Saturday, April 23, 2005

David Broder to Dems on filibuster: Bend over, it won't hurt a bit 

I don't know why I bother. But here's what WaPo's Bigfoot purveyor of the slightly stale conventional wisdom has to say on the nuclear option. David Broder:

Here is what should happen: The Democratic Senate leadership should agree voluntarily to set aside the continued threat of filibustering the seven Bush appointees to the federal appeals courts who were blocked in the last Congress and whose names have been resubmitted.
(via WaPo)

1. Translation: "Dems, you first!"
2. I like "voluntarily." I mean, it would be a shame if the Dems had to wait for Dear Leader to issue a "political amnesty"...
3. The seven really are "the worst of the worst," as Reid says. Why shouldn't the Dems do everything in their power to stop the nominations of judges who want to abolish the New Deal? Or roll the country's legal framework back to the Gilded Age?
4. I like the use of the passive voice in "whose names have been resubmitted." Gee, it was Bush Himself who resubmitted the names, right? So where is the compromise, here? If Bush wanted compromise, one easy way to have shown it would have been not to have resubmitted every single name. But n-o-o-o-o-o-o!

In return, they should get a renewed promise from the president...

1. Um, can we get Bush's "promise" in writing?
2. There's no such thing as a "promise" from people whose word isn't good. There's simply no such thing as a "promise" from the people who lied us into a war, stole at least one Presidential election, are advocating the assassination of judges, and think Christ died for the Republican Party.
3. Just yesterday the Republicans reneged on a "promise" they made to the Dems on the Bolton hearings.
3. Since "he who is faithful in little is faithful in much," surely if the Republicans will break their word on the hearing for an ambassador, so much the more would they break their word when setting the course for the Federal bench over a generation to come.
4. And, of course, Bush has already broken a previous "promise" by wheeling out Dick "Dick" Cheney when at first He said that He wouldn't.

... that [H]e will not bypass the Senate by offering any more recess appointments to the bench and a pledge from Republican Senate leaders to consider each such nominee individually, carefully and with a guarantee of extensive debate in coming months.

1. Gotta pause here for a moment. It's hard to type.

[Pause for hysterical laughter.]

OK. I feel better now.

2. Um, can we get this "pledge" in writing too?
3. And that "guarantee," while we're at it?
4. But what does "extensive debate" mean? Nothing the Republicans do shows that they want to have any kind of serious debate at all. I mean, look at Bush's scripted town halls, where anyone who might even possibly disagree with Him is thrown out, beaten up, or arrested. That's the Republican notion of extended debate.
5. Since the Republicans believe, and say, that anyone who opposes them is a traitor, what good would this "guarantee" of debate be? Why would they promise traitors anything? They would, have, and do feel free to break any promise at the first opportunity (while blaming the liberal media for imposing it on them).

So, why should the Democrats go first? Broder opines:

Why should the Democrats be the first to step back from the abyss of the "nuclear option?

The principled answer is that elections matter. Voters placed Republicans in control of the White House and the Senate, and while the opposition still has a constitutional role to play, at the end of the day that function has to be more than talking important matters to death.

Bullshit. Forget about Delay's gerrymandering Texas. The whole Senate's gerrymandered, and the minority of Dems represents a majority of the country—a majority Frist, Delay, and Bush want to completely disenfranchise. The New Yorker's invaluable Hendrik Herzberg points out:

Well, if each of every state’s two senators is taken to represent half that state’s population, then the Senate’s fifty-five Republicans represent 131 million people, while its forty-four Democrats represent 161 million.

So much for the Dems being undemocratic, or unprincipled, as Broder oh-so-subtly ("elections matter") insinuates.

And what should the Dems be doing? As opposed to winning a majority of the American people's votes? Why, trusting the Republicans! Why didn't we think of that? Thank God we've got Broder to do our thinking for us! Broder:

Instead of sending a message that they do not trust their Republican colleagues' judgment -- and therefore feel justified in preventing a vote -- the Democrats would be saying to their colleagues and the country: We trust you to take your "advise and consent" duties seriously.

And they should feel such trust. The balance of power in the Senate is not in a right-wing cabal; it is in the moderate center. You can see that in the careful way the Senate Foreign Relations Committee is weighing the nomination of John Bolton as ambassador to the United Nations.

1. Damn. I need to pause for laughter again. Sorry.
2. Why on earth does Broder think that the Republicans are being "careful" with the Bolton nomination? Could it possibly be they're doing it because the Democrats are finally standing up to them?
3. "Careful" is as careful does. We've already seen that Republican staffers broke promises to the Dems on Bolton.
4. Oh, those moderate Republicans. Trust, you want? If the moderate center in the Republican Party is so all-fired powerful and trustworthy, they could show it by repudiating Frist, and his endorsement of the Dominionist claims of "Filibuster against people of faith" at their auto de fe this Sunday.

Memo to the Republicans: No, you first.

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