Majority Leader showed ‘little or no concern for the collateral damage his methods inflict on the Senate and our political system…’
(Quin Hillyer, Liberty Headlines) In what critics might say is one of the worst-ever examples of the pot calling even ivory “black,” a top aide to former Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid wrote a column this week saying that current Majority Leader Mitch McConnell “broke the Senate and hurt the country.”
The writer, Jim Manley, was communications chief for Reid, the Democrat from Nevada.
Before that, he worked for 11 years for Massachusetts leftist Ted Kennedy—and even before that for Democratic Majority Leader George Mitchell of Maine.
All three of his former bosses were known for ruthlessness in pursuit of power and for bending Senate traditions to suit partisan purposes. (Examples, momentarily.)
Yet Manley wrote Thursday at The Daily Beast that it McConnell who has been “ruthless” and “amoral,” with “little or no concern for the collateral damage his methods inflict on the Senate and our political system.”
To make his case, Manley cited actions such as McConnell in 2009 having “used every tool available to him as Republican leader to block Obama’s efforts” to deal with the aftereffects of the financial crisis—as if McConnell having different ideas as to how to deal with the crisis was the same as indifference to the “suffering” of the American people.
Manley also blasted McConnell for embracing the Tea Party movement (oh, the horror!), for blocking a lot of President Obama’s judicial nominations, for refusing to give a hearing to Supreme Court nominee Merrick Garland, and now for supposedly dirty pool in pushing through the nomination of Brett Kavanaugh to the high court.
Somehow, Manley was not so upset when Reid (and/or Kennedy) broke or changed all sorts of Senate rules and traditions, without showing any remorse for doing so.
Reid and Kennedy broke 215 years of Senate practice in 2001-03 by using a minority filibuster to permanently kill a judicial nomination, that of brilliant lawyer Miguel Estrada, for the first time in history. (The real reason they did it was “because …he [was] Latino,” and they didn’t want Republicans to get credit for appointing a Latino.)
He did not object when they tried ambush tactics to falsely smear judicial nominee Bill Pryor. (They failed.) He did not object when Reid overused and abused a rule called “filling the amendment tree” to keep Republicans from even offering amendments on legislation, nor when he joined other Democrats in saying that the Senate had “no duty to vote” on President G.W. Bush’s judicial nominees – and followed by using such extreme tactics that 14 of the nominees were withdrawn and a whopping 177 never even received a vote.
Manley’s former boss Kennedy infamously poisoned the well of the Senate, and of public discourse, by his vicious smear of Supreme Court nominee Robert Bork.
And Manley conveniently ignores the time Reid baldly lied in saying that Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney had failed to pay his taxes, justified it by saying that Romney “didn’t win, did he?,” and later doubled down by saying he “did what was necessary.”
Finally, all the way back to when Manley was working for Mitchell, the then-Majority Leader led an even earlier blockade of Republican judicial nominations, in that case from President George H.W. Bush.
One of the nominees for whom Mitchell refused to even hold a vote was a young John Roberts—who waited another 11 years before the younger Bush finally put him on the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals and, later, the Supreme Court.
So Merrick Garland was far from the first judicial nominee ever denied a vote.
For some 17 years at least, the large majority of others were unfairly blocked by the men for whom Jim Manley worked.