I hope the RNC chairman will realize he's not a talking head pundit, that he is supposed to be working on the grassroots and rebuilding it, and maybe doing something about our open primary system and fixing it so that Democrats do not nominate our candidates.
-Rush Limbaugh, before RNC chairman Michael Steele apologized to him this week.
Both yesterday and today, we have had callers from Texas who are foot soldiers, enlisted officers, in Operation Chaos. Both of these gentlemen, one in Austin, the most recent from Galveston that you just heard, not only voted for Hillary Clinton in the Texas primary, but they went a step further. They went back and caucused. Operation Chaos operatives went back and caucused. These two are just two of many. These two are now delegates to the Texas state convention. They are delegates for Hillary Clinton to the Texas state Democrat convention. They will be there undercover.
-Rush Limbaugh, bragging about interfering in the Democratic primary, 2008.
Oh my golly, Rush Limbaugh's a hypocrite! What a shock. When Republicans use states' open primary systems to interfere in Democratic nominations, it's labeled "Operation Chaos" and bragged about for months on end. When Democrats interfere in Republican primaries (and this is the first I've heard of it -- I think this might be drug-induced paranoia on Rush's part), it's a terrible abuse that must be "fixed."
Of course, Rush Limbaugh's brilliance is entirely overrated. His "Operation Chaos" was a huge bust, as our current president demonstrates. His cunning plan to sink the Democrats' chances in '08 worked out about as well as you might've thought. Obama won by an electoral landslide, complete with Democratic majorities in both houses of Congress. "Operation Chaos" was not a success.
While it's fun to point out what an empty space Rush Limbaugh really is, that's not my point today. What I've got in mind is GOP hypocrisy -- it's all over the place lately.
Take Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell. Despite slamming an omnibus spending bill for being loaded down with earmarks, Mitch himself has tacked on $75 million in earmarks for his home state of Kentucky. Calling the budget "legislation that is 8 percent above what was anticipated to be spent," he blamed Democrats for loading it up with pork, saying the bill had been "plussed up by the new majority."
"It’s pretty clear we have a double standard here," said Missouri Democratic Sen. Claire McCaskill. She added that boulders are raining down on "people who live in glass houses. The leader of the Republican Party is getting twice as much in earmarks as the leader of the Democratic Party."
McConnell will vote against the bill, knowing that it's going to pass any way. That way, he can get his earmarks while complaining about all the pork. Mitch McConnell is a hypocrite.
On another front, Republicans are learning that tactics that were the worst thing ever when they were the majority are wonderful tools of democracy now that they're in the minority.
...In a letter to the White House, the Republican senators said Obama would “change the tone in Washington” if he were to renominate Bush nominees like Peter Keisler, Glen Conrad and Paul Diamond. And they requested that Obama respect the Senate’s constitutional role in reviewing judicial nominees by seeking their consultation about potential nominees from their respective states.
“Regretfully, if we are not consulted on, and approve of, a nominee from our states, the Republican Conference will be unable to support moving forward on that nominee,” the letter warns. “And we will act to preserve this principle and the rights of our colleagues if it is not.”
In other words, Republicans are threatening a filibuster of judges if they're not happy.
The letter was signed by the entire Republican senate. "My, how times have changed," reads a post a Right Wing Watch. "I seem to remember a time, just a few years ago when President Bush was in office, when the Republican understanding of the Constitution's 'advice and consent' clause was that it entitled the President to make nominations of his choosing while the Senate's role was merely to confirm or reject his nominees."
Put another way, the Republicans called foul on filibustering judicial nominees. In fact, they were so appalled that Democrats would even threaten to do it that they moved to what they called "the nuclear option" of changing senate rules to eliminate filibusters. It took a bipartisan "Gang of 14" to reach an agreement and save the filibuster.
But that was then, this is now. Whenever Republicans feel the need, they're fully prepared to go full-on hypocrite. Since all 41 GOP senators signed the letter, it pays to go back and look at what they thought of the Democrats' threat to filibuster.
"Finally, neither filibusters nor supermajority requirements have any place in the confirmation process," Sen. Sam Brownback wrote. "Those tactics of obstruction should become the historical relics they deserve to be. The country deserves, and the Constitution demands, a prompt, thorough debate and a fair up-or-down vote on Judge Roberts' nomination to the Supreme Court, and I look forward to being an active participant in that process."
"We have a Democratic leader defeated, in part, as I said, because I believe he was identified with this obstructionist practice, this unconstitutional use of the filibuster to deny the president his judicial nominations," Sen. John Cornyn said at a press conference. "And so a rule change my [sic] ultimately not be necessary. If it is, as Senator Specter has observed, there is precedent for it. And indeed, if necessary, I trust we will move to the so-called -- what I call the constitutional option, which is the ruling from the chair, upheld by the majority of the Senate."
"What we're seeing now is unprecedented," said Sen. Charles Grassley. "Judicial nominees with clear majority support have never been denied a vote by a partisan filibuster until two years ago, and now we've got 10 qualified judges with majority support being held up. The Democrats are denying the Senate its constitutional responsibility of advice/consent by systematically denying appellate court nominees an up-or-down vote. And we can't find anywheres [sic] in the Constitution that says a supermajority is needed for confirmation."
But, now that Republicans are in the minority, none of that is true anymore. It's cool to filibuster Obama's nominees, since it'll be Republicans who'll be doing it. That's not hypocrisy, that's... hell, I'm stuck. That's practically the definition of hypocrisy.
The worst thing about all this is that those few zombie voters still supporting Republicans will buy it all. Where they supported fighting the filibuster before, they'll buy all the arguments for filibustering judicial nominees now. When Rush Limbaugh said that screwing with Democratic primaries was the best idea anyone ever had, they went right out and did it. But when Rush accuses Democrats of doing the same, it suddenly borders on criminal. When Mitch McConnell complains about pork, they all freak out. When he loads the bill up with pork of his own, they'll look the other way.
Republican leaders get away with hypocrisy because Republican voters are just as hypocritical. When you've trained your voters to accept cognitive dissonance, the past doesn't actually exists. Republican voters exist in the Zen-like mindset of cattle -- there was no then, there is only now. Nothing that happened before now actually happened. There is no continuity of thought, no evolution of philosophy, because contradictions must be allowed to stand ignored.
It's nothing new for the Republican party, where hypocrisy is a way of life.