Tuesday, May 24, 2005

The Castrated Left

A compromise has been announced on the filibuster issue. The 14 senators say that, in the end, the country won. I say, in the end, the Republicans did. Think about it -- this was an issue about majority/minority politics. The filibuster isn't some "cheap tactic" to gum up the workings of the Senate, just cause a couple of senators feel like being obstinant that day. The filibuster is about ensuring the majority never has too much power and that the minority has enough to not be railroaded. Even in this case, filibusters aren't used willy-nilly: it'll always come back to haunt you and you will invariably alienate and piss off your fellow colleagues in the Senate. In this case, it might seem like the Democrats abused their minority power by filibustering ten judicial nominees, but this was their way of exercising their minority right to object -- an objection that the Republican party leaders blatantly ignored by re-nominating nominees that couldn't find bipartisan support except under the kind of castrated circumstances of last night. While this issue brewed, we kept hearing politicos like Frist (an ignorant asswipe, by the way) swear up and down that a Senator's job is to vote. No, it's not. A Senator's job is to debate. That's why the Senate is one of the few vestiges of real debate we have left, protected by such checks and balances as the filibuster. But of course, Republicans -- newly hijacked by the Christian Coalition -- quickly forget the Constitution when they aren't getting their way. Republican leaders didn't think twice about the so-called "nuclear option"; they were completely willing to myopically destroy any remnant of democracy in order to get their way. Only a few years ago, it was the Republicans who were talking about filibustering Clinton's judicial nominees and the Democrats were parroting the current Frist talking points -- hypocrisy at its finest on both counts, but at no time were the Democrats prepared to actually use their majority power to remove the right of the Republicans to filibuster should they so choose. But that moral high ground the Dems once trod has fallen through. I'm not sure what exactly the Dems are afraid of, but there's a good reason why the vast majority of the Right-voting populace thinks of the Left as a bunch of spineless flip-floppers. Bottom line: if we felt this strongly about judicial nominees that we were going to filibuster their nomination, why did we give up so much to reach a compromise? Sure, it's not a totally attractive scenario, but there was something appealing about Dems finally sticking to their guns and actually carrying through their threat to bring Senate proceedings to a standstill if they didn't get their way. But almost immediately, when the Republicans started calling the Democrats on their threat, we saw it was a bluff. First, it suddenly stopped being about bringing the Senate to a standstill and we heard this lame description of Democrats bringing unwanted issues to the floor for debate. And then, last night, the Dems found seven of their own to compromise, and not just compromise on some things, but bend over backwards to cave to Frist and co. From ten, now Dems retain the ability to filibuster on two nominees, but three of the most controversial nominees are being put up to vote, and God only knows what's happening to the other five. And all for what? Because Dems were afraid of the Republicans taking away a right they never should've been able to take unchallenged, and abusing a power they never should've been allowed to abuse? Memo to the Democrats: we just got played.


Anonymous bob doal said...

You dems got played cause you're stupid. All that matters to you left-wingers is if you get your way.

6/29/2005 01:38:00 AM  

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