What people mean depends on when they mean it. That seems to be the difference between what U.S. Rep. Mike Coffman has said and what he meant over the years about the filibuster.
Progressive blogger Jason Salzman examined what sure sounded like contradictions Friday on the liberal Colorado Times Recorder website (which is the best of the state's partisan websites).
Salzman reviewed tape of the Republican congressman from Aurora on "The Jimmy Sengenberger Show" on Jan. 7, and it seemed Coffman was no fan of the filibuster. The filibuster might sound like a dessert at Dairy Queen, but it's really the maneuver the minority party can use to deny a sure-to-pass vote by the majority.
President Trump has urged Republicans to "go for it" and drop the nuclear option on the filibuster. That means doing away with the 60-vote requirement to break a filibuster and clear the path for Judge Neil Gorsuch of Denver to get on the U.S. Supreme Court. There are 52 Republicans in the Senate.
Both parties use the filibuster and the threat of the nuclear option, and both figuratively circle and flap their wings like banty roosters when the threats are used against them. Sometimes Washington politics is more a cockfight than political theater.
"Things pass the House and they just die in the Senate because of the ability of the minority - now, the Democrats - to block this stuff," Coffman told Sengenberger in January.
Salzman has audio of Coffman from 2013 when the then-Democratic Senate majority talked of nuking the filibuster.
"The United States Senate, designed by our founding fathers of the Constitution, was set up to be the more deliberative body, that it would in fact, given that cloture rule was to require bipartisanship, that not one party simply have a monopoly of power," he said on "The Mandy Connell Show" on KHOW 630-AM.
He told Connell doing away with the 60-vote rule equated to doing away with bipartisanship. "So, you know, it is certainly disappointing," Coffman said.
Colorado Politics reached out to Coffman for some clarity, and he obliged. He still supports the use of a filibuster for Supreme Court nominees, which Trump won't like and Democrats who try to pin Coffman to Trump won't like hearing.
"My comment was referring to legislation where I could see that between 2013 and until recently, nothing was getting done in D.C., and that it would be better for the American people to hold the majority party in the Senate responsible for their leadership," Coffman said. "This instead of simply having gridlock with neither party being able to take responsibility for passing legislation.
"The filibuster has evolved from a tool that was seldom used to one that is commonly used by the minority to continuously block the passage of legislation that has the support of the majority of senators. However, I still support its use for the confirmation of Supreme Court justices."