Here's the headline for article about the Sen. Jim Bunning attempt to single-handedly block the passage of unemployment benefits:
G.O.P Splits on Senator's Move to Block Benefits
But has the GOP really split? In fact, couldn't the argument be made that the real news is that the GOP hasn't split, and that very few GOP voices are complaining about Bunning's increasingly odd behavior? Doesn't claiming that the GOP "splits" give Republicans more credit than they deserve?
Here's the Times' only evidence of the so-called split [emphasis added]:
The effort to end a Senate standoff over unemployment benefits and health coverage for the jobless escalated on Tuesday morning as Senator Susan Collins, the moderate Republican from Maine, became the latest lawmaker, and the first Republican, to try to override the objection of Senator Jim Bunning, Republican of Kentucky.
Question for NYT: How can the GOP be "split" if only one Republican has publicly opposed Bunning?
It's true that Collins claimed that her effort to thwart Bunning was made "behalf of numerous members of the Republican caucus who have expressed concerns to me." But if the GOP is really 'split,' than those members of the Republican caucus would express their concerns publicly. And where is the GOP leadership on this issue?
Again, why is the Times giving the GOP credit for being divided? If the party were really split, wouldn't there be lots of Republicans opposing Bunning? Not just one single voice from Maine?
Because the day after the stupid Obama-drinks-too-much smear was debunked, UK's Mail, no doubt trolling for RW links, runs with the story:
Barack Obama should drink less alcohol and try harder to kick his smoking habit, doctors says
Barack Obama should not only try harder to kick his smoking habit, his team of doctors warned, but they also recommended 'moderation of alcohol intake'
And yes, the Mail implies Obama's drinking too much [emphasis added]:
It would seem the pressure of the U.S. presidency - and all those White House receptions - are taking their toll after the 48-year-old's first medical checkup since winning the race to the White House.
From the Fox Nation on March 2:
National Review's web site leads with a column by Heritage Foundation's Michael Franc opposing the use of reconciliation to pass changes to health care reform. Unfortunately, Franc's column is deeply disingenuous, from the one-word headline ("Unprecedented") that manages to be false despite its brevity to the closing sentence, in which Franc demonstrates that his objection to the use of the tactic is utterly unprincipled.
Franc begins by referring to reconciliation as "arcane," which is a spectacularly loaded term to describe a legislative tactic that has been used to pass some of the highest-profile legislation of the past quarter century, including welfare reform and George W. Bush's tax cuts. Franc goes on:
Senator Reid ... argues that the reconciliation process has been used many times over the last three decades - usually, he claims, at the instigation of Republicans.
"He claims"? Well, is it true? Yes! It is true: "16 of 21 reconciliation bills were Republican." But using the loaded word "claims," Franc falsely implies that Reid wasn't telling the truth. Franc later claims he cannot detect any "pattern" in the use of reconciliation. He should check in with Joshua Tucker.
The Congressional Research Service reports that 19 reconciliation measures have been enacted into law since the procedure's first use in the twilight of the Carter administration. It was attempted, but failed, a couple of times more. Reconciliation has been used for virtually all imaginable scenarios - save one: There is no precedent for using it to enact a once-in-a-generation rewrite of the relationship between Americans and their government that appeals exclusively to one side of the aisle.
Do I really need to point out that this is because "once-in-a-generation" legislation doesn't come along very often? How many times does Franc expect a legislative practice that has been around for little more than 30 years to have been used to enact "once-in-a-generation" legislation?
More broadly, Franc is setting conditions that just don't matter. Reconciliation has never* been used on the third Sunday of the fifth month of the year, either, but who cares? That isn't a legitimate reason not hold a reconciliation vote on May 16; it's just trivia. Likewise, Franc's complaint that the legislation "appeals exclusively to one side of the aisle" is meaningless. There is nothing in Senate rules or in logic that deems legislation that Senate Republicans don't support less legitimate than legislation Senate Republicans do support. Nothing.
Also worth noting: Republicans have used reconciliation to pass measures that lacked meaningful Democratic support.
Even the current Senate concurs that reconciliation ought not to be used for such mega-bills. Last April, 67 senators - including 26 Democrats and then-Republican Arlen Specter of Pennsylvania - supported a resolution to prohibit reconciliation from being used to advance that other mega-bill lurking out there, the cap-and-trade climate-control bill.
Our custom has always been to subject such bigger-than-life bills to a rigorous vetting process that allows affected parties to scrutinize the pros and cons and examine alternatives before ultimately arriving at a broad and bipartisan consensus.
That might be interesting, if anybody was talking about passing the entire health insurance reform package through reconciliation. But nobody is. The Senate has already passed reform, and done so without using reconciliation. Reconciliation is being contemplated as a means of passing a much smaller package of changes to that legislation. So invoking the specter of "bigger than life bills" is irrelevant and misleading. And there's basically no chance Franc doesn't realize as much.
Eventually, Franc acknowledges that Republicans passed a 2003 tax cut package that was "was too much for the Democrats" via reconciliation. But that, Franc writes, was OK, because Republicans did well in the next elections:
This time, the political fallout was quite different. President Bush and his fellow Republicans actually prospered at the polls in the 2004 presidential election.
Reconciliation can yield political dividends, it seems. But only when it's used to force through controversial and consequential tax cuts.
So it seems Franc's opposition to the use of reconciliation for health care isn't actually about any principle; he doesn't really think it matters if legislation passed through reconciliation "appeals exclusively to one side of the aisle."
* As far as I know.
An hour ago, I published a post pointing out that a RedState blogger attacked media outlets referring to Sen. Jim Bunning's (R-KY) move to block legislation that would extend unemployment benefits as a "filibuster." The blogger - Hogan -- called them "freaking idiots" not "capable of comprehension" and lacking "rudimentary understanding of the U.S. Senate." Only problem is, RedState Editor Erick Erickson made the "filibuster" claim at least twice.
Purporting to defend himself, Erickson just tweeted:
OMG, Media Matters is attacking me for calling Bunning's objection a filibuster *last week* based on the initial media reports. How dare I.
Big problem here: of the two examples I included in my post, one was posted yesterday, March 1, at 11:47 am:
The point of supporting Rand Paul was driven home to me last Thursday night as Senator Bunning launched a one man filibuster against the Democrats.
I look forward to Erickson's explanation for why the post he wrote yesterday doesn't count either.
Meanwhile, Erickson has taken to chastising Roll Call for "dumbing down" the discussion of Bunning's actions by calling them a "filibuster."
The mind reels.
From a March 2 post on BigGovernment.com:
Last week, the Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now, a crime syndicate dedicated to tightening the Democratic Party's grip on America, dissolved its national structure. Too much of ACORN's corruption had been exposed to public scrutiny for it to run its vote fraud and extortion rackets effectively. So, ACORN activists will have to soldier on in state-level organizations, such as New York Communities for Change and New England United for Justice in Massachusetts.
ACORN does indeed operate like the Mafia, but it more closely resembles another organization that began as an affiliate of the Democratic Party, the Ku Klux Klan. Aside from intimidating some bank executives, ACORN does not engage in violence, but like the KKK it has vote fraud as a top priority.
This morning, in a post titled, "It's Not a Filibuster You Freaking Idiots," RedState writer Hogan slammed the media for referring to Sen. Jim Bunning's (R-KY) move to block legislation that would extend unemployment benefits as a "filibuster." Hogan wrote [emphasis added]:
As I noted in a previous post, and as is increasingly well known to those who actually are capable of comprehension, Senator Jim Bunning - for the simple reason he wishes it to be paid for - is objecting to a repeated unanimous consent request by Senate Democrats to call up and pass a bill that would temporarily extend unemployment benefits, transportation funding, medicare reimbursement, COBRA subsidies and other expenditures to the tune of another $10 billion or so.
Yet, news account after news account of his continued objection to this unanimous consent request report his actions as a filibuster. Politico, Roll Call, Fox News, CNN, and the list goes on and on. And the accusation of filibustering is even worse among Senators and Congressmen, as exemplified by the DCCC Chair, Chris Van Hollen and Senator Kirsten Gillibrand. But it simply is not the case that what Mr. Bunning is doing is a filibuster under the rules, as anyone with a rudimentary understanding of the U.S. Senate fully comprehends.
Before attacking media outlets as "freaking idiots" not "capable of comprehension" and lacking "rudimentary understanding of the U.S. Senate," perhaps Hogan should have run a quick search to see if anyone at RedState had called Bunning's actions a "filibuster." Turns out Hogan's boss, Erick Erickson, has done so at least twice. Here's Erickson yesterday [emphasis added]:
The point of supporting Rand Paul was driven home to me last Thursday night as Senator Bunning launched a one man filibuster against the Democrats. He came under relentless attack and even his own Republican Party would barely come to his aid (kudos to Bob Corker (R-TN)).
And on Twitter last week:
God bless Senator Bunning. His filibuster is going to put government bureaucrats out of jobs! Hallelujah.
You might think this would have upset Erickson, but he's now promoting Hogan's post on Twitter:
Yeah! You tell 'em, Erick.
In a Daily Caller column, John Feehery complains about Barack Obama addressing members of Congress by their first names:
He called the Speaker "Nancy," the Senate Majority Leader "Harry," the Senate Republican Leader "Mitch," and his vanquished opponent "John."
When "Mitch" complained that the president and the Democrats had hogged most of the time, Mr. Obama said, with studied insouciance, "That's right Mitch, I am the president," implying that because he is the president that he can do whatever he wants to do.
That statement should set off alarm bells among the president's advisers. Actually, presidents can't do whatever they want to do. Richard Nixon proved that point.
Yeah, calling Mitch McConnell "Mitch" is just like Watergate. One day you're calling someone named "Mitch" "Mitch," and the next you're talking about fire-bombing Brookings. Happens every time.
President Bill Clinton never used to refer to Representative George Miller, a rather bulky Democrat from California, as Big George.
But there is a new tenant in the Oval Office these days, and President Bush has brought with him his own signature style. That means nicknames, even for a liberal Democrat like Mr. Miller. It means levity. It means bipartisan backslapping and Texas-style folksiness.
the dozens of lawmakers who have paraded up the White House driveway this week for small-group meetings with Mr. Bush are beginning to get a taste of his legendary charm.
''Hey, Big George,'' Mr. Bush said to Mr. Miller when the congressman joined other lawmakers in Austin before the inauguration to discuss educational policy. Mr. Miller returned to the White House this week and learned that the nickname had stuck.
Mr. Bush now refers to Representative Fred Upton, a Michigan Republican, as Freddy Boy. Other such monikers are sure to follow.
Of course, it is nothing new for new presidents to stroke Congressional egos. Lyndon B. Johnson and Gerald R. Ford, two Congressional graduates who made it to the White House, engaged in their own unique versions of it. And Mr. Bush's father, a former member of Congress himself, used to call lawmakers by their first names and insist that they call him George.
Fox Nation touts a scoop:
Now, let's translate Fox's "fair and balanced" headline into an actual fair and balanced headline, shall we?
By "plot," Fox Nation means "plan."
By "ram through," Fox Nation means "pass via majority vote after more than a year of discussion and debate."
By "revealed," Fox Nation means "speculated about."
Put it all together, and you have "Speculation about Obama's plan to pass health care."
But that wouldn't whip readers into an anti-government, anti-Obama frenzy, so ...
(Oh, and that Commie-red next to Obama's face? Total coincidence.)
From a March 2 post on Andrew Breitbart's Twitter feed: