WaPo Reader Calls Out Lib Columnist on Filibuster Hypocrisy

December 21st, 2009 1:09 PM

Caught this in the Washington Post's "Letters to the Editor" section today.

Good on the Post for printing this letter from a reader who caught liberal columnist E.J. Dionne in the act of hypocrisy:

E.J. Dionne Jr. ["Democratic fratricide," op-ed, Dec. 17] views the Senate as a "dysfunctional and undemocratic partisan hothouse," presumably because of the ability of 41 senators to prevent a bill from coming to a final vote.

Mr. Dionne has not always taken such a dim view of undemocratic procedures, however.

In 2003, he heartily approved of Democratic obstruction of two judicial nominations by President Bush: "The filibuster is the only way to prevent the president from creating a federal judiciary dominated by ideologues of his own persuasion, appointed to satisfy his political base" ["Order and the Courts," op-ed, May 9].

If a filibuster was justified merely to keep two conservatives off the bench, why should it not be used by senators who believe that the health-care bill would be a disaster for the country?

Richard L. Lobb, Fairfax

The analogy is apt. As Ronald Reagan quipped, "The closest thing to eternal life on Earth is a government program." While Supreme Court justices die or retire and Congress can always add or subtract seats on the tribunal, government programs often are forever, for better or worse (almost always worse).

While it's not surprising that a liberal columnist like Dionne would be a hypocrite on propriety of the filibuster, it is pleasantly surprising to find the Post publishing this letter pointing out the fact for readers.