The debate on the nomination of former Sen. Chuck Hagel to head the Defense Department devolved into a fight over semantics on Thursday.
As Republican senators imposed a 60-vote threshold on Hagel’s nomination — a requirement that’s a hallmark of the filibuster — they insisted the f-word didn’t apply. All they were doing, Republicans such as James Inhofe (OK) argued, was seeking more time to gather requested information on the possible future defense secretary.
But if it looks like a filibuster and it sounds like a filibuster, then Senate Democrats thought it ought to be called as such. Democrats like Majority Leader Harry Reid (NV) were befuddled by the GOP’s splitting of hairs.
“If this is not a filibuster,” an exasperated Reid said, “I’d like to see what a filibuster was.”
Tom Kludt is a newswriter for TPM. A former research intern and polling fellow for TPM, he lives and works in New York City. Tom graduated summa cum laude from the University of South Dakota in May of 2010 with a B.A. in Political Science and History. He can be reached at Tom (at) talkingpointsmemo.com.