What Else Is In Scott's Head?

The blog site for writer Scott C. Smith. Some observations on the world we live in and life in general. And maybe some politics.

Saturday, May 28, 2005

Political Short Term Memory

Conservatives are bitching that Senate Democrats used cloture (cloture - The only procedure by which the Senate can vote to place a time limit on consideration of a bill or other matter, and thereby overcome a filibuster. Under the cloture rule...the Senate may limit consideration of a pending matter to 30 additional hours, but only by vote of three-fifths of the full Senate, normally 60 votes.) to block voting on controversial ambassadorial candidate John Bolton. Senate Democrats wanted to review various memos and papers on Bolton; the White House said Democrats had all of the documents they needed.

So the Bolton vote was blocked, and now the right-wing are complaining that by using cloture, Democrats were violating the agreement they had reached earlier this week with Republicans to prevent Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist from invoking his "nuclear" option to eliminate the filibuster.

Right-wingers are saying that Democrats are "obstructionist" and have apparently forgotten the terms of the filibuster agreement. Here it is:

Under the terms, Democrats agreed to allow final confirmation votes for Priscilla Owen, Janice Rogers Brown and William Pryor, named to appeals court seats. There is no commitment to vote for or against filibuster against two other conservatives named to appeals courts, Henry Saad and William Myers.

The agreement said future judicial nominees should only be filibustered under extraordinary circumstances, with each senator, presumably the Democrats,h olding the discretion to decide when those conditions had been met. Officials said the pact was intended to cover the Supreme Court as well as other levels ojudiciarydicary.

So, the deal does not include votes on people like John Bolton, as he is not a judicial nominee. Still, conservatives bitch and moan about the Bolton cloture, acting like this is the first time in the history of the world that a political party blocked the vote on a presidential nominee. Which happened numerous times during Bill Clinton's terms as president. Here's one example: Republicans attempting to block the nomination of a Clinton nominee for surgeon general.

Bottom line, both parties have used the same Senate procedures for decades. Right-wingers need to think harder to remember the politics of the 1990s, and the games they played, which are no different than what we're seeing today. In other words, business as usual.


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