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January 16, 2005
Rue The Day?

Senator Harry Reid told ABC's This Week that any attempt to push through a rule change would cause the GOP heartache down the road:

The Senate's Democratic leader said Sunday that Republicans "would rue the day" if they try to make it harder for Democrats to stall judicial nominees who could not get a vote last year. ...

Reid compared Bush's talk of crisis in judicial nominations to the president's rhetoric on Social Security. "He's trying to create crisis with judges and with Social Security. They don't exist," Reid told ABC's "This Week."

"We have approved for the president of the United States 204 judges the last four years," he said. "We've turned down 10. Even in modern math, that's a pretty good deal."

He said the 10 who did not get a vote in 2004 "were rightfully turned down." The White House announced last month that Bush would renominate them.

The use of the phrase "rue the day" reminds me of the movie Real Genius, a silly but entertaining film that has some of the best one-liners of any movie in the 80s. When Kent tells Mitch and Chris that they'll "rue the day," Chris (Val Kilmer) replies, "'Rue the day'? Who talks like that?" It's the kind of histronic reply tha the desperately powerless gives when checkmated.

Reid also tries to spin what the Democrats did to the 10 judicial nominees in question in order to demonstrate Democratic reasonableness. He claims that the Senate approved 204 judges while only turning down 10. But that's not what happened. Had they received a vote in the Senate and lost, they would have been "turned down". In fact, the Democrats hijacked the confirmation process to keep these nominees from receiving a vote, something that has happened only once before in American history, when both Democrats and Republicans filibustered Abe Fortas to demonstrate his certain defeat on a full Senate vote, allowing LBJ to withdraw the nomination instead. Bush's nominees would have won confirmation in the full Senate.

Reid owes his position as Minority Leader to Tom Daschle's foolish insistence on obstructionism. The Democrats have twice as many at-risk seats in the next election than the GOP. Even if Reid can't do math, I suspect that those red-state Democrats can.

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Posted by Ed Morrissey at January 16, 2005 2:35 PM

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