Grassley Admits (on TV) To Hypocrisy on Filibusters

(It's always good when people can bypass the media filter and ask politicians the questions you wish journalists were asking them. - promoted by desmoinesdem)

I posted some of this last Thursday, but I think it bears repeating since Grassley voted “NO” on the nomination of Kathleen Sebelius to HHS this past week *and* admitted on local cable that he's a hypocrite.

March 14, 2005 – The New Yorker publishes an article, NUKE ‘EM in which Senator Chuck Grassley is quoted, discussing the purpose of the filibuster:

“Filibusters are designed so that the minority can bring about compromise on legislation,” Senator Charles Grassley, an Iowa Republican, told Toobin. “But you can’t compromise a Presidential nomination. It’s yes or no. So filibusters on nominations are an abuse of our function under the Constitution to advise and consent.

My husband called Grassley's office on April 23rd – he read this quote to the aide and asked, “Does Senator Grassley stand by this statement?”

Aide: Oh yes. Absolutely. The Senator stands by that statement.

clonecone: Really? Then why did he vote against cloture for Chris Hill to be Ambassador to Iraq? Why is Senator Grassley helping to hold up Dawn Johnsen's confirmation vote? And why did he help prevent the Senate confirmation of Kathleen Sebelius to Secretary of Health and Human Services?

Aide: I'll be sure the Senator knows your opinion. Thanks for calling.

So, on 4/20/09 Senator Grassley, according to his own definition, voted to abuse the Constitution. Senator Grassley prides himself on being an “honest” kinda guy. What kind of honest guy votes to abuse the Constitution?

Dawn Johnsen's vote is being stalled by Republicans who are threatening to filibuster. This seems surprising because Senator Grassley's vote isn't in question – I mean, he's not an abuser of the Constitution, so is he really planning to help the Republicans filibuster Dawn Johnsen's nomination? Surely not.

But wait! Yesterday evening Senator Grassley was on a local Mediacom show – people could call in and ask him questions. clonecone quickly got on the phone and wouldn't you know it, he got picked to ask a question! This is how the entire thing went down – with video.

clonecone: “In 2005 you said that 'filibusters on nominations are an abuse of our function under the Constitution to advise and consent.' Do you still believe that's true, and if so how do you justify your vote against cloture on Chris Hill last week, and will you support cloture on the nomination of Dawn Johnsen?”

Grassley: “I will not vote for Dawn Johnsen and I will support a filibuster because she is so extreme in her views on that point, and then on the 1st question you asked – If you go back to 2002 – prior to that there was hardly any use on filibusters on judges, but since the Dems started using that, we Republicans want a level playing field with the Democrats, so we are adopting their practice in order to make them responsible the same way they tried to make us responsible with an extraordinary majority in order to get judges approved. So, I still agree that it shouldn't have been done, but people are going to think that Rep. are not doing their job the way the Dems do it and we want to show that we can do just as well as they do, defending our point of view just like they did on their point of view.”

Last week I wrote:

And I'm SURE Senator Grassley doesn't plan on joining a possible filibuster (suggested by Senator Inhofe) of Judge David Hamilton, who was nominated to fill a vacancy on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 7th Circuit.

Looks like my sarcasm was more than valid. Let's pick apart his answer –

First, here's what Grassley's spokeswoman said about his intended cloture vote for Sebelius:

Meanwhile, at least one Republican who opposes Sebelius’s confirmation plans to vote to end any GOP filibusters. Finance Committee ranking member Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) voted against Sebelius in committee and will do the same on the Senate floor, but he intends to vote for cloture, a spokeswoman said. Grassley believes “it would be impossible to get an anti-abortion HHS secretary nominee in this administration, so holding things up wouldn’t change the ultimate outcome,” the spokeswoman explained.

First of all, read the phrase in bold – “holding things up wouldn't change the ultimate outcome”? That doesn't really work with his initial statement defining a Constitutional use of filibusters:

“Filibusters are designed so that the minority can bring about compromise on legislation,” Senator Charles Grassley, an Iowa Republican, told Toobin. “But you can’t compromise a Presidential nomination. It’s yes or no. So filibusters on nominations are an abuse of our function under the Constitution to advise and consent.

There is no legislation here – we're talking about a nomination and according to Grassley, filibustering nominations is “an abuse of our function under the Constitution to advise and consent.” It doesn't matter if Grassley wants an anti-choice nominee and decided not to filibuster because he thinks he'll never get one. Regardless of whether or not he'd ever get the nominee he wants, it is (according to him) an ABUSE of the Constitution to vote against cloture.

Secondly, Grassley said he would support a filibuster of Dawn Johnsen:

“I will not vote for Dawn Johnsen and I will support a filibuster because she is so extreme in her views on that point

Guess what, Chuck? You're a liar and a hypocrite. How does it feel to have no honor at all?

You made a statement in 2005. Your office lackey said that you stood by that statement. Do you want to change your story, or are you sticking with your new excuses?

Dawn Johnsen's “views” on any point should be irrelevant to your vote because you stated yourself that filibustering a nomination of the President is an abuse of the Constitution. Now you want to make excuses for your abuse? You get to do it because you thought Democrats did it?

Is that sort of like your Party's reasoning on why it's all of a sudden legal and okay for the U.S. to torture?

“Al Qaeda tortured, so we should get to torture too!”

Should we stamp our feet like 5 year olds while we make these kinds of declarations and ignore our principles and hundreds of years of International treaties and laws?

“But…but…MOM!! The Democrats filibustered and so we want to filibuster too!!!”

How very grown up of you. What a principled stand!!

I appreciate what you did last night Chuck. I'm thrilled to have it all on video. I plan on making sure everyone I know in Iowa sees it. For far too many years you have been tricking the voters here in Iowa that you're some principled old guy who tells the truth. You're not. You're just another lying hack Republican. You'll say one thing and do another as long as it benefits YOU. The American people have started voting your type out of office, Chuck, and if I have anything at all to say about it, we'll be voting you out of office in 2010.

  • A Republican hypocrite?

    I’m not shocked by that either. What I am shocked by is how many people here in Iowa insist that Grassley is a “genuine” guy, or a “nice” guy.

    People who are genuine don’t lie. Grassley is a Republican just like any other – a hypocrite in every way. Iowans should stop making excuses for him.

    • his constituent service

      has always been good–better than Harkin’s, many people say. Consider how many Iowans have a friend or relative who has been helped in some small way by Grassley’s office during the past 30 years. That helps explain why so many people have a good impression of him.

      Also, Iowa Democrats haven’t really challenged him most times he’s been up for re-election.  

  • I agree

    A friend attended a Grassley town hall in southeastern Iowa.  He said it was a love-fest among the Grassley constituents (? Dems).  When he spoke up to challenge Grassley he got booed to the extent he felt threatened.  Most voters don’t pay attention. Grassley comes off affable and that’s good enough for them.  

    In eastern Iowa, we’ve begun a letters-to-the-editor campaign exposing Grassley’s lies but we could use help from western Iowa.  Here’s a sample of 2 letters on Grassley from the Press-Citizen last week:

    http://www.press-citizen.com/a…  

    http://www.press-citizen.com/a…  

    Join us in this endeavor.

  • On Grassley hypocrisy, I forgot to mention...

    Grassley voted NO on S.896 (Thursday): a bill to prevent mortgage foreclosures and enhance mortgage credit availability

    “Helping Families Save Their homes Act of 2009

    Sponsored by Dodd, Durbin & Schumer

    This is important since Grassley voted NO on the stimulus package (in February) because it didn’t contain a provision for mortgage relief.  Given the opportunity to vote on mortgage relief, he rejected it.

    Here’s the roll call. The bill was withdrawn, failing largely along Republican party lines:

    http://www.senate.gov/legislat…    

    Here’s the ‘Iowa Independent’ article from February:

    Grassley will support stimulus if mortgage amendment is included

    By Jason Hancock 2/4/09 5:37 PM

    http://iowaindependent.com/112…    

     

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