Filibuster battle as seen on NBC
On Thursday evening, I found encouraging news on the filibuster battle at Yahoo News. A private Republican poll, leaked to the Associated Press, had found -- among Republican voters! -- only 37 percent support for the GOP plan to deny Democrats the ability to filibuster judicial nominees, while 51 percent were opposed.
"Additionally, the survey indicated only about 20 percent of Americans believe the Republican statement that Bush is the first president in history whose court appointees have been subjected to a filibuster."
I thought to myself, the filibuster battle is over. It's nothing, I thought, but what "the Dude" in an article posted this evening calls the "SillyBuster" -- and the "nuclear option" threat is hollow and about to implode. What I did not count on was the perseverance of evil in the U.S.A. The Republicans do not ever see a negative poll as an indication that it's time to turn around -- it's just a challenge, requiring pouring some more money into the pot and stirring.
IT AIN'T OVER TIL IT'S OVER
On Friday evening, I became aware of the Republican initiative to, once again, win over the "hearts and minds" of the American people. I had to stop by a laundromat where the teevee was booming with NBC news. As I walked in the door, a commercial by the Family Research Council blasted at my ears. (That's the government religious group, "FRC", whose slogan is "to reaffirm and promote the traditional family unit and the Judeo-Christian value system upon which it is built".)
After the paid commercial, NBC obliged the big $$$ FRC with a free extra -- an interview by NBC of a Republican advocate for eliminating the filibuster. Following that was a longer news "analysis" piece, with a couple of talking heads, that made three main points --
1) The whole thing, at least in part, is an attack by the Democrats on religious values.
2) The Democrats are proposing to do something that has NEVER been done -- filibuster court nominations -- while the Republicans have never done any such thing. (Never mind that is exactly what the Republicans did when Lyndon Johnson attempted to promote Abe Fortas to Chief Justice -- a fact that was never mentioned by the NBC reporter.)
3) The Republicans are trying to get neutral non-activist ("strict constructionist") judges that will only enforce what the law really is, instead of making up something like Democrat-appointed judges do. (Never mind that the 5-4 Republican-appointed majority in December, 2000, reversed ALL precedent since the U.S.A. has been in existence in order to place their fellow Republican, George W. Bush, in the White House!)
As for the leaked Republican poll, that news has been changed to say that 80% of those polled thought that every judicial nominee is entitled to a up-or-down vote.
One good point was made in the NBC coverage, however, and that is that what this is really leading up to is the expected resignation (or death) of Chief Justice Rehnquist this summer. (Rehnquist, who is in his 80's, has inoperable thyroid cancer.) Bush wants to feel free to appoint a real rightwing asshole to that job, without having to sweat any objections from the Democratic minority in the Senate.
So it looks, once again, like the Republicans maybe can get away with their plan to pack the courts so that we will have to live with the Republican nightmare no matter who we put into Congress and the White House in 2006 and 2008.
The Republican unholy corporate/hypochristian machine continues to project absolute confidence. As far toward worried as they get is this news report --
"Vice President Dick Cheney warned Democrats Friday that he will cast the tie-breaking vote to ban filibusters of President Bush's judicial nominees if the Senate deadlocks on the question."
link to news.yahoo.com
TWO MORE REPUBLICAN VOTES ARE NEEDED IN THE SENATE ! !
Currently the Dems have their own 44 votes plus one Independent (Jeffords, Vermont) and hopefully the votes of Republicans McCain, Chafee, Snowe and Collins, which gets the opposition to 49 votes, therefore two more are necessary -- since a 50-50 tie will be broken by Cheney (who, as Vice President, gets to vote in such tie votes).
Everyone who has any connection with Arizona, Rhode Island or Maine (both Olympia Snowe and Susan Collins are Rebublicans representing Maine) should try to find a way to contact McCain, Chafee, Snowe and Collins to ask them to vote no on ending the filibuster.
Republican senators who are reported to be on the fence are Dewine (Ohio), Specter (Pennsylvania), Warner (Virginia), Sununu (New Hampshire), Hagel (Nebraska), and Smith (Oregon).
PLEASE CONTACT SENATOR GORDON SMITH (Oregon) ! ! !
Gordon Smith - (202)224-3753
Ask your Senators to maintain the checks and balances in the Senate and protect the American people by protecting the filibuster.
If you are in the state of a waivering Senator call his/her office and really push the issue. If you are not in the same state call and let them know of any affiliation that you may have with the state.
I wish I could tell you that this thing is over -- but it ain't over til it's over! If we are lucky, it won't be over before the end of the year. And then, depending on many variables, it maybe won't be over until the election.
IF enough Democrats (or independents or Greens?) win in November, there will still be attempts by a lame-suck and corrupt Republican congress to do whatever evil they can before the new congress convenes in January, 2007.
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