LOSE LOTT/MITIGATE HOMELAND SECURITY
November 10, 2002
For years I have had to remind myself that politics is the “art of compromise” and that sometimes in order to accomplish long-term objectives, it is necessary to take smaller bites of the apple.
HOWEVER, my self-chastisement is usually sparked by yet another of the myriad abrogation of ‘principles’ to accommodation. Way too often, the GOP (and especially under the shaky hand of Trent Lott) has folded like a house of cards at the least hint of harsh rhetoric. Damn their eyes!
Sure, compromise is necessary to avoid gridlock…but compromise should be a result of give and take on ‘details’ not on PRINCIPLES.
When I read Wes Vernon’s Daschle-Lott Secret Deal Delays Bush's Agenda Until 2003 in Newsmax my immediate reaction was, “this counterproductive complicity is sufficient to gag maggots.”
Reportedly, “Senate Republican leader Trent Lott and Senate Democrat leader Tom Daschle made a pre-election agreement that, no matter how the election turned out, the GOP would not seek to control the committees in the coming lame-duck session. The newly elected Senate will not be sworn in until January.” DOH!
Now before you rush to defend the indefensible and suggest such an accommodation is the “statesmanlike” thing to do, please remember that it has been Tom Daschle and his obstructionist minions who killed Bush judicial nominees for no other reason than they could.
No reorganizing means the committee chairmanships remain in the petty, mean spirited, obstructionist hands of the Democrats….and Lott is letting it happen.
Lott has been weak, complicit, and arguably incompetent. Why gift him with the Senate leadership for his bumbling malfeasance? His penchant for Marquis of Queensbury rules when the Democrats are bludgeoning him with rebar and practicing proctology with splintered bamboo is suicidal.
I’m not crazy about the Homeland Security bill. There are elements in it that frankly eviscerate essential elements of the republic. The conventional counter to complaints about neutering several elements of the Bill of Rights has been and remains, “Hey, if you don’t have anything to hide, what are you worried about?”
Well for starters (although I don’t have anything illegal or even inappropriate to hide) it’s not the government’s business to arbitrarily decide what freedoms and liberties they choose to let us have. The Constitution and the Bill of Rights doesn’t GIVE us a bloody thing. Those documents acknowledge God given inalienable rights. The government didn’t GIVE us those rights and the government cannot and should not mitigate them.
In February of 1998 I wrote that, despite very specific prohibitive language which states, "Congress shall make no law...", Congress has, in fact, a whole bunch of times, passed laws supposedly, allegedly, "in the public interest" which do, in fact, restrict freedom of speech and the press.
Who would have thunk it…that it would a republican administration fitting us for hobbles?
It has happened before, and we could in store for another lesson in abuse of power.
Some of the more famous abuses include:
· The Alien and Sedition Acts of 1790
· The Smith Act of 1940
· and The McCarran Act of 1950.
The Smith Act of 1940 was a result of concerns over Germany's European aggression during WWII, and more specifically over alleged Communist-sparked strikes intended to cripple defense production. The Smith Act called for, and required, the fingerprinting and registering of all aliens residing in the United Sates and made it a crime to advocate or teach the violent overthrow of the U.S. government or membership in a group advocating or teaching it. Gee, does that sound kinda familiar?
The Supreme Court of 1951 in Dennis vs. United States upheld the act's constitutionality (because it could) and told dissenters to shut up and sit down. However, the Supremes have increasingly been mercurial and subject to change. In 1957, the court amended its position in Yates vs. United States and ruled that teaching communism or other revolutionary theories did not in itself constitute grounds for conviction -- only proof positive that direct action had been urged to topple the government could yield a conviction.
The Red scare required certain organizations to register with the U.S. attorney general. It
denied members employment within the federal government or its defense industries and the right to use U.S. passports. Other elements extended the statue of limitations for espionage, arranged for emergency detention of those likely to commit espionage or sabotage, and created (here we go folks) a Subversive Activities Control Board for the purpose of determining whether organizations and individuals were Red.
The way inertia is nudging this administration, we may well expect a similar board to monitor and control dissent.
President Bush has said, "It is imperative that the Congress send me a bill (The Homeland Security bill) that I can sign before 107th Congress ends.”
Even with Democrats holding control of the committees it could still happen…maybe.
However there ARE problems. The House version gave the president broad latitude on where Homeland Security employees could be deployed. The Senate bill insists on affording those employees union protections.
Other Bush initiatives remain bottled up in Democrat controlled committees.
However with Lott having folded (again) to Daschle conservatives are ticked off. If the election showed that voters repudiated the liberal left (everywhere except California) what the hell was Lott thinking?
Allowing a petty Patrick Leahy to hold onto the Judiciary Committee and sandbag judicial nominees is frankly a dog that just won’t hunt.
If the Lott/Daschle deal remains the energy plan and tax cuts will be delayed.The 107th Daschle-Stalled-Congress didn’t accomplish Jack-spit other than fuel acrimony. For Lott to act as “enabler” (compounded with his long litany of malfeasance) should result in a GOP change of command.
© 2002 Geoff Metcalf - All Rights Reserved
Geoff is 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. Metcalf has hosted his radio talk show on the ABC/Disney owned and operated KSFO and in worldwide syndication. www.geoffmetcalf.com