...it's not dark yet, but it's gettin' there...

April 23, 2005

Doug TenNapel Analogizes

Doug TenNapel analogizes a recent VDH column about the War on Terror with the current Senate filibuster fight.

Check it out. i think it's pretty brilliant.

And was that Doug's voice i heard on Friday's Hugh Hewitt show? If so, Doug, why didn't you use that opportunity to plug my blog? i thought we were friends.

Note to anyone calling any talk radio show in the future: plug my blog!

More: Re: the filibuster fight, i think the best pithy argument i've heard to date came from Zell Miller last night on Hannity and Colmes. i can't remember his exact words, so i'll re-state the argument in my own.

Question: How many votes does it take to confirm a judicial nominee in the Senate? Answer fifty-one.

Question: How many votes does it take to defeat a judicial nominee in the Senate? Answer forty-one.

Does that make any sense at all?

If you ask me, the filibuster rule is stupid and should be done away with in toto.

Posted by annika, Apr. 23, 2005 |
Rubric: On The Blogosphere & annikapunditry


Be careful of what you wish for- I think it's fair to say that the filibuster has historically more frequently been a tool of conservatives than of liberals.

Posted by: Preston on Apr. 23, 2005

??? When?

The R's don't have the stones to pull the trigger when they HAVE the votes.

The last major use I can remember is Dixiecrat Senators, dat be u Head Kleagal Bird, blocking equal rights legislation in the 1960's. Before that, let's see, keeping the world safe for slave holders?

Posted by: Casca on Apr. 23, 2005

Uh yeah, the Civil Rights bills and the nomination of Abe Fortas appointment to Supreme Court , opposition to Wilson' s war preparations and the ban on semi-automatic weapons at gun shows come to mind.

You'd think if it were a matter of principle the two parties could agree to an end of the filibuster in say 2008 or later- when the beneficiaries of such a change would be unknown. But the everchanging 'blue slip' rules and the disintegrating ethics process in the House suggests that just maybe this isn't a matter of principle but simply a naked power grab.

Posted by: Preston on Apr. 23, 2005

I'm hoping that they haven't waited too long.

This is about the Supreme Court, you know. Delay works in the favor of the Dem's.

The longer they can put these CA votes off, the better it is for them.

Posted by: shelly on Apr. 23, 2005

Shelly: What do you mean?

What did Zell Miller say about the process of never allowing the nominees to leave the committee? Is it fair for 10 Senators to be able to vote down a nominee? Should we dismantle the Judiciary Committee?

Posted by: Preston on Apr. 24, 2005

Get a grip Preston. It is all about power, and fair is where you buy cotton candy. Principle? Grow up.

BTW, you make the argument that the F-bomb has disproportionately helped R's, then cling to examples that illustrate the opposite, or are you confused about who is a liberal/conservative?

Posted by: Casca on Apr. 24, 2005

My, my- calm, reasoned argument!

Can we put that quote on the door of the RNC headquarters: "Principle? Grow up." It certainly makes the hypocrisies of the Republican Party make sense.

Actually, I made the case that the filibuster has been used to support _conservative_ causes. You know as well as I that conservativism was well entrenched within the Democratic party before the ideological polarization after Nixon's 'Southern Strategy'. It is irrelevant to the current filibuster debate that Byrd was a segregationist- he has repeatedly renounced his earlier position as a mistake and now chooses to caucus with the party that 90% of African Americans vote for. To pretend that Strom Thurmond- by joining the 'Party of Lincoln' somehow was absolved of the same stain is to have an interesting view of the history of American political parties.

Posted by: Preston on Apr. 24, 2005

I have to return to this...

If you think it is simply about power not principle- why on earth are you interested in politics? Unless you are writing from your K Street office that power is pretty unlikely to headed your way.

In reality the power is used by Tom DeLay to help Jack Abramoff and then for Abramoff to help DeLay. This is satisfactory to you? If so, I have to assume you were not one of those so-called 'morals' voters.

I also have to assume that you believe that the whole 'Contract with America' focus on Congressional ethics was just something concocted for the sheeple. You might also be comfortable with the notion that the Whitewater investigation was simply a pretext to engage in a permanent taxpayer funded campaign against the President.

It's all about the power after all... Now, if we could just get Stalin to run for President in 2008... He know how to keep 'em in line.

Posted by: Preston on Apr. 24, 2005

the only time i ever saw anyone on capitol hill who was motivated by principle, i was watching a frank capra movie.

Anyways, no. Zell Miller didn't mention the use of committee votes to block a nominee. That could be abused too. But there's no filibuster in the committee rules, and they use a simple majority vote. Sounds fair to me. If a nominee makes it through committee, the Senate should be given a chance to debate and vote. The filibuster rule as it's currently written, doesn't allow either.

Posted by: annie on Apr. 24, 2005

"Ma, ma, some Republican stole half my hog!

How do you know it was a Republican?

If it was a Democrat the whole thing'd be gone."

Actually, the power quote is on Howard Dean's door. Have you ever seen anyone dance so hard for the booboisie?

The roots of the Republican party are in abolition, and the roots of the Democrats in tyranny. That is why it took a bloody war, the greatest in our history, and a hundred years to pry the fingers of slavery from the throat of the South. Those fingers belonged to Democrats.

The entire philosophy of the D's today is one of power and hanging on to it. It is the unholy alliance of union thugs, liberal theocrats, and government tit-suckers that keeps them alive. It is a flawed strategy. Decentralization of information creates a more powerful citizenry, and that is why the Republicans are ascendant.

You sir are fucked. I recommend reconsidering your shiboleths should you desire any happiness and peace in life.

Posted by: Casca on Apr. 24, 2005

Wow, you really presume to know what makes me happy? Maybe it's just listening to your potty mouth...

Yeah, the Democrats are the party of tyranny- that was exactly what Jefferson was all about, if you squint your eyes really hard. There's no question that you can lay the blame of Jim Crow at the feet of the Democratic Party. However, it's obscenely intellectually dishonest to ignore that the _people_ responsible for Jim Crow eventually found their ways to the Republican Party.

I don't know what booboisie means. I'm not one of the kool kids but I'm willing to listen if you're patient.

In my understanding, the philosophy of the Democratic Party is to provide for the shared sacrifice and security of every member of society understanding that the market is the most efficient generator of wealth yet government is often required to fill in gaps.

I guess we've got a lot to learn from Tom DeLay and his cronies about how the world really is.

Posted by: Preston on Apr. 24, 2005


The filibuster debate seems to ignore the blue slip rules which suddenly grew expansively when the Republicans took the Senate in 1994 and then suddenly grew less permissive when George Bush won in 2000.

To pretend that the Democrats are pioneering legislative tactics to thwart extreme judicial nominees is hogwash.

I suppose anyone is free to have an ultimately cynical view of politics- but what is the motivation of individuals to be involved if they understand that the 'party of fiscal responsibility' is liable to run up 2 trillion dollars in debt if it is suddenly politically advantageous?

That's not a rhetorical question.

Posted by: Preston on Apr. 24, 2005

Well that's a little off the subject, but i'm not happy about the spending spree either.

Posted by: annie on Apr. 24, 2005

Ok- then how about the 'party of judicial restraint' and the 'party of state's rights' crafting late-night legislation in order to supercede the rulings of the Florida State Courts.

Come to think of it... I guess you're right: it is about power, not principle.

Posted by: Preston on Apr. 24, 2005

Preston, your understanding of reality is perverted. It takes a certain lack of logic to reach a conclusion that is 180 out from reality.

"it's obscenely intellectually dishonest to ignore that the _people_ responsible for Jim Crow eventually found their ways to the Republican Party."

If so, perhaps after recanting. 100 years of institutionalized Southern racism supported by the foundation of the D's, and now they're all Replublicans eh? To the extent this is true, and I don't think it is, I'd say that the social order has acheived balance in the past fifty years, since that racist Eisenhower sent the 101st to Little Rock.

Segregation was made illegal in the last half of the 20th century, so taken away from the D's as a populist issue in the South. Once that happened, they had to use other issues popular in the South like national defense, where they couldn't win.

The further we move from institutionalized racism, the more diminished the role of Democrats in the South. Coinkydink? I don't think so.

Posted by: Casca on Apr. 24, 2005

Do you really believe what you're saying?

Of course Eisenhower wasn't a racist. Strom Thurmond leaving the Democratic Party in 1948 in protest of its pro-civil rights platform marked the first break of the segregationists and the Democratic Party. Lyndon Johnson's shepherding of the 1957 and 1964 Civil Rights act as well as the 1965 Voting Rights Act marked the final straw for this relationship. Richard Nixon in 1968 capitalized on this with his 'Southern Strategy' that winked to the South and assured them he did not intend to push additional Civil Rights legislation. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Southern_strategy

If you're honestly claiming that the Democratic Party is the party of institutionalized racism then you're also saying that 90% of black voters and every single African American Congressman is a dupe unable to tell which party holds their best interests at heart.

Who's to say if those Republicans 'recanted' their racist beliefs? I'm more inclined to think the 20 or so Southern Democratic Congressmen who switched since the 1960's found a home more suitable to their ideology than experiencing a mass conversion to the gospel of racial equality. But who knows- maybe it was the flouride in the water or something...

Segregation was made illegal but appeals to race are clearly still possible. The party more lenient to this type of politics will have a greater appeal to the racists holdouts. I'm not saying that everyone in the South is racist or this is the only reason for Republican dominance in the South but it is foolish to discount the role of racial politics in the dismantling of the 'Solid South'.

Posted by: Preston on Apr. 24, 2005

Though, I don't really think you actually believe what you're proposing I'll leave with a final circumstantial evidence regarding the roots of the political shift of the South: a de-racialized Democratic Party or a de-racialized electorate.

Voters began voting for alternatives to the Democratic Party at the national level far before they began at the local level. This was because the national Democratic Party was ending its collusion with segregationists while local Democrats were largely free to continue these appeals.

By the 40's Truman allowed Civil Rights on his platform (and integrated the army: the result was the Dixiecrat rebellion in the 1948 Presidential election. However, Southern legislatures remained Democratic.

In the 60's Democrats led the passage of more Civil Rights acts. In 1968 the South retailiated by voting for Nixon and Wallace. But Southern legislatures remained Democratic.

In the 1980's Reagan made appeals to the South by beginning his campaign in Philadelphia Mississppi and pepper speeches with references to 'welfare queens'. He wins the South. But Southern legislatures remained Democratic.

This was able to happen because local Democrats were able to continue with racist appeals while their national counterparts were not. Even so, Republican Governors and Senators and Congressmen began having more success because of their ideological affinity on these issues.

I think it's clear that racial politics were important well into the latter half of the 20th century but national Democrats no longer won elections there.

Posted by: Preston on Apr. 24, 2005

Eh, I've lost interest in your long-winded self-delusion. Blacks vote with the D's for several reasons, one being that like you they're prisoners of leftist groupthink to the extent those who vote with the D's think at all. For the most part, they live in rotten buroughs where votes are routinely stolen. Computerized voter registration will be the end of a lot of this, and is the federal law that is going to take another chunk out of the D vote stealing machine in the next cycle. Hahahaha, you're in for a looooong painful stretch.

Posted by: Casca on Apr. 24, 2005

My recollection of '68 was that Wallace picked up the red neck racist vote, and Nixon got the fuck-the-peacenik-liberal vote in the South. From reconstruction until '68 the racists were with the Democrats. In '72 they voted for Nixon because they weren't unpatriotic enough to vote for McGovern, few were. '76 they got to vote for a fellow cracker, and by '80 the entire nation was sick of limp wristed incompetence, ergo Reagan.

From that point on, it's pretty clear that an anti-black racist vote pretty much evaporated in America.

Posted by: Casca on Apr. 24, 2005

Wow- you must love the anonymity of the internet- though I'd love to be at a party where you attempted to talk to a liberal or an African American face to face with your rhetoric.

Unless you're a trust fund baby and no longer at a draftable age I don't see any stretch of Republican rule being any easier for you than for me. -oh, I remember it's about power not principle.

I'll see you at the Wal-Mart when we 'retire'...

Posted by: Preston on Apr. 24, 2005

"From that point on, it's pretty clear that an anti-black racist vote pretty much evaporated in America."

Someone forgot to tell Lee Atwater and Pere Bush.

Posted by: Preston on Apr. 24, 2005

Connect the dots dickhead... if you can.

Posted by: Casca on Apr. 24, 2005

Congratulations on your luck. Don't forget to pull up the ladder after you.

Posted by: Preston on Apr. 25, 2005

from killrighty

maybe they should do away with the congressional record. or grow up.

Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-CA): “It is not the role of the Senate to obstruct the process and prevent numbers of highly qualified nominees from even being given the opportunity for a vote on the Senate floor.” (Sen. Barbara Boxer, Congressional Record, 5/14/97)

Sen. Tom Harkin (D-IA): “I urge the Republican leadership to take the steps necessary to allow the full Senate to vote up or down on these important nominations.” (Sen. Tom Harkin, Congressional Record, 9/11/00)

Sen. Ted Kennedy (D-MA): “We owe it to Americans across the country to give these nominees a vote. If our Republican colleagues don’t like them, vote against them. But give them a vote.” (Sen. Ted Kennedy, Congressional Record, 2/3/98)

Sen. Ted Kennedy (D-MA): “It is true that some Senators have voiced concerns about these nominations. But that should not prevent a roll call vote which gives every Senator the opportunity to vote ‘yes’ or ‘no.’ … Parties with cases, waiting to be heard by the federal courts deserve a decision by the Senate.” (Sen. Ted Kennedy, Congressional Record, 9/21/99)

Sen. Harry Reid (D-NV): “[W]e should have up-or-down votes in the committee and on the floor.” (CNN’s “Evans, Novak, Hunt & Shields,” 6/9/01)

Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA): “It is our job to confirm these judges. If we don’t like them, we can vote against them.” (Sen. Dianne Feinstein, Congressional Record, 9/16/99)

Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA): “Our institutional integrity requires an up-or-down vote.” (Sen. Dianne Feinstein, Congressional Record, 10/4/99)

Sen. Tom Harkin (D-IA): “[The filibuster process] is used … as blackmail for one Senator to get his or her way on something that they could not rightfully win through the normal processes.” (Sen. Tom Harkin, Congressional Record, 1/4/95)

Posted by: louielouie on Apr. 25, 2005

And the Republicans have quotes saying the opposite from when they were using the filibuster.

Like I mentioned earlier they need to agree to a policy and have it kick in several years so neither party can know for sure who it will benefit.

Posted by: Preston on Apr. 25, 2005

The Democrats are conveniently forgetting the effort by 19 Democrats in 1995 to kill the filibuster. The resolution was introduced by Joe Lieberman and Tom Harkin.

“…the filibuster rules are unconstitutional.”
“…the filibuster is nothing short of legislative piracy.”
“We cannot allow the filibuster to bring Congress to a grinding halt.”
” …So today I start a drive to do away with a dinosaur — the filibuster rule.”

It was defeated 76-19 in 1995. All 19 that supported it were Democrats, some with very familiar names. Like these:
Jeff Bingaman, Barbara Boxer, Russ Feingold, Tom Harkin, Ted Kennedy, John Kerry, Frank Lautenberg, Joe Lieberman, and Paul Sarbanes.

Posted by: louielouie on Apr. 25, 2005

...meaning that Republicans voted in _favor_ of the filibuster.

Personally, I could imaging getting rid of it or maybe dropping the number for cloture down to, say, 55- but only at a specified time in the future.

Isn't everybody a little of the shifting procedural rules engineered to favor the party in power?

Posted by: Preston on Apr. 25, 2005

...(though I understand that 'principle' is not a popular concept around here.)

Posted by: Preston on Apr. 25, 2005