Did Democrats do the same thing when they were in the minority? As shown by the numbers above:
This isn’t a subjective question on which the parties are entitled to different opinions. There are objective, often quantifiable, answers to the points Politico and Republicans are raising: are GOP senators “replicating” Democratic tactics? Were Dems abusing Senate rules in the Bush era to the same degree that Republicans are abusing them now?
The answer to both is “no,” and the false equivalence does little to advance the discussion.
The Senate keeps an updated table, charting cloture votes by Congress over the last nine decades, using three metrics: (1) cloture motions filed (when the majority begins to end a filibuster); (2) votes on cloture (when the majority tries to end a filibuster); and (3) the number of times cloture was invoked (when the majority succeeds in ending a filibuster). By all three measures, obstructionism soared as Republican abused the rules like no party in American history.
Consider this tidbit: cloture was invoked 63 times in 2009 and 2010, which isn’t just the most ever, it’s more than the sum total of instances from 1919 through 1982. That’s not a typo.
Remember when Sen. Richard Shelby thought the politics should be eschewed in the nomination process. For instance, in 2005, he proclaimed:
Far too many of the President’s nominees were never afforded an up or down vote, because several Democrats chose to block the process for political gain. Inaction on these nominees is a disservice to the American people.”
Or when in February 2005, Shelby specifically promised his constituents in Tuscaloosa that he’d do “whatever it takes” to confirm Bush’s judicial nominees, including killing the filibuster.
But this is all perfectly explained when you consider GOP Minority Leader Mitch McConnell’s admitted purpose:
The single most important thing we want to achieve is for President Obama to be a one-term president.