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Filibuster Hyprocricy And the Case of Sen. Strangelove
#1
Nice piece in the Wall Street Journal today about the blatant hypocricy of the Democratic Senators and how they have conveniently changed their tune now the shoe is on the other foot.

Quote:Sen. Barbara Boxer is a longtime opponent of judicial nomination filibusters. Or she was. Suddenly the light has dawned, and she realizes how wrong she was to oppose them: "I thought I knew everything. I didn't get it. . . . I am here to say I was totally wrong."

Other Democratic senators have had similar changes in belief: Joe Biden and Robert Byrd, Tom Harkin, Ted Kennedy, Joe Lieberman, Pat Leahy, Chuck Schumer and their erstwhile colleagues Lloyd Bentsen, and Tom Daschle have all vigorously opposed the use of the filibuster against judicial nominations. Mr. Schumer was for voting judicial nominations "up or down" without delay. Mr. Leahy flatly opposed a filibuster against Clarence Thomas's Supreme Court nomination: "The president and the nominee and all Americans deserve an up-or-down vote." Mr. Harkin believed "the filibuster rules are unconstitutional," Mr. Daschle declared that "democracy means majority rule, not minority gridlock," and Mr. Kennedy that "senators who believe in fairness will not let the minority of the Senate deny [the nominee] his vote by the entire Senate."

But that was then, when Democrats controlled the Senate. Now, they are a frustrated minority and it is different. Mr. Leahy has voted against cloture to end filibusters 21 out of 26 times; Mr. Kennedy, 18 out of 23. Now all these Senators practice and defend the use of filibusters against judicial nominees.

This fundamental change in deeply held liberal beliefs has made a difference. Sen. Orrin Hatch notes that in the 108th Congress (2003-04) the Senate "voted on motions to end debate on judicial nominations 20 times. Each vote failed." Of the 51 judicial nominees President Bush has put forward for the circuit courts of appeals, 35 have been confirmed, 10 have been "debated" without conclusion--filibustered--and six were threatened with a filibuster so no action has been taken on their nomination. Mr. Bush nominated Justice Priscilla Owen of the Texas Supreme Court for the Fifth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals almost four years ago. She has the highest possible rating from the American Bar Association but has been filibustered four times by a Senate minority that once devoutly believed filibustering was morally wrong and clearly unconstitutional.

The question is this: just how long will it take them to finally give up their blatant hypocricy? I realize that the lie gets half way around the world before the truth even has a chance to get it's pants on, but sooner or later the truth will have to finally catch up.

I wonder when?
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#2
Here is what James Taranto has to say about the less than impartial poll on the subject by the Washington Post.
Quote:The Post's Phony Poll
"Filibuster Rule Change Opposed" is the headline of the lead story in today's Washington Post. The paper reports on a poll of 1,007 "randomly selected adults." The results are here (PDF), and the relevant questions are No. 34 and No. 36, which appear on page 13 (both, for some reason, after No. 35):

34. The Senate has confirmed 35 federal appeals court judges nominated by Bush, while Senate Democrats have blocked 10 others. Do you think the Senate Democrats are right to block these nominations? Do you feel that way strongly or somewhat?

Result: Right 48% (22% strongly, 26% somewhat), wrong 36% (17% strongly, 19% somewhat). Here's the other question:

36. Would you support or oppose changing Senate rules to make it easier for the Republicans to confirm Bush's judicial nominees?

Results: Support 26%, oppose 66%.

Read these questions carefully and you'll see that the Post's headline is false. The poll not only doesn't use the word filibuster; it doesn't even describe the procedure. The way the question is worded, the Democrats could have "blocked" the nominations by the normal method of voting them down--and there is no reason to think that "randomly selected adults" would have been paying enough attention to know the difference. (Tellingly, the poll asks how closely participants have been following the Tom DeLay kerfuffle--only 36% say even "somewhat" closely--but does not ask the same question about the judge issue.)

The introduction to the question should have been worded: ". . . Senate Democrats have used a procedure called the filibuster to block a vote on 10 others." As it is, this poll is either a very sloppy bit of work or a deliberate attempt to mislead the Post's readers--including members of the U.S. Senate.
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#3
I am by no means an expert on opinion polls, and how to conduct one in an unbiased fashion, but these questions sure seem intended to purposefully slant the results. Doesn't that sort of make the opinions expressed the opinions of the pollsters? Not necessarily the opinions of the individuals polled?

edited to correct incorrect word choice!
[Image: SalmaHayekcopy.jpg]
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#4
Biker Dude Wrote:I am by no means an expert on opinion polls, and how to conduct one in an unbiased fashion, but these questions sure seem intended to purposefully slant the results. Doesn't that sort of make the opinions expressed the opinions of the pollsters? Not necessarily the opinions of the individuals polled?

Todays 'so called' news organizations are good at creating the news, especially if it is slanted in the direction that those particular organizations wish for it to be.

I read another article today that quoted the New York Times and a remark by one of the writers who mentioned this very same thing about how you think up a topic and ask the right questions, and they press it enought to get the new outlet's attention, then they trumpet it until it becomes the accepted fact, and what do you have? Why a fact, that's what. I wish I could find it to post here.

I read too many articles.

S6
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#5
Here it is!

A few years ago The New York Times ran a cartoon that showed two Washington DC policy experts having a conversation. "In Washington the search for truth is a creative process. First, you create a premise. Next you create a statistic to back it up. Then you create an audience by repeating it over and over again, until the media pick it up. That's when you know that you've done it."

"Done what?"

"Created a fact!"

Now does that sound like just what the NY Times, Washington Post, and other do as a natural occurance?

I think So!! Wink1 S6
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#6
Pick what you want your fact to be. Check. Create statistic to back up your new found 'fact'. Check. Talk loudly about your new found 'fact'. Check. Continue until it is commonly accepted as a fact, and you can then remove the quotation marks from around it. Gotcha.

Seems like I see this happen a lot. My kids are good at it. Does that mean they are going to be politicians, or news people? Or should I just lock them in the basement until they are old enough to move out? :twisted:

Nice article though, thanks John! This being aware of what's going on around you takes work dammit!
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#7
BikerDude Wrote:Nice article though, thanks John! This being aware of what's going on around you takes work dammit!

You're right, it does require a certain amount of effort, but it is fun to be able to poke the finger of knowledge in the eye of the Left and the kooks. S6
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#8
John, I would prefer to be ready to poke fingers into both left eyes and right eyes. (Nyuk, nyuk!)

I figure that if I upset conservatives, and also upset liberals, and if moderates say that I am too extreme, then I must be pretty much OK.
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#9
An interesting exercise in critiquing polls.

Email from Brit Hume:

Quote:The Washington Post has a front-page headline Tuesday, based on its new poll, that says, "Filibuster Rule Change Opposed." But the poll makes no mention of filibusters, whatsoever. Nor does it mention that new rules would apply to all future Presidents, Democrat or Republican, or to any Senate, Democrat or Republican. Instead the Post/ABC News poll asked, "Would you support or oppose changing Senate rules to make it easier for the Republicans to confirm Bush's judicial nominees?"

To that, 66 percent said no. If you doubt whether the framing of a poll question can influence the outcome, consider this: When a Republican poll said, "Even if they disagree with a judge, Senate Democrats should at least allow the President's nominations to be voted on," 81 percent said they agreed.
"I detest the man who hides one thing in the depths of his heart and speaks forth another"
-Homer
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#10
Baldar Wrote:An interesting exercise in critiquing polls.

Email from Brit Hume:

Quote:The Washington Post has a front-page headline Tuesday, based on its new poll, that says, "Filibuster Rule Change Opposed." But the poll makes no mention of filibusters, whatsoever. Nor does it mention that new rules would apply to all future Presidents, Democrat or Republican, or to any Senate, Democrat or Republican. Instead the Post/ABC News poll asked, "Would you support or oppose changing Senate rules to make it easier for the Republicans to confirm Bush's judicial nominees?"

To that, 66 percent said no. If you doubt whether the framing of a poll question can influence the outcome, consider this: When a Republican poll said, "Even if they disagree with a judge, Senate Democrats should at least allow the President's nominations to be voted on," 81 percent said they agreed.

Yes, I watched him state that on the report last night. I will grant the left that he is opinionated, because he is. But I honestly believe his opinion to generally be right on the money. And I am convinced that he loves to mix things up with Juan Williams, because Williams is a typically emotion laden Collectivist who has an overabundance of emotion ruling his logic. it is so much fun to watch Britt treat him the child he rightly appears.
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#11
:lol:

Democrats are ethically weak? Wow.

I think I'll actually have to quote Baldar on this one:

Baldar Wrote:You make it sound as if this is some great discovery on your part. Sigh, its not.
[Image: maxwell_sm.gif] "Somebody better do their homework." -- Jordan Maxwell
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#12
I'm thinking that Frist and the Republican leadership have it wrong on this one.

The alternate strategy should be "Bring it ON!!!".

The "threat" here is that the Democrats will "shut down government" if the trigger is pulled on the so-called Nuclear Option. The whole idea of a filibuster IS to shut down government. Without getting into the whole examination of polling and polling techniques, there are some indications that it is popular with the public. Heck it's popular with me! For my particular trigger issue, it's really the last resort mechanism to prevent further erosion of the Second Amendment. Frist today intoned that the "Judicial Nuclear Option" would never morph into the "Legislative Nuclear Option". I don't believe it. There is no way that the Dems will let that one go!! No hundred hour cap like Frist was proposing today ... Let it go ... Let it go as far as it CAN go. Let the folks denying the vote make their case ... and make it again .. and again ... until everyone is sick of it!

I realize that there are some big fish to fry in the Senate, but why not shut it down now and avoid the wait? Put one of the disputed judges up for a vote and let the thing run it's course a 'la "Mr Smith goes to Washington". Only something tells me that Harry Reid is going to come off anything like Jimmy Stuart. There is still time ... plenty ... It has the potential of removing a valuable legislative tactic from jeopardy .. reduce the impact on the majority ... and make the Dems put their mouth where their ... :oops: ---- OK ... mouth is. The public likes the filibuster because it cripples the government. The less they DO, in general, the lests it cost everyone else. So for god sake let it happen .. the sooner the better!
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#13
mr_yak Wrote:The alternate strategy should be "Bring it ON!!!".

Absolutely! and that is exactly what Dick Morris so states. In A better option on judges: Bring on a real filibuster, he believes that it would be best to call the bluff of the Democrats. And I agree with him.

Please read the article. It's a good one. Wink1
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#14
Thanks for the article ... but I disagree with Dick Morris.

Quote:When vote after vote for closure fails, usually by the same deadening margin, the voters will increasingly see the case for squelching the filibuster and then the nuclear option would be welcome by the nation.

Mr Smith Goes to Washington has it's place. The mechanism is too far too valuable to do away with. The idea is that if an elected representative (or small group of them) really has an honest stand to make, there is a vehicle ... a painfully visible public vehicle. But equating the fact that a judge happens to be a Catholic or Baptist (Pickering?) to the idea that he/she is necessarily an "extremist" does not strike me as particularly honest. In that respect Morris is absolutely correct. Let them talk themselves totally out of their own credibility! Hell, let them do it two, three, four times ... or what ever it takes! I hope Frist is listening to that aspect of the strategy and abandons dropping the axe on the device itself. Because it is a powerful device.
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