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April 25, 2005

Josh Marshall is keeping good tabs on all the media outlets that have picked up this "the Democrats call it the 'nuclear option'" bullshit. This morning on NPR they said it. It's everywhere. It's really pissing me off.

These media companies know damn well that the term "nuclear option" is not an invention of the Democrats, nor was it, until recently, used only by Democrats. In fact, the term was coined by former majority leader Trent Lott.

The Republican noise machine has so successfully muddied the waters on this that now some people are referring to what the Democrats would do in response to the nuclear option as "the nuclear option."

It's really sad when every media outlet from coast to coast just picks up this garbage without question. The Republicans invented the term, they're the ones threatening to "go nuclear," but now this violent, destructive imagery has been successfully pinned entirely on the opposition. It's a magnificent lie. Conservatives did some polls, discovered that the term elicited a negative response, so they switched to "the constitutional option." In a world that made any sense, a move so pathetically transparent would be highlighted by the media. But this is not that world.

Keep watching Talking Points Memo to see how amazingly fast this lie is spreading.



Previous Comments

I'm not sure what you mean by "invented the term."

Trent Lott used an already existing term, i.e., "the nuclear option," to apply to their decision to break the power of the fillibuster. "The nuclear option" has been applied to any exercise in brinkmanship where the balance of power will possibly undergo radical change. Any careful examination of Lexis/Nexis will reveal this.

In 1998, a full 5 years before Trent Lott used it, Jonathon Freedland of the Guardian of London wrote, about the impeachment of President Clinton:

"It brooks no compromise, dogmatically insisting on the absolute punishment of impeachment even when less nuclear options were available."

It's the same phrase, used in the same way, just applied to a different political situation. Trent Lott applied a phrase, he did not coin one. The Republicans did not invent the term, it was used, in a different context, to apply to the decision making processes of countries like Pakistan: did they want to exercise the nuclear option and develop nuclear weapons.

My point is that this is a phrase denoting an escalation of brinkmanship that has long been in currency.

You're right, however, that the Constitutional Option sounds a heck of a lot better.

The Republicans should remember the wise advice of the philosopher to the powerful ruler: "This too shall pass." Someday, heavens forbid, the Republicans will be in the minority. Do they really want to remove one of the most important tools for the minority party?

If the Dems want to have a fillibuster the Republicans should oblige them: cots, all night speechs, reading the telephone book, etc... Of course, what's the average age for the Senate these days? How many 70 year old men are going to stay up all night listening to some other old geezer talk about fishing or some other nonsense?

whoa, Fritz! Cogent, zero bombast, almost on topic... reference to Lexus/Nexus (poor security not withstanding), are you gearing up for law school?

Silly Fritz. Of course I'm not interested in whether the two words 'nuclear' and 'option' have been previously seen sitting side by side. Trent Lott was, according to the article I linked, the first to use it in reference to changing Senate rules to eliminate the filibuster, that's the point, though not the point of this post. The point of this post is the spinelessness of the news media in just picking up the Republicans new talking point and running with it.

They would certainly be wise to think long-term and see that the political pendulum always swings, but then, they're not wise.

It always sucks when a weapon that you thought only you had is used by the enemy. Kind of hurts doesn't it. Kind of like a Baldwin brother saying that he is now a republican.


I think it feels fantastic that Stephen Baldwin went Republican. The last thing we need is that preachy little bitch on our side. Plus, bad politics matches his haircut.

Anthony is back to his name calling. Sometimes you make pretty convincing arguments and valid points then you blow it with garbage like that.

umm mike, it was an idiotic comment, anthony's "garbage" was valid and convincing... actually you've convinced me again and again, so just valid.

No his comments are normally good natured, I may not agree with them, but when people complain about the media is not liberal when it is in their favor and the media then goes against them, they get mad... Kind of funny. Idiotic, no funny and ironic yes.

Mike, it was an idiotic comment. So is this last one. What the hell are you talking about?

I complain that the media is not liberal when it's in my favor? What? Then I get mad when it's not on my, apparently non-liberal, side? What?

You're making no sense. Hence the idiot characterization. I admit it's not much of an argument, but there was no point in trying to engage your nonsense. If you come up with something interesting, I'll respond in kind.