Daily Caller Peddles Disingenuous Attack On Filibuster Reform

Blog ››› ››› JAMISON FOSER

Nobody does "disingenuous" quite like Tucker Carlson's Daily Caller, as this column opposing filibuster reform reminds us.

Start with the byline: "Elizabeth B. Letchworth is a retired, elected United States Senate Secretary for the Majority and Minority. Currently she is a senior legislative adviser for Covington & Burling, LLC and is the founder of GradeGov.com." Wow, she worked for both the Majority and the Minority. Sounds nice and nonpartisan, doesn't it?

In fact, Letchworth is a hard-core Republican who served as Secretary for the GOP in the Senate. In previous Daily Caller columns, Letchworth has cheered on the Tea Party and subtly advocated Christine O'Donnell's primary campaign against Mike Castle. None of that disqualifies her or her views, of course -- but if you're going to run a column in which a far-right Republican attacks Democrats, it's poor form to omit her partisan credentials.

The substance of Letchworth's opposition to filibuster reform consists almost entirely of repeatedly insisting that things continue to be done the way they've always been done:

Efforts in the Senate Rules Committee last year, lead by Sen. Schumer (D-NY) and Sen. Udall (D-CO), are pushing the Senate leader to end over two hundred years of tradition and set a precedent by declaring that the Senate is NOT a continuous body.

Where does Sen. Reid get the idea that the Senate is not a continuous body? Maybe he should read the U.S. Senate website, which clearly states what the Senate has lived by for over 200 years.

If these 23 Democratic senators vote to destroy over 200 years of Senate tradition in order to advance their agenda, where will this abuse of power end?

Stay tuned to see if Harry Reid will ruin over 200 years of Senate procedure when the Senate opens the 112th Congress on Wednesday.

Of course, if Letchworth was really concerned with the Senate functioning the way it has historically, she'd have at least mentioned the fact that the current constant use of the filibuster is entirely without precedent in American history -- something she, as former Secretary to the Senate majority, certainly knows. But she never once mentions the fact that the GOP's current use of the filibuster is inconsistent with precedent, making her constant invocations of 200 years of tradition seem more than a little disingenuous. (For more on this "continuous body" business, see this post by David Waldman of Congress Matters.)

Finally, Letchworth offers this train-wreck of an argument:

The special election of Sen. Scott Brown (R-MA) back in early 2010 is a perfect example of how the Reid rules change would disenfranchise the American electorate. Remember, Candidate Brown focused much of his campaign on being the GOP's 41st vote in the Senate. The significance of being the 41st GOP vote was to deny Sen. Reid the 60 votes needed to end a filibuster of Obamacare.

What does that even mean? It requires an odd definition of "disenfranchisement" to complain that it is accomplished via a move towards majority rule. Unfortunately, Letchworth doesn't explain. The gap between her first-sentance assertion and the rest of the paragraph is quite large, so it isn't surprising Letchworth fails to bridge it -- but it would have been nice to have seen her at least try.

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The Daily Caller
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