On Thursday, Senate Democrats “eased the way for swift approval of President Barack Obama’s current and future nominees” by invoking the so-called “nuclear option,” as reported today by Alan Fram of Boston.com.
Paul Kane of the Washington Post reported that the move will result in “severely curtailing the political leverage of the Republican minority in the Senate and assuring an escalation of partisan warfare.”
But as with so many other issues, Harry Reid and President Obama’s were against the nuclear option before they were for it.
In 2005, Harry Reid posted a statement (since scrubbed) on his website invoking the founding father’s vision of limited government and checks and balances that was captured by RealClearPolitics. Of the nuclear option, Reid said in part,
“But now, in order to break down the separation of powers and ram through their appointees to the judicial branch, President Bush and the Republican leadership want to eliminate a two-hundred-year-old American rule saying that every member of the Senate can rise to say their piece and speak on behalf of the people that sent them here.”
It was not the only time Reid decried the nuclear option. Andrew Kaczynski of Buzzfeed compiled other such statements before they were removed from Reid’s website.
This week, President Obama pushed to get rid of opposition to his appointees in a press release where he says in part,
“…it is time for simple yes-or-no votes without further obstruction or delay.”
But in 2005, then-Senator Obama had quite a different take, declaring in a 2005 speech posted at ObamaSpeeches.com,
“I rise today to urge my colleagues to think about the implications the nuclear option would have on this chamber and this country. I urge you to think not just about winning every debate, but about protecting free and democratic debate.”
Obama further lamented,
“What they [the American people] don’t expect is for one party – be it Republican or Democrat – to change the rules in the middle of the game so that they can make all the decisions while the other party is told to sit down and keep quiet.”
But yet, that is exactly what the Democrats are doing now. President Obama is squashing dissent in the form of the nuclear option, which he now endorses.
In 2005, Obama said,
“…if the right of free and open debate is taken away from the minority party and the millions of Americans who asked us to be their voice, I fear that the already partisan atmosphere of Washington will be poisoned to the point where no one will be able to agree on anything.”
Perhaps Obama is no longer concerned about the voice of the minority party, now that he is the President.
Hillary Clinton also bashed the nuclear option, saying,
“If you can’t get 60 votes for a nominee, maybe you should think about who you’re sending to us to be confirmed.”
Click on the video to watch Clinton’s impassioned speech.
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