In an interview yesterday with Fox News, Senate Majority Whip Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-KY) defended the conservatives’ consideration of detonating the nuclear option to push through President Bush’s controversial judicial re-nominees. However, instead of calling the move what it is, McConnell stated it would best be described as the “Byrd option.” He then continued on to assert, “I don’t want to get too technical here, but the point is, what Senator Frist is considering doing is not unprecedented. It was done by Senator Byrd when he was majority leader.”
Not getting “too technical” allowed Sen. McConnell to not be too honest, either. As Senate majority leader in the late 1970s, Byrd only went so far as to allow nominations to be considered out of order and impose a limit on debate time but never tried to change filibuster rules. Though proponents of the nuclear option continue to claim that they would not be employing a never before used tactic, “a careful review of the Senate’s precedents reveals that the Senate has never acted by simple majority vote to force an end to a filibuster or a change to the Senate’s rules of debate.” Apparently, getting technical tends to get in the way of the truth.