Buchanan overstates Democratic support for Alito and Roberts on Supreme Court confirmation votes

››› ››› MARK BOCHKIS

On Morning Joe, Pat Buchanan misrepresented Senate votes by Democrats on the confirmations of Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts and Associate Justice Samuel Alito, saying, "Roberts probably got 25 Democrats, Alito probably got a dozen." In fact, four Democrats voted to confirm Alito, while Roberts received 22 votes from Democrats.

On the October 20 edition of Morning Joe, Pat Buchanan misrepresented Senate votes on the confirmations of Chief Justice John Roberts and Associate Justice Samuel Alito. Remarking on a comment the day before by former Secretary of State Colin Powell on Meet the Press that he would "have difficulty with two more conservative appointments to the Supreme Court, but that's what we'd be looking at in a McCain administration," Buchanan said: "[W]hatever you say, Roberts and Alito united the Republican Party. They got almost, I think, and [MSNBC political analyst] Lawrence [O'Donnell] can correct me here, a hundred percent of the votes of the Republicans. Roberts probably got 25 Democrats, Alito probably got a dozen. And to go after them and say, look, they're going to make the Supreme Court conservative, I mean, what is the Republican Party about?" In fact, four Democrats, not 12, voted to confirm Alito. Roberts received 22 votes from Democrats. Moreover, then-Judge Alito did not receive "a hundred percent of the votes of the Republicans"; then-Senator Lincoln Chafee (RI) voted against him.

From the October 20 edition of MSNBC's Morning Joe:

SCARBOROUGH: Well, Colin Powell, you have to go back to 1995. Back in '95, people were talking about Colin Powell possibly running for president in 1996. Even then, Colin Powell and the conservative base of the party, which I'm a part of, had some real problems. Powell was critical of the direction the Republicans were going in 1995. He was not at all comfortable with the evangelical wing of that party. So, what we heard from Colin Powell yesterday being concerned about the direction of the Republican Party was the same thing that we heard 13 years ago. So I didn't take a lot of stock in that. I took more stock, Pat Buchanan, in the fact that he basically said don't worry about Barack Obama. He knows what he doesn't know. He is going to put good advisers around him and, of course, I think that's all we can ask of a candidate that doesn't have a lot of experience.

BUCHANAN: He gave a full-throated endorsement to Barack Obama, credentialed him. He undercut McCain at the very point he's being attacked -- erratic, didn't handle the economic thing well -- went after Palin, trashed their campaign, went after the Supreme Court justices they might appoint. What Colin Powell did yesterday, Joe, was burn his --

SCARBOROUGH: Can I stop you there?

BUCHANAN: Hold it -- was burn his bridges to the Republican Party forever. I think he is now very much with Barack Obama --

O'DONNELL: Speaking of somebody who's already done that.

SCARBOROUGH: Yeah, Buchanan knows.

BUCHANAN: I can tell you how to do that. But he did it in a way, he was even more dramatic, two weeks before the campaign. When McCain and Palin are coming back up the hill, he pushed them right back down again.

SCARBOROUGH: But how fascinating -- I thought the -- actually, for a man that measures every word and is about as authoritative a leader as we have in America today, I thought his Supreme Court comments were a bit gratuitous.

BUCHANAN: Well, exactly --

SCARBOROUGH: Why did he go there?

BUCHANAN: I don't know why. I mean, because, look, whatever you say, Roberts and Alito united the Republican Party. They got almost, I think, and Lawrence can correct me here, a hundred percent of the votes of the Republicans. Roberts probably got 25 Democrats, Alito probably got a dozen. And to go after them and say, look, they're going to make the Supreme Court conservative, I mean, what is the Republican Party about?

From the October 19 edition of NBC's Meet the Press:

POWELL: Now, I understand what politics is all about. I know how you can go after one another, and that's good. But I think this goes too far. And I think it has made the McCain campaign look a little narrow. It's not what the American people are looking for. And I look at these kinds of approaches to the campaign and they trouble me. And the party has moved even further to the right, and Governor Palin has indicated a further rightward shift. I would have difficulty with two more conservative appointments to the Supreme Court, but that's what we'd be looking at in a McCain administration. I'm also troubled by, not what Senator McCain says, but what members of the party say and it is permitted to be said. Such things as, "Well, you know that Mr. Obama is a Muslim." Well, the correct answer is, he is not a Muslim, he's a Christian. He's always been a Christian. But the really right answer is, what if he is? Is there something wrong with being a Muslim in this country? The answer's no, that's not America. Is there something wrong with some 7-year-old Muslim-American kid believing that he or she could be president? Yet, I have heard senior members of my own party drop the suggestion, "He's a Muslim and he might be associated terrorists." This is not the way we should be doing it in America.

Posted In
Government, Nominations & Appointments, The Judiciary
Network/Outlet
MSNBC
Person
Pat Buchanan
Show/Publication
Morning Joe
Stories/Interests
Supreme Court Nominations, John McCain, 2008 Elections, Alito Nomination
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