- Nov 22, 2003
- Reaction score
Too funny and too true:
Harry Reid Meet Harry Reid
February 8, 7:02 PM
People sometimes ask me why I became a journalist. My answer is always the same - "Because I get to hold those politicians' feet to the fire." That's what journalism ought to be about. Here's what they promised, here's what they are actually doing. Same with government programs. Here's what they are supposed to accomplish, here's the facts about whether or not they are.
Part of holding their feet to the fire is reminding them of what they've said yesterday or the day before when they say the exact opposite today. Thus the headline on this post. The Senate Majority Leader is playing word games with the facts about how many votes are needed to get a bill passed in the Senate.
This is important because for the past several days many in the mainstream media have reported that Senate Republicans have been using the 60-vote requirement to block Reid's efforts to get to a vote on a resolution expressing opposition to President Bush's surge of U.S. troops in Iraq.
Feigning pained amazement as only supercillious Washington politicians can, Reid told the assembled journalists a couple of days ago that he just couldn't understand why the GOP was being so difficult about the 60-vote requirement because "the vast majority of legislation that is passed here is by simple majority."
I doubt seriously that there is another individual in or around the Senate who is more familiar than Reid with how flat out wrong is his statement. Why? Because it was largely as a result of his leadership as Senate Minority Leader in the previous Congress that a 60-vote requirement became the defacto requirement to pass significant legislation.
The most obvious way in which Reid as Senate Minority Leader did this was on President Bush's nominees to federal judgeships. By relying upon the same 60 vote requirement used this week by Republicans on the Iraq resolution, Reid and his fellow Democrats effectively prevented the Senate from voting on any Bush nominee who couldn't command 60 votes for confirmation.
But Senate rules are Senate rules and Reid and the minority Democrats were entirely within the letter of the rules, if not the spirit, in using the 60-vote requirement on judicial nominations. What makes Reid's protestations of the GOP's actions this week is the record of what he did on non-judicial nominee issues.
During the 109th Congress, which was controlled by the GOP, there were a total of 40 measures that underwent roll call votes in 2005 and 38 more in 2006 (not counting judicial nominations or amendments), according to the Senate Republican Policy Committee.
Of that total of 78 measures with a rollcall vote, all but six had to have at least 60 votes to gain passage. Of the remaining six that received less than 60 votes, five were not subject to a 60-vote requirement in the first place.
In other words, when Reid was Senate Minority Leader, exactly one measure was allowed to pass with a simple majority.
Thats according to the SRPC. If anybody with the majority has different numbers, I would love to see them and will publish them right here.
If the SRPC analysis holds up (as I expect it will), then either Reid has one lousy memory or hes playing games with the media and the American people. Of course, nobody in the mainstream media is bothering to call him on it.
And Reid is certainly not unique among members of either party in Congress in playing fast and loose with the facts of recent or distant history.
Like I said, this is what journalists are supposed to do hold their feet to the fire, without fear or favor. And if anybody thinks I am biased in whose feet I stick in the flames, just ask the GOP guys who lost their majority last November where they got those third-degree burns.
Oh, how I love this job!