When President Obama praised Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid for changing the Senate’s rules to invoke the “nuclear option” on judicial nominees, he made a liar out of himself.
In a White House statement, according to Politico, Obama said Republicans were blocking his judicial nominees based on politics, not the nominees’ history.
“This isn’t obstruction on substance, on qualifications,” he said. “It’s just to gum up the works.”
That’s not what he had to say in 2005, when the Republican Senate majority was considering invoking the “nuclear option” because of constant Democrat obstructionism for President Bush’s judicial appointments, like conservative Hispanic Miguel Estrada. Speaking as junior senator from Illinois, Obama said forcing the majority party to compromise was a minority party’s job.
“I believe some of my colleagues propose this rule change because they can get away with it rather than because they know it is good for our democracy,” he said then.
Now, of course, he says otherwise.
“Over the past five years, we’ve seen an unprecedented pattern of obstruction in Congress that’s prevented too much of the American people’s business from getting done,” Obama said. “Today’s pattern of obstruction just isn’t normal. We can’t allow it to become normal.”
Actually, it’s completely normal and he knows it. If it weren’t, there wouldn’t have been a “nuclear option” fight in 2005. It’s also something the Republican leadership resisted doing, despite enormous pressure from the conservative base to seat qualified, conservative judges while a Republican was president and the party in charge of the Senate.
As a senator, Obama opposed outside pressure. As a president, including one who snarled openly at the Supreme Court during a State-of-the-Union address, Obama is outside pressure personified.
“I understand that Republicans are getting a lot of pressure to do this from factions outside the Chamber,” Obama said in 2005 (quotes compliments of the Heritage Foundation). “But we need to rise above ‘the ends justify the means’ mentality because we are here to answer to the people — all of the people, not just the ones who are wearing our particular party label.”
Only Republican ends don’t justify the means, apparently. When they’re Democrat ends, Obama will embrace any means necessary.
But minority leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., said the best Republican answer is coming – from the American people in 2014.
“The solution to this problem is an election. The solution to this problem is at the ballot box,” he said. “We look forward to having a great election on 2014.”
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