My personal musings about anything that gets on my radar screen--heavily dominated by politics.


Barbara Boxer, Turn In Your Playbook

With a big hat tip to Hugh Hewitt and Gen.o Duane, I draw your attention to the MoveOn.org rally yesterday in which several Dem Senators tried to defend their filibuster strategy.

First, Harry Reid: This is not about judges. It's about arrogance of power. Eli (the founder of MoveOn) was right in everything, except he said for 200 years, this country has had the procedures that we're trying to make sure are not eliminated. He's wrong, because it's been 217 years.

But for you, our voices would be drowned out by the shrill right of right-wing radio. But you're not going to let this happen. We are depending on you. We are depending on you to make sure that this country stands for what we learned many years ago when Mr. Smith went to Washington.

Of course it's about judges, in the same way that "academic freedom" is about indoctrination of youth. The left has long seen the route to their power through controlling the long-term instruments of public policy: academia and the courts. Let's face it--they've been much better at this and about this than the right has. It's rather remarkable that the GOP holds majorities given the stranglehold on public policy and higher learning that the Dems have held. But what you are hearing in their voice is desperate screams of Don Giovanni at the sight of Hell: if the GOP gets a hold of the courts, it would be "game over" for their little run of social reconstruction. And secondly, Senator, "Mr. Smith" is a movie character--there's very few of us who either a. saw that movie or b. look on it as a major Civics lesson.

Then, Sen. Durbin: This historic debate is about more than the rights of Senators on the floor of the Senate. It's about the rights of the American people. It's about the solemn oath each of us has taken to uphold and defend the Constitution. . . This is not the first president to come forward, believing that he had so much power, he could change America. He could change the Constitution. That he could change the way we choose judges. It happened before. Thomas Jefferson, this venerable name in American history, in his second term, tried to impeach a Supreme Court justice by the name of Samuel Chase, at a time when Thomas Jefferson's party controlled the Senate. And those Senators, six of those Republican Senators, said no. The Constitution is more important than even Thomas Jefferson.

Once again, Senator, please, I pray you, find the word "filibuster" in the Constitution for me. This is not about the Constitution, this is about the arbitrary exercise of Senate prerogatives. Well, here's a new prerogative for you: a majority vote! And, by the way, the Republican Party, such as it is today, did not exist in Jefferson's time. Just an aside.

Next, where any good manager puts his strongest hitter, Robert Byrd: Your Honor, I mean, urgh [gurgle] Your Highness, I condemn in the strongest terms--THE STRONGEST terms, this incursion of, of, of . . .these little birdies in our. . .can you hear them CHEEP CHEEP CHEEP. . Your Highness must have seen. . . in the orange juice, no less. . . Actually, just kidding. Not that Byrd's rant was any more coherent than this.

And, finally, batting cleanup, Sen Barbara Boxer. To preface, we've had arguments so far for tradition, congeniality, Constitutionality, power overreaching, and free speech. What does Babs lead with: Why would we give lifetime appointments to people who earn up to $200,000 a year, with absolutely a great retirement system, and all the things all Americans wish for, with absolutely no check and balance except that one confirmation vote. So we're saying we think you ought to get nine votes over the 51 required. That isn't too much to ask for such a super important position. There ought to be a super vote. Oh, of course. It's a pretty good gig, so they ought to require a "super" vote.

Way to go, Sen Boxer. Coach wants to see you. And bring your playbook. Close the door, Bricks. This is one part of the job that's never easy . . .

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