All but four of the Senate Republicans voted to filibuster the nomination of Chuck Hagel to be Obama’s secretary of defense, despite many of them being furiously opposed to such a thing (which has never actually been done to a cabinet nominee until now) when Bush was in office. Here’s Sen. John Cornyn during the Bush administration:
Far too many judicial and executive nominees have been delayed by the majority party of the Senate. An up-or-down vote is a matter of fundamental fairness, and it is the Senate’s constitutional duty to act on each nomination. It is also critically important to our judicial system and the proper functioning of our federal government to fill these positions.
Senators have a right to vote for or against any nominee—but blocking votes on nominations is unacceptable.
And here’s Sen. Jeff Sessions:
The vote, historically, since the founding of this Republic, is a majority vote. Lets [sic] look at that. The Constitution says that the Congress shall advise and consent on treaties, provided two-thirds agree, and shall advise and consent on judges and other nominees. Since the founding of the Republic, we have understood that there was a two-thirds super majority for ratification and advice and consent on treaties and a majority vote for judges. That is what we have done. That is what we have always done. But there was a conscious decision on behalf of the leadership, unfortunately, of the Democratic Party in the last Congress to systematically filibuster some of the best nominees ever submitted to the Senate. It has been very painful.
And he was just talking about judges, not cabinet appointments. Traditionally, the confirmation of cabinet appointments is all but a foregone conclusion because the president should get to pick the people that are in his cabinet. And as always, I must quote former Sen. Jon Kyl when he said that his colleagues in the Senate wanted to get rid of the filibuster and would never change their minds even when a Democrat is in the White House because they’re just so intellectually honest and consistent. This is from 2005, when the Republicans were talking about getting rid of the filibuster:
“Republicans seek to right a wrong that has undermined 214 years of tradition – wise, carefully thought-out tradition. The fact that the Senate rules theoretically allowed the filibuster of judicial nominations but were never used to that end is an important indicator of what is right, and why the precedent of allowing up-or-down votes is so well established. It is that precedent that has been attacked and which we seek to restore….
My friends argue that Republicans may want to filibuster a future Democratic President’s nominees. To that I say, I don’t think so, and even if true, I’m willing to give up that tool. It was never a power we thought we had in the past, and it is not one likely to be used in the future. I know some insist that we will someday want to block Democrat judges by filibuster. But I know my colleagues. I have heard them speak passionately, publicly and privately, about the injustice done to filibustered nominees. I think it highly unlikely that they will shift their views simply because the political worm has turned.”
Yes, you know your colleagues and they are men and women of honor! Bullshit.