Biden Falsely Calls Filibuster ‘Jim Crow Relic,’ So Why Did Democrats Use It So Much Just Last Year?
In 2005, then-Senators Biden and Obama fought to protect the filibuster, and the videos of their speeches put the lie to what they are saying now.
Before last year’s presidential election, Democrats promised their supporters that they would work to eliminate the filibuster should they regain control of the Senate.
“And as for the filibuster, I’m not busting my chops to become majority leader to do very little or nothing,” then-Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) said during a September interview.
But well before Democrats won the two Georgia Senate seats in the January runoffs, members of their party were throwing wrenches into the process by declaring they would not support their side’s attempts at nuking the filibuster.
For instance, as Democrats like Schumer were taking to the streets to celebrate the media projecting Joe Biden as the winner, Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV) was pouring ice-cold water on his hopes for ending the filibuster.
“Let me be clear: I will not vote to pack the courts & I will not vote to end the filibuster,” Manchin said during a November appearance on Fox News. “If you get rid of the filibuster, there’s no reason to have a Senate.” He has reiterated his position numerous times. His colleague Kyrsten Sinema (D-AZ) strongly agrees with him.
Because Democrats now view senators within their ranks as obstacles to achieve Biden’s plan, Democrats, including Biden, make Jim Crow comparisons as a not so subtle way of pressuring Manchin and Sinema to reconsider.
Biden previously stated through White House press secretary Jen Psaki that his preference was not to eliminate the filibuster.
On Thursday, a reporter asked Biden about the filibuster during his press conference. He indicated that he agreed with former President Obama’s characterization last year of the filibuster as “a relic of the Jim Crow era”:
President Joe Biden said Thursday during the first formal news conference of his presidency that he agreed with former President Barack Obama that the filibuster “was a relic of the Jim Crow era,” but stressed his immediate focus was addressing abuse of the rule.
Asked by CNN’s Kaitlan Collins if he agreed with Obama’s characterization of the controversial procedural tool, which came during the former President’s eulogy last summer for the late Democratic congressman and civil rights icon John Lewis, Biden replied, “Yes.”
.@kaitlancollins: "Do you agree that the filibuster is a relic of the Jim Crow era?"
BIDEN: "Yes."@kaitlancollins: "Why not abolish it if it's a relic of the Jim Crow era?"
BIDEN: "Successful electoral politics is the art of the possible." pic.twitter.com/MVCFoAHGZL
— Daily Caller (@DailyCaller) March 25, 2021
A simple Google search of “filibuster Jim Crow” shows repeated attempts by left-wing sites and even some mainstream media news outlets at backing up Obama’s claim about it being a “relic” of the Jim Crow era.
As usual, however, the matter’s facts are quite different from what Democrats are making them out to be.
First things first: The filibuster existed well before the Jim Crow era. To the extent it was used to block civil rights legislation during the Jim Crow era, let us note that it was Democrats who were utilizing the tool.
Some of the Democrats wanting to change or end the filibuster felt differently about its use when they were in the minority. Take then-Sen. Barack Obama, for instance:
Sen. Barack Obama in 2005 vigorously defending the filibuster, which he now decries as a “Jim Crow relic:” pic.twitter.com/ha6OrW2vzK
— Christian Schneider (@Schneider_CM) March 25, 2021
Then-Sen. Joe Biden in 2005:
In 2005, Sen. Joe Biden argued the filibuster was a crucial constitutional tool, and doing away with it “eviscerates minority rights” pic.twitter.com/qTwG69Rf5x
— Christian Schneider (@Schneider_CM) March 25, 2021
Then-SEN. BIDEN (5/23/2005): “At its core, the filibuster is not about stopping a nominee or a bill, it is about compromise and moderation. That is why the Founders put unlimited debate in. That is what it is about, engendering compromise and moderation.” pic.twitter.com/AnmfRsaKpk
— Senate Republican Communications Center (@SRCC) January 25, 2021
Schumer, in 2017:
SEN. SCHUMER in 2017: “The legislative filibuster… is the most important distinction between the Senate and the House. Without the 60-vote threshold for legislation, the Senate becomes a majoritarian institution like the House… no Senator would like to see that happen." pic.twitter.com/FXHN3nIx0I
— Senate Republican Communications Center (@SRCC) March 16, 2021
27 Senate Democrats signed a letter in 2017 urging Republicans to keep the filibuster in place:
If the filibuster is a holdover from the Jim Crow era why did 27 Democrats sign a 2017 letter encouraging the GOP to not abolish the filibuster when we were in charge?
President Biden & his Democratic colleagues are taking hypocrisy to a new level.
— Lindsey Graham (@LindseyGrahamSC) March 25, 2021
Biden made another comment about the filibuster during his presser Thursday that deserves correcting as well (bolded emphasis added):
You know, with regard to the filibuster, I believe we should go back to a position on the filibuster that existed just when I came to the United States Senate 120 years ago. And that is that — it used to be required for the filibuster — and I had a card on this; I was going to give you the statistics, but you probably know them — that it used to be that, that from between 1917 to 1971 — the filibuster existed — there was a total of 58 motions to break a filibuster that whole time. Last year alone, there were five times that many. So it’s being abused in a gigantic way.
Biden failed to mention the Democrats have recently abused the filibuster. They used it a record-breaking number of times during Trump’s presidency, including on COVID relief bills last year as well as on a police reform bill authored by Sen. Tim Scott (R-SC):
Also basically all of the filibusters over the past few years before Ossoff/Warnock were elected were from Democrats. Democrats were just engaging in nonstop Jim Crow tactics between 2015-2021?
— Zaid Jilani (@ZaidJilani) March 25, 2021
Press conf a “pillow fight” per @TGowdySC re filibuster, suggesting a follow up: “Mr. President, was it a racist relic when your Vice President used it less than a year ago to stop police reform that was being authored by a black man named Tim Scott?” #SpecialReport pic.twitter.com/tGeUOcY6G6
— Brent Baker (@BrentHBaker) March 25, 2021
So I guess going by their rules, Democrats committed racism when they used the so-called “Jim Crow relic” to stall a bill written by a black Republican Senator.
You seriously could not make this stuff up if you tried.
While Biden did not outright come out in support of eliminating the filibuster during his press conference, his comments yesterday and reports in recent weeks suggest he’s now open to the possibility if he can’t get his big-ticket items rammed through.
So much for unity and healing.
— Stacey Matthews has also written under the pseudonym “Sister Toldjah” and can be reached via Twitter. —DONATE
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