HackWatch: Harold Meyerson

Thursday, November 12th, 2009

Jeremy Lott catches the Washington Post columnist flipping on the use of the Senate filibuster.

Writing in the American Prospect after the Republicans cleaned up in the 2002 off-year elections, Meyerson predicted that the nation would “suffer” under united Republican rule. He worried about “all the right-wing judicial appointments that will be ratified, for the Supreme Court on down, now that the Republicans control the Senate” and about the “lack of scrutiny” that the Bush administration could expect “now that the Democrats control no committees.”

“Only the filibuster,” he warned, “now stands between the nation and the unchecked rule of the most right-wing xenophobic and belligerent administration in the nation’s history.”

And now?

In his column yesterday in the Washington Post, he praised the House of Representatives for passing Pelosicare and damned the Senate as “Dithering Heights” for its refusal to ram the bill through tomorrow.

“A catastrophic change has overtaken the Senate in recent years,” he wrote. Because of the filibuster, “the Senate has become a body that shuns debate, avoids legislative give-and-take, proceeds glacially and produces next to nothing.”

Why just “earlier this month” — that is, November — “Senate Republicans blocked consideration of an extension of unemployment insurance.” And when they “finally let it come to a vote” — all of several days later, by his account — “the measure passed 98 to 0.”

Meyerson earns a strong 8.5 out of 10 on the completely arbitrary Hackery Index. Well done, Harold!

Prior installments of HackWatch here.

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19 Responses to “HackWatch: Harold Meyerson”

  1. #1 |  Scared Stiff | 

    If anything, the democrats should force the republicans to ACTUALLY filibuster. They want debate? Then they should debate. This nonsense about whining and crying any time the mere threat of a filibuster comes up once again shows how spineless they really are.

  2. #2 |  Big Chief | 

    What does it take to get a 10? I thought that was about as Hackish as it gets.

  3. #3 |  Thom | 

    Harold Meyerson is the worst hack in Hackville. Once I see his name on the WaPo editorial page I usually don’t even bother – life is too short. Even by Washington standards this guy is a complete waste of oxygen.

  4. #4 |  Saint Zero | 

    Wonderful example. When it suits you, you praise it. When it doesn’t suit you, you whine all day.

  5. #5 |  Chuchundra | 

    Pretty weak sauce, Radley.

    If you read the entire original article it’s clearly a “we Democrats suck” screed. The mention of the filibuster is meant to show how low the Dems had fallen. The only arrow left in their quiver is a filibuster. It’s one sentence out of a long editorial.

  6. #6 |  Peter Ramins | 

    If our legislative body was even 10% as lethargic and sluggish as he initially claimed, I would be much more at ease.

  7. #7 |  Brian | 

    @1: It’s been explained more thoroughly elsewhere, but the reason a threat of filibuster is enough to work is that it’s actually much nastier to defend than than to hold. Basically, all the majority members have to stay there the whole time, but the minority just needs 1 member there at a time:

    1. It takes 60 votes for cloture, not just 3/5 of those present.
    2. The majority has to keep most members present at all times; otherwise the minority can swarm in, call the vote, and win.
    3. All but the one speaking member of the minority can therefore go home and sleep.

    So if the Dems wanted to force an actual filibuster, they’d be the ones to suffer.

  8. #8 |  RobZ | 

    Chuchundra is correct.

    It sure seems to me like Jeremy Lott is the one at fault here.
    Perhaps Radley too, for passing along the smear so enthusiastically.

  9. #9 |  Bill | 

    Libertarians are always right, but never win.
    When you attack Republicans, the Republicans call you a liberal and think you are really a Democrat.
    When you attack Democrats, they assume you are a right-wing Republican.
    But we are the only ones who are truly honest about what is going on.

  10. #10 |  Bill | 

    What the other Bill said.

  11. #11 |  central texas | 

    While you are strutting and preening, could you let us know exactly how many filibusters took place, say between 2002 and 2008 and then from 2008 to the present?

    I seem to recall that the republicans made a point of threatening to disallow the filibuster by changing the rules of the Senate. Is that a legitimate option now that there is a different party in the majority?

  12. #12 |  Mike | 

    While I certainly agree Meyerson’s original article was a ‘we suck’ thing. I don’t see how that invalidates the hypocrisy. He was stating the democrats in the senate were down to thier last arrow because they lost the majority. Isn’t that the same thing as saying that the minority party only ever has one arrow in thier quiver?

  13. #13 |  MikeZ | 

    Additionally Isn’t the republican party in at least the same sorry state of affairs as the Dems were? Certainly they seem like a party without a clear direction just like Meyerson said the democrats did. If they were down to their last arrow, I’d say the same is true for the Republicans.

  14. #14 |  Boyd Durkin | 

    there’s only one party: big government. Everything else is the diversion.

  15. #15 |  Chuchundra | 

    There’s no advocacy in the first article as to how or how often the Democrats should use the filibuster. Given the context, it’s reasonable to assume that it would be used as it had been used prior to the 2002 elections, i.e. in very limited circumstances.

    Even if you support the general utility of the filibuster, it’s not hypocrisy to criticize the unprecedented use of it by the Republicans in this legislative session and in the last on. We now have every bill and every Presidential appointment facing the threat of a filibuster.

    There is a de facto requirement now for every action of the Senate to require at least sixty votes.

  16. #16 |  MikeZ | 

    Why do you say prior to the 2002 election? Wasn’t the first article written in response to the 2002 election results? Still filibuster use has been on the rise for decades. You could easily make the statement that the 2002 Senate used more filibusters than any senate before it. Same with the 2001 Senate etc. It hasn’t been used in very limited circumstances in 40 years now. So it doesn’t seem reasonable to me to assume it would be used in a very limited fashion.

    See: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Filibuster

    Personally I don’t support the use of a Filibuster I thought it was a cheap tactic back in 2002, and it is still a cheap tactic today. If the Senate wants to run things with a 3/5 majority instead of a simple majority I’m not against that just change the rules to make it so. Eternally keeping a non-existant debate going just to prevent a vote sickens me. Senators should stand up and be counted thats what we pay them for.

  17. #17 |  RobertP | 

    Speaking of hackery, why is it post-worthy to point out what some *columnist* says yet you’ve been silent with all of the GOP *elected officials* who are filibustering virtually everything now? Yes, the same GOP officials whom, just 3 years ago, complained mightily that the Dems were blocking the will of the people because Dem filibusters prevented the famous *upperdownvote*?

  18. #18 |  Radley Balko | 

    Speaking of hackery, why is it post-worthy to point out what some *columnist* says yet you’ve been silent with all of the GOP *elected officials* who are filibustering virtually everything now?

    http://www.theagitator.com/2008/12/09/hackwatch-our-first-installment/

    Two clicks, RobertP. That’s all it took. Two fucking clicks.

    Nice to see that leftist trolls are just as lazy, ignorant, and moronic as the rightist trolls who have stalked this site the last several years.

  19. #19 |  Phelps | 

    “A catastrophic change has overtaken the Senate in recent years,” he wrote. Because of the filibuster, “the Senate has become a body that shuns debate, avoids legislative give-and-take, proceeds glacially and produces next to nothing.”

    Feature, not a bug.

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