insisting that federal judges, because of their lifetime appointments, should still be subject to supermajority thresholds. But Mr. Reid, along with all but three Senate Democrats, was pushed to act by the Republicans’ refusal to allow any appointments to the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit, just because they wanted to keep a conservative majority on that important court.

That move was as outrageous as the tactic they used earlier this year to try to cripple the National Labor Relations Board and the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (which they despise) by blocking all appointments to those agencies. That obstruction was removed in July when Mr. Reid threatened to end the filibuster and Republicans backed down. The recent blockade of judges to the D.C. appellate court was the last straw. .

…Given the extreme degree of Republican obstruction during the Obama administration, the Democrats had little choice but to change the filibuster rule….Today’s vote was an appropriate use of that power, and it was necessary to turn the Senate back into a functioning legislative body.

The Washington Post, After filibuster vote, both parties will face nasty ‘nuclear’ fallout:

THE REWRITING of filibuster rules by Senate Democrats on Thursday changed the legislative body in fundamental ways, and for the worse. Republicans whose unjustified recalcitrance provoked the change should be ashamed. Democrats who are celebrating will soon enough regret their decision. The radical action, a product of poisonous partisanship, will also be an accelerant of poisonous partisanship. …

…The impact of changing the rules in this way may be even more far-reaching. The Democratic action sets a precedent that a future Republican majority will use to change procedures when it gets into a political jam, rather than negotiate with Democrats. The logical outcome is a Senate operating more like the House, with no rights for the minority, no reason for debate and no incentive to cooperate. For those who view that as an improvement, we offer today’s House as a counterargument.

Democrats understood all this very well when they were in the minority. “You may own the field right now,” then-Delaware Sen. Joseph R. Biden Jr. (D) said in 2005, when Republicans threatened to invoke the nuclear option. “But you won’t own it forever. And I pray to God when the Democrats take back control we don’t make the kind of naked power grab you are doing.” Republicans resisted pushing the nuclear button then; both parties should have stepped back and hammered out a bipartisan compromise reform now.

This time Republicans proved incapable of exercising their minority rights in a responsible way. Majority Leader Harry M. Reid (D-Nev.) proved not enough of a leader to resist the “naked power grab.” American democracy is that much poorer as a result.

From the comments:

Let’s see … the Democrats and Republicans should have compromised, but Republicans refused to compromised, therefore it was wrong for Democrats to take action.

This is an editorial so stupid it could only have been written by Fred Hiatt.

Seriously. The genteel, bipartisan Senate you are mourning died awhile back, Fred, and its corpse rotted. You didn’t smell it?

Charles Pierce wrote, “They may need the Jaws of Life to pry Ruth Marcus off the fainting couch.” Yep; Marcus is furious with the Democrats because (as she admits) Republicans forced their hand to end the filibuster, and they actually did it. She is even now swooning on the sofa and calling for smelling salts.

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