I remember so well being on TV shows in 2005 and 2006 agreeing with Senate Republicans who insisted that President Bush's judicial nominees should be entitled to up-or-down votes on the Senate floor based on majority — not 60 votes — in the Senate. They did so based on two principles — in fairness as well as consistency with the small-"d" democratic principles.

They complained that requiring 60 votes to break a filibuster before an up-or-down vote was unfair and undemocratic.

I agreed with these two principles and was troubled by us Democrats violating them. When I said this on TV and elsewhere, I got a lot of criticism from my fellow liberal Democrats. They persuasively argued that the Senate Democratic filibuster on Bush conservative judicial nominees — and the 60-vote cloture requirement before a vote could be allowed — was the only hope of preventing ultra-conservative Bush court appointees from dominating the federal courts, especially the Supreme Court, for decades to come.

This danger disturbed me as well. As a strong pro-choice Democrat, I too wanted to block any chance of overturning Roe v. Wade and reversing many other court decisions protecting equal rights and civil liberties.

But I was bothered by the intellectual inconsistency, even hypocrisy, of those of us Democrats who criticized Republicans during the Clinton years for bottling up judicial nominees in committee or requiring 60 votes to break a filibister to now flip-flop and do the same thing to George Bush. So I supported the "Gang of 14" compromise that effectively broke the logjam.

But wait — in the last several days I have seen some Senate Republicans actually demanding, with straight faces, that some proposed Iraq resolutions garner 60 VOTES before being debated, much less voted on.

So what is the argument they are making to explain their undeniable flip-flop?

Is it that there should be a requirement of 60 votes to debate and vote for issues involving war and peace, life and death — but only 51 to confirm a judge?

Are Senate Republicans willing to admit that that is this is the distinction? If not this, then what?

To be fair, my fellow Dems should also learn a lesson here. I think it is fair to suggest we were inconsistent too just a few years ago in demanding 60 votes to allow judicial nominees to be voted on and now complaining about Republicans doing the same thing.

As I worried several years ago, such inconsistencies catch up with us.

But here are two facts on the great issue facing the nation today — the war in Iraq — certainly the most important crisis facing the country since 9/11 and Vietnam. These are two facts not widely known in the press reports that show confusing arguments and rules being applied to the different Iraq resolutions. But they are two simple facts that cannot be disputed about the current situation:

1. Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) has announced that ALL Iraq resolutions can be debated and voted on — the pro-administration ones, the anti-administration ones, and all in between — by a MAJORITY of the Senate.

2. Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) will not allow a majority to debate and vote on all four resolutions — he would REQUIRE 60 VOTES to debate and vote on at least some of them.

So you decide: Are Sen. McConnell and those in the GOP supporting that position applying a double standard...or not?

Is this about adhering to the principle of fairness and small-"d" democracy that Republican senators, many of whom I know well and deeply support, so eloquently espoused when they applied to President Bush's nominees?

Or is this just a cynical flip-flop from where they were just a few years ago — this time to block a debate and vote on the Iraq war, knowing that there is a clear bipartisan majority in the Senate and the country who want this debate, who oppose the "surge," and who want a change in course?

Let's have some intellectual honesty here...on all sides.