The Therapy Sessions
Sunday, May 08, 2005
Sen. Barbara Boxer is a longtime opponent of judicial nomination filibusters. Or she was. Suddenly the light has dawned, and she realizes how wrong she was to oppose them: 'I thought I knew everything. I didn't get it. . . . I am here to say I was totally wrong.'
Other Democratic senators have had similar changes in belief: Joe Biden and Robert Byrd, Tom Harkin, Ted Kennedy, Joe Lieberman, Pat Leahy, Chuck Schumer and their erstwhile colleagues Lloyd Bentsen, and Tom Daschle have all vigorously opposed the use of the filibuster against judicial nominations. Mr. Schumer was for voting judicial nominations 'up or down' without delay. Mr. Leahy flatly opposed a filibuster against Clarence Thomas's Supreme Court nomination: 'The president and the nominee and all Americans deserve an up-or-down vote.' Mr. Harkin believed 'the filibuster rules are unconstitutional,' Mr. Daschle declared that 'democracy means majority rule, not minority gridlock,' and Mr. Kennedy that 'senators who believe in fairness will not let the minority of the Senate deny [the nominee] his vote by the entire Senate.'
But that was then, when Democrats controlled the Senate. Now, they are a frustrated minority and it is different. Mr. Leahy has voted against cloture to end filibusters 21 out of 26 times; Mr. Kennedy, 18 out of 23. Now all these Senators practice and defend the use of filibusters against judicial nominees.
The Democrats' problem?
It's not that their beliefs are too centrist or too liberal (well, maybe a little bit).
Their problem is that they don't really believe in anything.