Thursday, May 19, 2005

Compare and Contrast

A contrast offered via TalkLeft Santorum Compares Democrats to Hitler:
Said Santorum: "What the Democrats are doing is "the equivalent of Adolf Hitler in 1942 saying, 'I'm in Paris. How dare you invade me. How dare you bomb my city? It's mine.' This is no more the rule of the senate than it was the rule of the senate before not to filibuster."
But three months ago he said:

"Senator Byrd's inappropriate remarks comparing his Republican colleagues with Nazis are inexcusable. These comments lessen the credibility of the senator and the decorum of the Senate. He should retract his statement and ask for pardon."

At what point does "Man bites dog" stop being news? Is "Prominent Republican is hypocritical" really news any longer?

Setting the hypocrisy aside, what the hell is he claiming? That the filibuster was never used against judges?

That's not what Common Dreams (along with Bill Frist and Orrin Hatch) say:

Myth 2: Judicial filibusters are unprecedented. Republicans insist that judicial filibusters never happened before. Frist put it this way: "In February 2003 the minority radically broke with tradition and precedent and launched the first-ever filibuster of a judicial nominee who had majority support." In truth, no one should understand the legitimacy of judicial filibusters better than Bill Frist. On March 9, 2000, Frist participated in a filibuster of Richard Paez, President Clinton's nominee to the Ninth Circuit. When confronted about his vote late last year, Frist claimed he filibustered Paez for "scheduling" purposes. Not true. A press release by former Senator Bob Smith titled "Smith Leads Effort to Block Activist Judicial Nominees" plainly states that the intent of the filibuster was to "block" the Paez nomination.

In fact, Paez was only one of at least six filibusters Republicans attempted during the Clinton years. Senator Orrin Hatch and others argue that these filibusters don't count because they ultimately weren't successful in blocking the nominees. All that proves, however, is that Clinton's nominees were moderate enough to secure sixty votes. It also suggests the remedy to Bush's problem: Stop nominating extremist judges to the federal bench.
And Abe Fortas was filibustered too.

This isn't about Hitler entering Paris, it's about DeGaulle, or Ike. No one disputes DeGaulle's right to challenge and even act to prevent Marshal Pétain from doing harm to France. Indeed, no one disputes Eisenhower's right to get involved, within reasonable limits.

It's about the limits. The filibuster gives vehement opposition greater weight than indifferent support.