In April 2005, when Democrats were blocking a list of Bush nominees and Republicans were threatening to invoke the “nuclear option,” the newly elected junior senator from Illinois, Sen. Barack Obama, took to the floor and sanctimoniously proclaimed that the nuclear option would not only be a violation of democratic principles, but that it would worsen partisanship.
Here are few excerpts from his remarks:
Everyone in this chamber knows that if the majority chooses to end the filibuster – if they choose to change the rules and put an end to democratic debate, then the fighting and the bitterness and the gridlock will only get worse.
I urge my Republican colleagues not to go through with changing these rules . . . I sense that talk of the nuclear option is more about power than about fairness. I believe some of my colleagues propose this rules change because they believe they can get away with it rather than because they know it’s good for our democracy.
What (Americans) don’t expect is for one Party, be it Republican or Democrat, to change the rules in the middle of the game, so that they can make all the decision while the other Party is told to sit down and keep quiet.