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PolitiFact needs a new rating

As most people know by now, the Democrats changed the rules in the Senate to eliminate filibusters against judicial nominees (except for the Supreme Court, which can still be filibustered). This has sometimes (and misleadingly) been called the “nuclear option”.

To justify this dramatic move, Senate majority leader Harry Reid released the following graphic:

Harry Reid

PolitiFact took a look at the numbers, and interestingly enough, determined that Reid had been too conservative. Reid actually understated the situation — he claimed that 82 out of 168 (or slightly less than half) of the filibusters of judicial candidates have occurred during Obama’s presidency.

PolitiFact found that some nominees have received more than one filibuster, making Reid’s original numbers slightly misleading. If you report it by nominee, rather than by filibuster, then of 147 total judicial nominees who have ever been filibustered, 79 of them (or solidly more than half) have occurred during Obama’s presidency. PolitiFact states:

By our calculation, there were actually 68 individual nominees blocked prior to Obama taking office and 79 (so far) during Obama’s term, for a total of 147.

Reid’s point is actually a bit stronger using these these revised numbers. Using these figures, blockages under Obama actually accounted for more than half of the total, not less then half. Either way, it’s disproportionate by historical standards.

PolitiFact gave the graphic a rating of “Mostly True” rather than “True”, but it is ironic that their issue with Reid’s statement is that it understates the situation. Politicians are normally taken to task because they overstate the truth.



  1. ebdoug wrote:

    And if the Republicans get control of the Senate, how soon before the Democrats want the filibuster back?

    Sunday, November 24, 2013 at 5:53 am | Permalink
  2. Iron Knee wrote:

    Eva, the response to that argument is that if Republicans get control of the Senate again, they will almost certainly get rid of the filibuster themselves. Or, as has happened in the past, they will use the threat of getting rid of the filibuster as leverage to get what they want anyway.

    Sunday, November 24, 2013 at 9:03 am | Permalink
  3. Mark Lause wrote:

    The entire long-standing filibuster flim-flam was put with the connivance of Congressional Democrats who wanted to defer to the Republicans without having to explain why.

    Sunday, November 24, 2013 at 9:46 am | Permalink
  4. TJ wrote:

    I am often infuriated with Politifact’s ratings. First, “Mostly False” and “Mostly True” sound too similar and there should be a rating between them. Second, They are far too hesitant to give a “False” or “True” – some extremist can say something blatantly false with the smallest shred of truth to it and get a “Mostly False” and then someone rational can say something true but they pick every single bit of it apart to find some innocuous mistake and give it “Mostly True” (see Harry Reid example).

    Sunday, November 24, 2013 at 12:03 pm | Permalink
  5. Duckman wrote:

    While you surely cannot blame democrats for doing this, it is really going to bite them in the ass one day

    Sunday, November 24, 2013 at 9:03 pm | Permalink
  6. Iron Knee wrote:

    Since it was inevitable, it doesn’t really matter if it bites them in the ass. But I agree with you, it surely will.

    Too bad there was no compromise that would have allowed filibusters, but only rarely, or only in extreme cases. But I fear the word compromise is long gone from politics in this country.

    Added hypocrisy — everyone flopped on this one:

    Sunday, November 24, 2013 at 9:19 pm | Permalink
  7. Sammy wrote:

    Conservatives are quite fond of exclaiming Obama’s presidency as a “failure” and they love to expound on his lack of “leadership”. This is like someone breaking three of your guitar strings, smashing all of your amp’s tubes, and trying 46 times to cancel your upcoming gig, and then exclaiming that your musical performance is a “failure”.

    Tuesday, November 26, 2013 at 12:43 pm | Permalink
  8. ThatGuy wrote:

    Sammy don’t forget that person would be claiming you want to destroy America’s music culture in the process.

    Tuesday, November 26, 2013 at 1:25 pm | Permalink
  9. Patriotsgt wrote:

    Welcome back Sammy, haven’t heard from you for awhile.

    Thursday, November 28, 2013 at 12:24 am | Permalink