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LIMITS OF ENDURANCE

 


By Geoff Metcalf

April 18, 2005

NewsWithViews.com

"Find out just what people will submit to, and you have found out the exact amount of injustice and wrong which will be imposed upon them;” --Frederick Douglas

The perpetual ‘whizzing match’ between ‘us’ and ‘them’/liberals vs. conservatives/democrats vs. republicans, has been fueled by the controversy over presidential judicial nominations.

Both sides (red team and blue team) have been in varying degrees disingenuous.

Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist is between the rock and hard place in that uncomfortable arena of actually being expected to demonstrate ‘leadership’.

Frankly the republican leadership has again demonstrated their consistent diffidence to get in the fight. Conversely, the democrats appear anxious to take a peashooter with spitballs to a gunfight.

All this posturing about the so-called ‘nuclear option’ is a crock. It is a red herring that has been allowed to sit in the sun way too long.

It is true that the core of the controversy is ‘abuse of process’. However, it is not the impending rule change by the GOP that is the abuse. If anything, the anticipated ‘do over’ is a long overdue correction to a former abuse of process by the very democrats who are itching and moaning loudest.

Once upon a time then Majority Leader Mike Mansfield, in collusion with then Majority Whip Robert Byrd, changed the rules. They did it because the wanted to…and they could. They created a “tracking” system that was a power grab finesse. It allows the majority leader (then Mansfield/now Frist) to have more than one bill pending as unfinished business.

Before “tracking”, a filibuster would stop the Senate from moving on to anything. However, with the painless benefit of a two-track system, the Senate merely puts aside the filibustered measure and moves on to other business. It created ‘filibuster-lite’.

Byrd calls it a "casual, gentlemanly, good-guy filibuster. ... Everybody goes home and gets a good night's sleep, and everybody protects everybody else." Jack Kemp said, “Mr. Byrd may have more accurately portrayed this pseudo-filibuster as obstructionism on the cheap.” And the wimpy GOP stares at their wingtips and wrings their hands.

There are always consequences of everything we do or don’t do in life. The result of this tracking system has been an explosion in the threat and use of filibusters.

  • In the 19th century there were only 23 filibusters…because it was hard and uncomfortable to engage in the practice.
  • Between 1970 and 1994 there have been 191 filibusters…no pain/some gain.

Ostensibly, the Mansfield/Byrd finesse neutered the power and impact of the constitutionally designed filibuster [Read] .

The so-called ‘nuclear option’, is a rare, parliamentary procedure that would bar the filibustering of judicial nominees. It would also correct the previous democrat fueled abuse of power.

Frankly, all the posturing over presidential judicial nominations is mere prelude. Kinda like the hissy fit over Alberto Gonzales’ nomination to be Attorney General and the delaying cheap shots over Dr. Condoleezza Rice’s Secretary of State hearings.

Democrats have two objectives in all their nay saying.

  • First, they will exploit any and all photo ops to bad mouth the current administration because it exists as the ‘them’ to the democrats ‘us’. Hence we get a cacophony of ‘Bush bad…us good.” When asked why?…they hesitate, stumble, rant and obfuscate. If they were republicans they would stare at their wingtips and wring their hands.
  • The Democrats second objective is ‘preparation of the battlefield’. This Bush administration is going to restructure the U.S. Supreme Court. Whether it is one, two or three Justices, the Democrats are scared spitless a reconstituted Supreme Court will be ‘too conservative’ and eventually reverse Roe V Wade.

Democrat leadership is leading their party on the path of the Whigs. [Read] I have previously noted that sycophant democrats are still so wrapped around partisanship; they are incapable of recognizing the self-destruction they are fueling.

Meanwhile the current conventional wisdom is Frist will (begrudgingly) probably push for the ‘nuclear rules change’ unless the Democrats have an atypical burst of reason (which would be hoping for facts just not in evidence).

Wannabe obstructionist democrats might want to remember that not only is Tom Daschle a departed victim of judicial obstructionist posturing, but the GOP also picked up four new seats in the process.

Although the judicial filibuster may not be strictly unconstitutional, Kemp accurately noted it “is bad public policy, it turned out to be bad politics for Democrats as well.”

Frederick Douglas also said, “The limits of tyrants are prescribed by the endurance of those whom they oppress." The endurance of the routinely gutless republicans is less that it was and Democrats who continue to stonewall do so at their own peril.

© 2005 Geoff Metcalf - All Rights Reserved

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"Geoff Metcalf is a nationally syndicated radio talk show host for TALK AMERICA and a veteran media performer. He has had an eclectic professional background covering a wide spectrum of radio, television, magazine, and newspapers. A former Green Beret and retired Army officer he is in great demand as a speaker. Visit Geoff's Web Site: www.geoffmetcalf.com. While you're at it - pick up a copy of Geoff's latest book!  E-mail: geoff@geoffmetcalf.com


 

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“The limits of tyrants are prescribed by the endurance of those whom they oppress."