March 29, 2005


Walking in the Opposition's Shoes (NY Times, 3/29/05)

While the filibuster has not traditionally been used to stop judicial confirmations, it seems to us this is a matter in which it's most important that a large minority of senators has a limited right of veto. Once confirmed, judges can serve for life and will remain on the bench long after Mr. Bush leaves the White House. And there are few responsibilities given to the executive and the legislature that are more important than choosing the members of the third co-equal branch of government. The Senate has an obligation to do everything in its power to ensure the integrity of the process.

A decade ago, this page expressed support for tactics that would have gone even further than the "nuclear option" in eliminating the power of the filibuster. At the time, we had vivid memories of the difficulty that Senate Republicans had given much of Bill Clinton's early agenda. But we were still wrong. To see the filibuster fully, it's obviously a good idea to have to live on both sides of it. We hope acknowledging our own error may remind some wavering Republican senators that someday they, too, will be on the other side and in need of all the protections the Senate rules can provide.

Actually, what it reminds us is that only one party is required by the press to meet heightened standards, while the other is invited to use any means necessary.

Posted by Orrin Judd at March 29, 2005 7:26 AM

And of course the Times will slip right back into it's "error" the next time a Democratic president faces a Republican House.

Posted by: Brandon at March 29, 2005 8:22 AM

If--to conjure a repellent thought--the Democrats were to regain a majority in the Senate and 40 Republicans (minus Chafee, Collins, McCain, and Snowe, of course) were blocking some leftish brainstorm, you may depend upon it that the People's Editorial Commissars at the Times would endearingly confess once again that they had been in error. They are, of course, right about being in error. They simply do not appreciate how often this occurs, and upon which issues.

Posted by: Axel Kassel at March 29, 2005 8:23 AM

Absolutely Shameless.

Posted by: Robert Schwartz at March 29, 2005 9:14 AM

I think that what is really going on is the last gasp of an elite, led by the NY Times, that cannot accept that we have elections to decide what direction the nation is to be taken and insists on thwarting the will of the majority by any means possible.

Get over it, NY Times -- you lost. You will continue to be on the wrong side of every issue until you recognize that you do not speak for the majority.

Posted by: Morrie at March 29, 2005 9:44 AM

I assume Gail Collins doesn't even read her own editorial page once it goes out, since the Times published Sen. John Cornyn's letter several weeks ago reminding the paper that they took the opposite position on filibusters during the Clinton Administration.

Of course, having heard Ms. Collins pontificate in person about the 2000 election before the fact, I can safely say her attitude is the rules should be what the Times wants them to be, and like the old controversial "when rape is inevitable" saying, everyone else should just lay back and enjoy it. With that mindset, a contradictory editorial like this one is inevitable.

Posted by: John at March 29, 2005 9:58 AM

not only is it shameless, it's HILARIOUS!

Posted by: JonofAtlanta at March 29, 2005 10:39 AM

"Back then, we were wrong to blindly support the Democrats. Now our blind support of the Democrats is absolutely correct."

Posted by: David Cohen at March 29, 2005 10:51 AM

The NYTimes supports filibusters. The NYTimes has always supported filibusters. Just like it's always supported Oceania's war with Eurasia.

Posted by: Raoul Ortega at March 29, 2005 1:27 PM

They are simply correcting a previous mistake. When a Democrat becomes president they will realize this was an over-correction and then over-correct again in the other direction.

That these corrections always favor the Democrats in no way implies bias.

Posted by: David Reeves at March 29, 2005 3:47 PM

And this has absolutely nothing WHATSOEVER to do with the fact that the "Scrapbook" from the March 21st Weekly Standard called them on their hypocrisy?

I mean, they'd fess up to their past error even if they hadn't been publicly humiliated, just because that's the kind of folks they are?

I'd much prefer it if they just came out and said they're for the filibuster when Democrats use it, against the filibuster when Republicans use it. Anybody with more than two brain cells left between their ears knows this is their real editorial position.

Posted by: Matt Murphy at March 29, 2005 9:33 PM