Former President Barack Obama made history yesterday as the first former president to turn a funeral into a campaign rally.
Speaking to an audience of hundreds with little social distancing to be seen, Obama blasted the filibuster as a “relic of Jim Crow.” To a standing ovation, Obama said “And if all this takes eliminating the filibuster, another Jim Crow relic, in order to secure the God-given rights of every American, then that’s what we should do.”
He didn’t feel that way when he was a senator. As the National Review’s David Harsanyi notes:
In April of 2005, Senator Barack Obama took to the floor of the United States Senate and passionately spoke out against Republican efforts to end the filibuster. Then a rising star in the Democratic Party, Obama noted that despite the pressure partisans might feel, it was imperative to “rise above an ‘ends justify the means’ mentality because we’re here to answer to the people — all of the people — not just the ones wearing our party label.”
Again in 2006, Obama told ABC News that he supported a filibuster of Samuel Alito because he was not only “somebody who is contrary to core American values, not just liberal values,” but had not shown “himself willing” to temper executive power. Considering Obama’s subsequent abuse of that very power, the statement reads especially hypocritically.
Alito was confirmed by a vote of 58 to 42, a week after his confirmation cleared the Senate Judiciary Committee.
To be fair, Obama did say in 2016 that he’s “haunted” by his use of the filibuster. But does anyone doubt that’s only because he didn’t like when it was used against his agenda?