Wednesday, April 27, 2005

Filibuster fun

Okay, quick roundup on recent filibuster stories. Reid offers compromise to Frist over "nuclear option," Frist rejects compromise, Republicans keep trying to call it "constitutional" or "democratic" option, Republicans hypocrites on this, having filibustered Abe Fortas, Richard Paez, et al.

I won't waste time by stating the obvious here about Frist and his situation. However, this is typical GOP strategy: tell an obvious lie (or ten) because people usually forget the past and the media refuses to call bullshit on these things. Furthermore, the GOP does a great job of continuing to perpetuate the myth of a liberal media, meaning the media will continue to move to the right to try and shake an image that will never cease to exist. Quite simply, the entire media could become the PR firm for the RNC, and they would still get slapped with the "liberal" tag.

Secondly, those who disagree with this sort of move on the GOP side have either been co-opted or are risking their party's support by doing the right thing. For instance, Bob Dole, a traditionalist who didn't try to pull this sort of stunt when he was Majority Leader, is now saying if Frist absolutely has to push the nuclear button, he should do it. Dole, of course, has his wife in the Senate now, and he has to cover her ass on this, since she isn't one of those on the fence.

Third, no Republican has had the courage to speak out against the wingnuts. Democrat Ken Salazar has called bullshit on James Dobson and his Focus on the (dysfunctional) Family, but no Republican in Congress has shown that level of courage. I'm happy to see John Danforth do it, because he's a minister and a respected conservative, but he has nothing to lose. Someone with something to lose needs to show that courage, because that could help tip the scales even further in a progressive direction, one that prevents theocratic wingnuts from running our nation into the ground.

This is all coming to a head. Frist might twist arms until they break, but John McCain, Olympia Snowe, Susan Collins and John Warner are pretty much immune to pressure, since they will win election in their states no matter what. Lincoln Chafee, facing a stiff challenge in Democratic Rhode Island, would be better off voting for keeping the filibuster in place. If Dick Cheney casts the tie-breaking vote, the country will go berzerk, and most people will scream that the Administration wrongly inserted itself into this change of rules.

While Cheney has the right to break a tie in votes, a change in Senate rules requires a two-thirds majority, meaning that this whole exercise is illegal. Even Harry Reid hasn't said anything about that, probably because the people can't concieve of an inter-Congressional dispute as involving something illegal. However, that's exactly what this is, completely illegal and unconstitutional. That is the biggest sin committed by the media, failing to call bullshit on the biggest bullshit of them all.


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