When Is a Filibuster Not a Filibuster?


When the Democrats whine after a cloture vote against John Bolton and some how with a straight face say it is not.

Well the Cloture vote has failed, 56-42

The Senate voted 56-42 to block a final vote on Bolton. Democratic Sens. Mary Landrieu of Louisiana and Ben Nelson of Nebraska voted for the end to debate, but other Democrats argued they want more information on the nominee’s requests for certain intelligence intercepts. Democratic Sen. Mark Pryor of Arkansas also voted for cloture.

Question: You know when someone is filibustering a nominee?
Answer: When they tell you right after they have done so that they are not filibustering.

Thus, after the cloture vote, I think that Reid and Biden dost protest too much.

Still, the two insisted the vote was not a filibuster.

“We want to make clear that this is not a filibuster. It is a vote to protect the Senate’s constitutional power to advise and consent to nominations,” they wrote.

After the vote, Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid said the vote against ending debate did not reflect on the nominee per se.

“We’re not here to filibuster Bolton, we’re here to get information on Bolton,” Reid said.

Senate Majority Leader, Bill Frist called it like he saw it after the vote.

“It does disappoint me,” Frist said after the vote. “It looks like we have, once again, another filibuster.”

Michelle Malkin has some more comments from the aftermath of the cloture vote from Bill Frist in comparing a duck to a filibuster.

658pm Frist: It certainly sounds like a filibuster. It quacks like a filibuster.
It does disappoint me…We are going to come back to this issue…but I think what America has just seen is an engagement of another period of obstruction by the other side…once again, another filibuster…

The Political Teen has the video.

More from ABC:

Frist said the Bolton matter soured the air of cooperation.

“John Bolton, the very first issue we turned to, we got what looks to me like a filibuster,” Frist said. “It certainly sounds like a filibuster … it quacks like a filibuster.”

Sen. Joseph Biden, D-Del., said Democrats do not want to postpone an up-or-down vote indefinitely.

“We are willing to vote 10 minutes after we get back in session, if in fact they provide the information,” Biden said.

MSNBC chimes in with the Glee of the Democratic victory of obstruction. I would really remind Democrats not to get so smug and overplay your hand. Less than 72 hours after Democrats and the idiot 14 claims the Republic was saved, the Democrats have filibustered. Do you really think there is an appearance of doing the work of the American people?

Bolton’s confirmation vote will now be delayed for at least a week, until the Senate returns from its Memorial Day recess.

In a last-ditch effort, two Democratic senators, Sen. Chris Dodd of Connecticut and Sen. Joe Biden of Delaware, had worked Thursday to round up the 41 votes needed to stop Bolton’s nomination.

Blogs For Bush live blogged the vote.

UPDATE I: Lets see what the Left is saying.Daily Kos

Looking that way. Democrats say this isn’t a traditional filibuster — Bolton isn’t being killed. His nomination is merely being delayed until the administration delivers information Dems consider crucial to making a final determination.
Good move.

If its so crucial why did Biden say that the minute they get the information they would allow and up and down vote? Good move? Maybe over playing a hand that people are growing weary of gridlock. Biden: “We are willing to vote 10 minutes after we get back in session, if in fact they provide the information,” By the looks of the comments the Left may just be overplaying the Ace/10 suited.


Vote delayed. Given the fact that the administration/state department isn’t giving the Republican Committee Chair the information he requested, it’s the only right thing to do.

That’s a little thin for the same reasons as above.

Crooks & Liars, Democrats win crucial Bolton vote

The administration stonewalls on supplying documents. I heard Joe Lieberman say on Ed Schultz that he stood with the members until they received the proper information.

To answer a question posed by a commenter lets go to a post that hits the question dead on. Quando reiterates the uselessness of the documents requested and the high level of security that they contain
Question: But why doesn’t the White House simply comply to a very reasonable request? What are they hiding?

Answer: The papers in question, however, are highly classified documents that detail intelligence sources and methods. Redacted versions of the documents were considered unacceptable by the Democrats.

The State Department, referring to the Senate’s famed inability to keep such material secret, has categorically refused to turn those unredacted documents over to the Senate. Moreover, they state that the Department will never allow the Senate to see unredacted originals. In my opinion, State is quite right to make that determination.

Thus the Democrats are doing what they do best, circular logic. They are requesting a document stating that it is paramount to passing cloture yet they know they will never be given the document in a form that they are asking for. Sounds like doing the work of the American people to me. The Democrats talk about the Presidents approval rating; have they taken a good look at their’s lately?

Posted May 26, 2005 by
Politics | 12 comments

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  • Comments

    12 Responses to “When Is a Filibuster Not a Filibuster?”

    1. pgl on May 26th, 2005 10:12 pm

      You forgot to mention that Sen. Reid called this the 1st filibuster of the year. Your omission strikes me as your being a tad dishonest. But why doesn’t the White House simply comply to a very reasonable request? What are they hiding?

    2. Red on May 26th, 2005 10:33 pm


      How is it being dishonest if Reid said the following:

      “Still, the two insisted the vote was not a filibuster.”

      “We want to make clear that this is not a filibuster. It is a vote to protect the Senate’s constitutional power to advise and consent to nominations,” they wrote


      I think it is probably more dishonest to actually think that the request was not a stall tactic and lame attempt to disrupt the process.

      From Harry Reid’s words the other the to bipartisanship today then …

      “Just 72 hours after all the goodwill and bipartisanship, it is a shame to see the Democratic Senate leadership resort back to such a partisan approach,” McClellan said. “This is a nominee that enjoys majority support.”

      There is honesty for you.

      Someone needs to explain why these documents would be needed if Biden says,

      “Democrats do not want to postpone an up-or-down vote indefinitely.”

      “We are willing to vote 10 minutes after we get back in session, if in fact they provide the information,” Biden said.


    3. Scott Tribe on May 26th, 2005 11:00 pm

      Didn’t Frist say a month or 2 ago he was only seeking to kill the filibuster on judicial appointments and nothing else?

      So, he claims Bolton just got filibustered… but why should he and the rest of you Republican supporters be making a stink over it? Under his definition, the minority still has the right to do filibusters/delays (whatever you want to call it -I regard both sides playing semantics with what happenned) on non-judicial appointments, and last I looked, a UN Ambassador’s job isnt the same as a judge.

    4. Kathy on May 26th, 2005 11:28 pm

      Hi, Red. Thank you for commenting on my blog. I decided to respond here, because I wasn’t sure if you read me regularly.

      IT’S HARD TO BELIEVE that even LIBERAL bloggers would not be embarrassed anymore to post links to articles that would defend Saddam Hussein’s atrocities.

      I did not post any such links, and no one I know defends Saddam Hussein’s atrocities. However, the fact that Saddam Hussein committed atrocities does not justify or excuse our committing them as well. And I think it’s hypocritical to still be justifying the invasion of iraq on the basis of Saddam Hussein’s atrocities when in the last two years we have learned how much torture and horrific brutality happens in U.S. interrogation and detention facilities.

      You are comparing the actions of a few servicemen to the everyday 24-7-365 way of life under Saddam Hussein?

      It’s not just “a few servicemen.” I am actually floored that anyone can still believe that. This is everyday life at Guantanamo, at Abu Ghraib, at Bagram, and lots of other secret interrogation/detention centers run by the U.S. military. Read Erik Saar’s book, “Inside the Wire.” He saw this stuff first-hand, and he went in there totally supportive of the war on terror and believing that everyone at Guantanamo either helped plan 9/11 or was planning another terrorist attack on the U.S. After just a few months, he realized that most of the detainees there had nothing to do with Al Qaeda or terrorism. Not only that, Red; Saar shows that it was not just bad apples. It was policy. The same is true of Abu Ghraib, Bagram, etc.

      There is a far cry from extracting information out of someone by means that you may not think acceptable and just randomly killing or raping someone for sport. I guess in your mind that getting such info from a terrorist if it saved lives, even your own would not be worth it or necessary? Sorry that we believe it is.

      First, “extracting information” out of someone by torture is not acceptable. Ever. Torture is not acceptable. Condoning it against detainees in our custody degrades America morally, contradicts the values of justice and freedom that we say we are trying to spread around the world, turns the United States into a global symbol of fear, terror, and hypocrisy, and puts our own soldiers at risk when they are taken captive. Second, torture is not an effective or reliable means of getting any kind of usable information out of anyone. People can and will say or do anything to stop the pain; often they die. Third, if the only moral distinction you can find between Saddam Hussein and the Bush admin is that Hussein killed and raped and tortured for sport, and our government does it for serious business reasons, then I don’t think you have a very solid moral position there. Fourth, most of the time, when detainees are tortured for “information,” they are not terrorists and have no usable information. They often make something up though, to stop the torture. Every detainee who is being tortured knows what his or her torturer wants to hear. So the detainee tells the torturer what the torturer wants to hear. Whether it’s true or not. Fifth, it’s not true that detainees are not tortured for fun or for sport in U.S.-run facilities. Of course they are. Absolutely, without a doubt, they are. Did you read the coverage of what happened to that 22-year-old taxi driver who had the extremely bad luck to drive into Bagram Air Force Base and ended up dead in his cell after being hung from the ceiling, beaten savagely hundreds of times, and used for entertainment by every guard in the prison who got a kick out of hearing him scream out the name of Allah everytime he was struck? As far as your comment about torturing a terrorist being worthwhile if it saved lives, you’re correct that I don’t agree that is right. I don’t believe in destroying or profoundly harming some human beings to save or protect other human beings. I think that everyone is harmed by torture, including those who commit the torture. It turns us into something that is less than human; and I think that price for saving life is too high, even if it did or could save life, which it doesn’t and can’t. And you probably might feel differently if it were Americans being tortured by foreigners who totally were convinced that they were doing it to save their own people’s lives.

      I guess in your world you actually think that the Iraqi people were better off living in fear of being killed every day for just walking down the street? … Do you think that the insurgents that willingly and justify killing other Iraqi Muslims are any different that Saddam?

      In some ways they actually were better off, and you will find many Iraqis who would say that themselves. Overall, of course the Iraqi people were not better off under Saddam Hussein, which is what I assume you mean by your reference to a time when Iraqis lived in fear of being killed every day just for walking down the street. I assume you are referring to Hussein’s time, because you put it in the past tense. But that time has not ended, even though Saddam is gone. People are still terrified to walk down the street. Every time you open your front door, it could be your last moment.

      And when all is said and done, the fact that Iraqis were not better off when Saddam was in power does NOT mean that they ARE better off now. They are actually not. They have just exchanged one set of torturers and assassins for another. Only now, there is the added humiliation and outrage of living under occupation by a foreign power. How would you like it if Iraq or Iran or Syria’s military occupied the United States, and their soldiers could go anywhere they wanted in your country and do anything they wanted with a total sense of entitlement to be doing so? Iraqis (most of them) hated Saddam Hussein; but they also hate the U.S. presence in Iraq and the occupation. They want Americans out of their country. Isn’t that clear by now?

      As for the insurgency, I think the violence and terror it causes is no different from the violence and terror under Saddam Hussein, except that the insurgent violence is more random and unpredictable. Nor is the insurgent violence or Saddam Hussein’s violence any different from the violence of thousands of U.S. troops invading Iraqi towns, cities, and villages, killing hundreds of civilians, and turning entire populations into a river of refugees, homeless, fleeing for their lives.

      And by the way, what and who do you think caused the insurgency? You condemn the insurgency, but before the war started, those of us who opposed it predicted that war would make things worse. The insurgency is a direct result of the invasion, and the stupid, incompetent decisions Donald Rumsfeld made. So if you hate the insurgency, blame the Bush administration as much as you blame the insurgents. The latter were birthed by the former.

      I thought liberals wanted freedom and liberties for all, not just themselves.

      We do. That’s why we are so appalled and horrified by the Iraq invasion and occupation. We have killed, directly or indirectly, hundreds of thousands of people, and there is no freedom and no liberty for anyone in Iraq — and no reasonable prospect of any, either. Only terror, violence, chaos, and unimaginable suffering. I think that Pres. Bush and his cronies are responsible for that suffering, and they should be tried for crimes against humanity. I know, fat chance, but that’s what should happen, even though it won’t.

      You’re more than welcome for the link. That’s why I blog, to read and write about the opinions of others as well as my own.

      Take care,


    5. Red on May 27th, 2005 12:16 am


      It is your boys, Reid & Biden, that went out of their way to say this was not a filibuster of Bolton. Do not forget that. Why are your guys not admitting the truth of what they are doing? They can filibuster Bolton all they want, JUST ADMIT IT LIKE MEN. Not cower behind a BS non-filibuster semantic excuse. That is merely pathetic.

      The reason why they will not admit it because they, Biden & Reid, know the backlash they will endure from voters. Not just Republicans. They dynamic duo came back way to quick with their non-filibuster excuses after the cloture vote. They can read the tea leaves.

      It does not matter what they agreed to, they know damn well that Dems are on the verge of so over-plying their hand. Keep up the cocky attitude and we will see you in Nov. 2006. Take a good look at what Congressional approval ratings are at.

      If its a filibuster have the balls to call it one. You do, I respect that. Reid and Biden don’t because they are gutless.

    6. minnie on May 27th, 2005 1:12 am

      For GOd’s sake we better hope those documents Biden is demanding don’t make the evening TV news, or there’ll be hell to pay. He knows we’re hiding something, but I don’t think he’s on to it. If we can just stonewall the Democrats til Bolton is confirmed it won’t matter what sordid festering atrocities are caught on paper. America will be better off for it, GOd Bless President Bush.

      So far we seem to have been able to keep the lid on the press learning who forged of the smear documents linking George Galloway to Saddam (admittedly they were a real amateur job, but we got lucky I guess.) Let’s keep the chatter up about the Michael Jackson trial and the Runaway Bride, and we can slip this one past the Fox News suckling public too.

    7. Scott Tribe on May 27th, 2005 5:44 am

      Hey Red:

      First off – they arent “my boys”.. I’m a Canadian, so I comment on them from an outsider’s perspective – though I am in obvious sympathy with the Democratic Party’s position on this.

      2nd I agree Reid and Co. not be ashamed to call it for what it is.. if they want to delay this vote til they get more info.. call it a delaying filibuster.. not a killing the nominee filibuster.

      3rd.. It seems to me that its the Republican Party overeaching on this – between Terry Schiavo’s case, and trying to ram thru judicial nominees on questionable tactics in the Senate for a President that already has had 95% approval rate on his judges shows a Party not satisfied with anything but crushing the opposition and totally ignoring the 49% of people that voted against Bush in the election.

    8. McGehee on May 27th, 2005 9:08 am

      I hope Scott will forgive me, but in a parliamentary system, a government elected despite 49% opposition would be able to steamroll that opposition as if it didn’t exist.

      I’m not sure Canadians have standing to lecture on this.

    9. Red on May 27th, 2005 11:15 am


      Do you not think that information on classified docs have never been leaked by politicians?

      Leahy, at the time, was on the Senate Intelligence Committee. Leaky Leahy was quoted in the Washington Times as saying he thought this effort “was the most ridiculous thing I had seen, and also the most irresponsible.” Apparently he felt obligated to leak this intelligence information to the press-and the plan was aborted. One can only wonder how many innocent civilians have died since then because of Gaddhafi’s terrorist activities.

      Leahy also leaked intelligence information in 1985 dealing with the terrorist attack on the cruise ship Achille Lauro. The San Diego Union-Tribune reported that this leak apparently cost the life of at least one Egyptian operative who was working on the case. When Leahy leaks, people die.


      Biden & Reid are requesting “INTERNAL” State Dept docs that are not redacted. These are never released. Furthermore, these documents could tell a story that Bolton was responsible for the cure for cancer and the saving of millions of lives and it would not change the vote of these two.

      Spare me the “Fox News suckling public” comments. Looks like the rest your liberal MSM enjoys Michael Jackson & the run away Bride as well.

      Please keep overplaying your hand.

    10. Red on May 27th, 2005 11:30 am


      You would be very correct on Parliamentary Governments.

    11. Red on May 27th, 2005 11:34 am


      Lets deal in some facts: (Thanks to the Blue site)

      During the first complete two-year Congress of their presidencies, postwar presidents achieved the following confirmation rates for their circuit-court nominees:

      Truman (80th Congress; 3/3: 100 percent); Eisenhower (83rd; 12/13: 92.3 percent); Kennedy (87th; 17/22: 77.3 percent); Johnson (89th; 25/26: 96.2 percent); Nixon (91st; 20/23: 87 percent); Ford (94th; 9/11: 81.8 percent); Carter (95th: 12/12: 100 percent); Reagan (97th: 19/20; 95 percent); G.H.W. Bush (101st; 22/23: 95.7 percent); Clinton (103rd: 19/22: 86.4 percent); G.W. Bush (107th; 17/32: 53.1 percent).

      Thus, for the first complete two-year Congresses of the 10 postwar presidencies preceding George W. Bush’s, the circuit-court confirmation rate averaged 91.2 percent.

      For Mr. Bush, it was 53.1 percent.

      Let’s now aggregate the data for a president’s first four-year term, while making minor, necessary adjustments (e.g., folding the 79th Congress into the first term of Truman, who succeeded Roosevelt in April 1945; using 1965-1968 as Johnson’s first term; and ignoring Ford, who served less than 2.5 years). Then, the first-term confirmation rates are the following: Truman (10/11: 90.9 percent); Eisenhower (23/26: 88.5 percent); Kennedy/Johnson, 1961-1964 (24/29: 82.8 percent); Johnson, 1965-1968 (37/39: 94.9 percent); Nixon (38/41; 92.7 percent); Carter (56/61: 91.8 percent); Reagan (33/42: 78.6 percent); G.H.W. Bush (42/54: 77.8 percent); Clinton (30/42: 71.4 percent); G.W. Bush (35/66: 53 percent).

      Thus, since World War II, for the nine four-year, first-term presidencies that preceded George W. Bush’s, the circuit-court confirmation rate averaged 85.5 percent. For Mr. Bush’s first term, the rate was a relatively dismal 53 percent.

      Don’t conveniently look at all Judges, look at Circuit Court ones.

    12. Scared Monkeys » Blog Archive » Short Lived Truce Indeed on May 27th, 2005 11:58 pm

      [...] press for reforms at the world body. Well we all know what happened on Thursday when the Cloture Vote on John Bolton failed. “The honeymoon is over,” Sen. George Allen (R-Va.) said sharp [...]

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