RNC: If Democrats Don’t Filibuster, They’re Flip-Floppers

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Thursday, November 12, 2009 at 2:30 pm

I usually ignore partisan Web videos that aren’t backed by real media buys, but this one out today from the Republican National Committee, a sequel to this one, is fascinating in its convoluted logic.

It goes like this. Sen. John Kerry (D-Mass.), the RNC reminds us (three times!) once said that he voted for $87 billion in Iraq War funding before he voted against it. This, says the RNC, is exactly what Sen. Ben Nelson (D-Neb.) would be doing if he failed to join a Republican filibuster of health care reform and instead voted to move the bill to the floor–where everyone expects him to vote against it.

One problem with this is that it’s not technically true. In 2003, Kerry voted for a bill that would have appropriated the $87 billion in funding for Iraq while repealing some Bush tax cuts. He voted against the final bill which didn’t repeal the tax cuts. In this case, the GOP is defining “moving a bill to the floor” as “supporting it.” If that’s flip-flopping, then every Republican member of the Senate has flip-flopped–they allow bills to go to the floor, then vote against them, all the time.

Again, this is largely an academic discussion, as this video won’t be widely viewed outside a base of political junkies and partisan activists. But it demonstrates real progress for this myth of the Senate as a supermajority-driven institution, instead of one where the filibuster has been wildly, flagrantly abused beyond all recogniition.

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