. . . is the Houston Chronicle objecting to Senate Democrats' use of the nuclear option to blow up the GOP's power to filibuster Barack Hussein Obama's leftwing judicial nominees.
This sudden modesty about expressing an opinion on an important matter is entirely ideological. How can we know this? Because . . .
. . . back in aught-five when the filibuster was on the other foot -- Republicans were toying with the trigger of the nuclear option -- the Chronicle mounted the ramparts in righteous Calhounian defense of Senate tradition.
"The Senate's constitutional role of resisting presidential authority and impetuous tides of popular passion would be ended if a simple majority could end debate even before it had begun," the newspaper piously declared.
But that, it seems, was then.
Here's an extended snip from the editorial the Clever Ones should dust off to condemn Harry Reid and his miserable party:
[Historian Robert] Caro reminded the senators that extended debate — the filibuster — had been used to prolong some of the nation's most ignoble causes, such as racial segregation. But he cautioned the senators against changing the rules.
The Founders, he said, meant the Senate to be a deliberative body, one strong enough to resist a popular president when any of its members thought it their duty to do so. The Senate's constitutional role of resisting presidential authority and impetuous tides of popular passion would be ended if a simple majority could end debate even before it had begun.
Frustrated that Democratic senators have used extended debate to reject seven of Bush's judicial nominees, some Republican senators want to implement what has come to be known as the nuclear option: allowing 51 senators (or 50 senators and the vice president) to end debate on judicial nominees. They wish to forget that Republicans held up or rejected confirmation of an even greater number of President Clinton's judicial nominees. Triumphant after the last election and controlling the White House, Senate and House of Representatives, some members of the ruling party cannot imagine the day when they will return to the minority.
At crucial times in the past, senators of the ruling party have joined the minority to protect the Senate's independence from the White House and to defend the rights of the minority against the tyranny of the majority. It is hard to imagine that happening with any frequency today. Partisan power has become paramount, and the president can easily find 51 partisans eager to confirm any judicial nominee, no matter how far from the mainstream or how unqualified for lifetime appointment to the federal bench.
One such nomination Democrats thwarted last term was that of Texas Supreme Court Justice Patricia Owen. Albert Gonzales, the U.S. attorney general and for years President Bush's lawyer, once served with Owen on the Texas high court. While on the court, Gonzales wrote an opinion criticizing Owen's minority dissent as "an unconscionable act of judicial activism" — the very thing President Bush says he abhors in a judge. Typical of the imperatives of party loyalty, Gonzales supports Owen's nomination to the U.S. Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals.
Bush says he wants his nominees to just follow the law, but one nominee has been reversed by the conservative Fourth Circuit more than 150 times. Either the nominee doesn't know the law, or he chooses to ignore it.
Conservative lawyers and jurists who could easily win confirmation are plentiful. Republicans should resist making the Senate a rubber stamp in order to curry favor with ideological segments of the party's base.
(Editorial, "Nuclear option: Independent Senate more important than judicial nominees," Houston Chronicle, March 28, 2005 (emphasis added))
To be fair, the Chronicle has not been entirely silent. Three weeks before their beloved Harry Reid blew up the filibuster, the newspaper excoriated Senator John Cornyn for daring to exercise the filibuster. And what a delicious argument they advanced for their proposition, to wit (emphasis added):
In 2005, under President George W. Bush, Cornyn argued that judicial nominations deserved an up-or-down vote. The senator should stick to his Bush-era guns.
Pot, meet kettle.
Today's silence about the nuclear option translates thusly: That stuff about the tyranny of the majority and resisting presidential authority and impetuous tides of popular opinion . . . never mind.
The occupysters at the Chronicle have no principles, other than than the principle of saying (or here, not saying) whatever supports the left's crusade of the hour.
Others have dug up the New York Times's magnificent flying flips and flops on the nuclear option, depending on which side then occupied the White House.
The Chronicle is flipping and flopping right along with the Times.