In its press release today, The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights blames the filibuster for the defeat of President Obama’s DOJ nominee, Debo Adegbile [defense counsel for cop-killer Mumia Abu Jamal – Ed.] :
WASHINGTON—Wade Henderson, president and CEO of The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights, released the statement below following the Senate filibuster of Debo Adegbile to be Assistant Attorney General of the Civil Rights Division at the Department of Justice:
“Today’s vote demonstrated the worst elements of our political system. Unhinged rhetoric trumped substance, racialized language triumphed over thoughtful discourse, and our legal and political system will pay the price.
There’s only one problem with this: There wasn’t a filibuster. Adegbile went down by a clean 47-52. …
The Leadership Conference may have typed this up a long time ago and released it without change. … Who knows? As a wider rule, though, Senate Democrats’ decision to reform the filibuster has deprived them of a useful PR tool. If this vote had been taken last year, all we would have heard today is that “extreme” or “obstructionist” Republicans had filibustered Obama’s nominee. Likewise, all of the vitriol that is being thrown at Adegbile’s critics would have been aimed at Republicans, while the seven Democrats who helped to kill the nomination would have been largely spared. The likely headline: ”Republicans Reject Controversial Obama Nominee.”
Not now. With a mere 50-vote threshold, ThinkProgress and its ilk have no choice but to run headlines such as “Meet The 7 Democrats Who Just Voted Down A Civil Rights Nominee For Supporting Civil Rights.” Meanwhile, irritated progressives are forced to focus in on the members of the Democratic party who are standing in the way of their aims. Last year, it didn’t really matter who voted with the GOP because the GOP could kill nominees on its own. Now, the recalcitrant members of the president’s own party will bear the brunt should they step out of line. Their cover is gone.