When Republicans use the tools at their disposal to oppose a Democratic president's agenda or personnel, it's very wicked 'unprecedented obstruction' (even if it's not at all unprecedented), necessitating nuclear-style rules changes. When Democrats use the (far fewer, thanks to themselves) tools at their disposal to do the same, it's righteous 'unprecedented obstruction.' Good luck with this, Chuck and friends:
Democratic senators plan to aggressively target eight of Donald Trump’s Cabinet nominees in the coming weeks and are pushing to stretch their confirmation votes into March — an unprecedented break with Senate tradition. Such delays would upend Republican hopes of quickly holding hearings and confirming most of Trump’s top picks on Inauguration Day. But Democrats, hamstrung by their minority status, are determined to slow-walk Trump’s picks unless they start disclosing reams of personal financial data they’ve withheld so far, according to senior aides. Despite early vows to cooperate with Trump and his new government, Democrats have been troubled by a lack of personal disclosure by Cabinet choices that they say mirrors Trump’s refusal to disclose personal tax information during the presidential campaign.
For the record, I'm in favor of pushing for more disclosure, even as President Obama has normalized opacity and anti-transparency politicking over his tenure in office. But Democrats say they're planning to target eight -- a majority -- of Trump's announced cabinet selections, which the Washington Post notes represents a startling departure from Senate precedent. In the crosshairs are the President-Elect's picks for the top posts at State, Labor, Justice, Health and Human Services, Education, Budget, Treasury, and the EPA. Let's compare how Senate Democrats' threatened obstruction stacks up with the manner in which President Obama's slate of nominees was treated by Republicans, who were in the minority at the time, via the Daily Signal:
Senate Democrats are mounting an aggressive effort to reject or delay President-elect Donald Trump’s choices for major Cabinet positions, in a reversal of the deference Republicans showed in speedily confirming President Barack Obama’s nominees eight years ago. In January 2009, the Senate confirmed 10 of Obama’s Cabinet choices within his first week as president, nine of them by voice vote, in which senators’ yes and no votes aren’t recorded.
It seems as though Senate Democrats are readying themselves to once again escalate the confirmation wars, as they've done at every turn over three decades. Ironically, they're pursuing this path while simultaneously bellyaching about their regret over the last time they set a new precedent. Cry me a river, Senator:
He was super against it at the time, you see, even though he -- uh -- voted for it, helping to cement Harry Reid's legacy. Right before they pressed the nuke button, Mitch McConnell issued a warning to his colleagues across the aisle. They should have listened to him back in 2013:
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) warned Democrats Thursday that they’d regret using the “nuclear option.” “You’ll regret this, and you may regret this a lot sooner than you think,” McConnell said on the Senate floor.
Prescient words. And now those same Democrats will be powerless to stop any number of Trump appointments to important positions, including federal judgeships. And in the event that Schumer follows through on his latest threat to try to indefinitely block the newly-elected president's Supreme Court pick, their nuclear tactics should be detonated in their faces -- especially since they were openly planning to expand their power grab if Hillary had won. I'll leave you with these flashbacks to Senate Democrats demanding speedy confirmation processes, and (as a tribute to Schumer's new SCOTUS saber-rattling) this fun image:
One more thing: How many of the nine Democratic Senators from Trump won states who are up for re-election in 2018 are on board with their party's promised obstruction olympics?
UPDATE - This man is no longer a member of the United States Senate.