In The New York Times this morning, reporter David M. Herszenhorn analyzes the “muscle flexing” by conservatives in Congress, who he says “effectively have a stranglehold on the Senate.” Herzehhorn notes that Senate conservatives are now “so accustomed to blocking measures” that they reflexively objected to an AMT patch they wanted, forcing them to scramble “to approve it later”:
In fact, the Senate Republicans are so accustomed to blocking measures that when the Democrats finally agreed last week to their demands on a bill to repair the alternative minimum tax, the Republicans still objected, briefly blocking the version of the bill that they wanted before scrambling to approve it later.
Herzehhorn goes on to explain that the conservatives believe they are “merely exercising the minority’s right to filibuster“:
The Republicans are not shy about their strategy, which they say is merely exercising the minority’s right to filibuster, which has existed since the earliest days of the Senate.
He does not mention, however, that just three years ago, many of the same conservatives (then in control of Congress) threatened to use the “nuclear option” to remove “the minority’s right to filibuster” judicial nominations.
Conservative Senate leaders who are now doing everything they can to obstruct critical legislation, were “not shy” three years ago about their willingness to do away with the filibuster:
Sen. Trent Lott (R-MS): “[Filibustering] is wrong. It’s not supportable under the Constitution. And if they insist on persisting with these filibusters, I’m perfectly prepared to blow the place up.”
Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-KY) spokesman: “Senator McConnell always has and continues to fully support the use of what has become known as the ‘[nuclear]’ option in order to restore the norms and traditions of the Senate.”
Sen. John Cornyn (R-TX): “I support the [nuclear] option, I support a rule change, I support elimination of the unconstitutional filibuster by any legal means.”
Just because conservatives aren’t “shy” about their obstructionism doesn’t mean they’re not hypocrites.