Wednesday, March 3, 2010

RedState's contempt for its readers apparent in campaign against reconciliation

I just started reading RedState a few days ago, and already I have the suspicion that their bloggers have no respect for their readership. And they certainly have no credibility.

Brian Darling writes that Barack Obama favors the use of reconciliation to pass health care reform in the Senate. But Darling refers to this use of reconciliation as "the nuclear option" because it is intended as a way around a potential Republican filibuster. In fact, he explicitly defines "nuclear option" as "a tactic to get around a Senate filibuster."

Darling accuses Democrats, including President Obama, of hypocrisy regarding the use of reconciliation. Democrats were against its use in 2005 but they support its use in 2010, according to Darling.

But the careful reader who remembers what happened in 2005 will notice something fishy going on. Here's how Darling argues that 2010 is no different than 2005:
Some Senate Republicans in 2005 considered the a Nuclear Option strong arm tactic to pass some of President Bush’s judicial nominees. What they advocated was to set a Senate precedent that the filibuster does not apply to judges. This would have negated the filibuster rule for judges. What the liberals are doing today is to use reconciliation as a means to make the filibuster rule not apply to ObamaCare. This would negate the filibuster for ObamaCare. These two actions are very similar.
This explanation probably doesn't raise any red flags with the readers of RedState because it is so carefully worded. But it is carefully worded to deceive them. The explanation is an extremely misleading distortion of the actual facts.

The use of reconciliation to pass health care reform would not require any change to Senate rules. Indeed, reconciliation has been used 22 times by Democrats and Republicans since 1980. The Republican plan in 2005 was to change Senate rules so that the filibuster could not be used against judicial appointments. So the two cases are clearly very different, although a lazy reader would not notice this, thanks to Darling's skillful deception. In fact, the Republican plan in 2005 was so extreme that Trent Lott himself called it "the nuclear option." The so-called Gang of 12 moderate senators, some of them Republicans, defeated the plan. (Remember them?)

In addition, by conflating reconciliation with the nuclear option, Darling implies that Democrats were against the use of reconciliation, rather than the actual plan they opposed in 2005. Now, there may be some Democrats who are against the use of reconciliation to pass health care reform. But for Darling to infer that Obama was against the use of reconciliation in 2005 because he was against the nuclear option in 2005 is sloppy and irresponsible. And this sloppiness with the language is puzzling, especially after RedState's compulsive insistence that Bunning's recent maneuvering in the Senate not be called a filibuster.

Once one is reminded of the actual history, RedState's contempt for its readers and the truth is apparent. I know that you people want your red meat, but can't you be a bit more selective?


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It is wrong always, everywhere, and for anyone, to believe anything upon insufficient evidence. ---W.K. Clifford

Question with boldness even the existence of a God; because, if there be one, he must more approve of the homage of reason, than that of blind-folded fear. ---Thomas Jefferson