Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Changing the Rules

Anyone recall a couple of years ago, when the Republican majority considered changing Senate rules to make things more difficult for minority Democrats to filibuster judicial appointees? The change was designed to ensure that appointees received a straight up of down vote. However, most of the major media at the time were strongly against the idea and the headlines screamed that Republicans were trying to shut down debate. The Washington Post warned at the time, "That change has been dubbed the "nuclear option," because of its potential to disrupt the Senate and shatter what little comity remains between Republicans and Democrats ." In the end, Republicans relented due to the infamous "Gang of Fourteen" arrangement brokered by John McCain among others, and the rules remained unchanged.

However, it appears that shattering comity in Congress isn't so important when Democrats hold a majority. In the new Democratic House, Speaker Pelosi is apparently unhappy that Republicans have been able to defeat her on a number of procedural votes, so she is considering changing rules that date back to 1822 in order to shut Republicans completely off the floor.

I am certain that the same newspapers and other news providers that were so appalled at the proposed Senate rule changes will be in the forefront of the campaign to chastise Ms. Pelosi for her imperial and unprecedented move. Should they remain silent in the face of this naked power grab, they will reveal themselves as the partisan, Democratic Party mouthpieces that they are so often accused of being.

05/17/2007 UPDATE: House Republicans forced the Democratic leadership to cave on the rule-change by forcing prodecural vote aftger procedural vote. Ms. Pelosi finally withdrew her motion to change the rules in the face of the Republicans' efforts. So we will never know what the Drive-By Media would have done. However, seeing as none of them bothered to headline it, I would say that we can make an informed opinion that they would have buried the story- if they bothered to report it at all.

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