As we went on to explain, this is pure crap. Republicans call it the "nuclear option" all the time. Or at least they did until a couple days ago when some as yet undocumented focus group showed it didn't poll well. Indeed, Republicans have seemed most to relish the term, gleefully relishing its aura of threat and intimidation. Such was the case for instance when the Rev. Jerry Falwell told Ralph Neas on Crossfire on February 16th that if the Democrats persisted in not approving all of President Bush's nominees "he [i.e., Sen. Frist] will in fact impose the nuclear option. And there will be a 51-vote necessity only. When that happens, you guys are dead in the water, and you ought to be."
... In fact, as many of you have now written in, it seems that the guy who came up with this notorious Democratic smear was none other than its prime proponent, Sen. Trent Lott (R) of Mississippi. For more on this we listen in on Jeffrey Toobin's piece from March 7th issue of The New Yorker ...
"Changing the Senate's rules on judicial filibustering was first addressed in 2003, during the successful Democratic filibuster against Miguel Estrada, whom Bush had nominated to the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit. Ted Stevens, a Republican Senate veteran from Alaska, was complaining in the cloakroom that the Democratic tactic should simply be declared out of order, and, soon enough, a group of Republican aides began to talk about changing the rules. It was understood at once that such a change would be explosive; Senator Trent Lott, the former Majority Leader, came up with "nuclear option," and the term stuck.
You might have thought getting gamed on 'privatization' might have led some of these newshounds to a greater skepticism the next time those RNC operatives came calling. But it seems we have not yet plumbed the depths of the 'spank me, spank me' journalistic ethic.
So here's the deal for journalists. If you get bamboozled one more time on this - we will be left with only two possibilities in thinking about you: (1) you are a bought and paid-for GOP whore; or (2) you are a hopeless incompetent.
Update [2005-4-23 17:14:56 by Armando]: CNN, already a recognized GOP Whore, does not disappoint, as pointed out in comments below:
Yep, CNN is an incompetent GOP Whore. No news there. But the funny thing is how bad the whoredom is. Even Nedra Pickler is 10 times fairer:
Reid does not get quoted in the CNN version of the AP article.
Update [2005-4-23 17:32:27 by Armando]: William F. Buckley, who supports the "nuclear option," has this to say about the use and origin of the phrase:
That doesn't smell nuclear, but everyone uses the term because changing the number of votes required to end a filibuster means shredding the sheet anchor to windward. The filibuster is held in high esteem as the last refuge against plebiscitary williwaws that storm the popular will, sweeping away venerable threads of sobriety and caution.
Hell, if Buckley accepts the term as Republican in origin, you would hope the f-ing Media could to.
Update [2005-4-23 19:50:19 by Armando]: Newsweek is at it too:
Incompetent or whores?