Where You Sit
Position, they say, is policy. President Obama is discovering, as are many of his fellow travellers, that the tools he was only too happy to have available as a Senator can be quite nettlesome when viewed from the Oval Office.
Thus, as Jake Tapper noted, the only President in history to have voted to filibuster a judicial nominee had the chutzpah to decry the “political posturing and ideological brinksmanship” that has characterized the Supreme Court nomination process when it was his turn. And, whereas he held every conceivable position on filibustering the FISA bill, now that his signature domestic priority has been subject to that same meat grinder, he thinks invoking cloture has been used in and “unheard of” fashion:
President Barack Obama on Wednesday expressed frustration with the way the Senate does business, saying the use of delaying tactics there harms the nation’s ability to “deal with big problems in a very competitive world.”
“Other countries are going to start running circles around us,” Obama said in a White House interview with PBS. “We’re going to have to return to some sense that governance is more important than politics inside the Senate.”
Obama’s critique of his former Senate colleagues came just as his allies there were on the cusp of giving him what he wants: passage of a Senate health care bill.
The bare-minimum bloc of 60 senators—all 58 Democrats and two independents—voted to end a GOP filibuster and move toward final passage Thursday.
Obama said the use of that vote-stalling tactic, which requires 60 votes to cut off debate, has been imposed in an “unheard of” routine fashion. He said it’s problematic regardless of which party controls the White House and Congress, but conceded that, as president, he doesn’t have much power to do anything about it.
Suffice it to say, his critique would have carried considerably more weight if he’d considered it “problematic regardless of which party controls the White House and Congress” when he was in the Senate and a Republican was in the White House. But that’s not Obama’s style.