Is This What The Republicans Mean By Less Government?

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Is This What The Republicans Mean By Less Government?

Post by Ted » Sat Apr 23, 2005 11:24 am

NY Times
Cheney Backs End of Filibustering
By DAVID D. KIRKPATRICK

Published: April 23, 2005


ASHINGTON, April 22 - Vice President Dick Cheney plunged the White House into the judicial confirmation battle on Friday by saying he supported changing the Senate rules to stop the Democrats from blocking judicial nominees and would, if needed, provide the tie-breaking vote.

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In addition on Friday, Senator Mitch McConnell, the majority Republican whip, asserted that Republicans would have the votes needed to execute that change.
"There is no justification for allowing the blocking of nominees who are well qualified and broadly supported," Mr. Cheney told a gathering of the Republican National Lawyers Association. "The tactics of the last few years, I believe, are inexcusable.
"If the Senate majority decides to move forward and if the issue is presented to me in my elected office as president of the Senate and presiding officer, I will support bringing those nominations to the floor for an up-or-down vote," he said. "On the merits, this should not be a difficult call to make."
Senator Harry Reid, the Democratic minority leader, responded by accusing Mr. McConnell of bluffing and President Bush of lying.
"Last week, I met with the president and was encouraged when he told me he would not become involved in Republican efforts to break the Senate rules," Mr. Reid said in a statement, referring to a breakfast held between President Bush and Congressional leaders. "Now it appears he was not being honest, and that the White House is encouraging this raw abuse of power."
Senator Charles E. Schumer, Democrat of New York, said Mr. Cheney's comments showed that the White House had "stepped over the line by interfering with the Senate to reduce checks and balances," adding, "The White House has always wanted to reduce the Senate's power."
The statements by Mr. Cheney and Mr. McConnell redoubled the Republican commitment to making good on their threat. Senate Republican leaders have faced advertisements from liberal interest groups attacking the move, internal polls showing the public is of two minds about the issue, a chilly response from business-group lobbying allies and several expressions of reluctance from a handful of Republican senators.
Senate aides say that Senator Bill Frist, the Republican majority leader, has decided to defer a fight over the rule change until at least after the May recess, postponing a confrontation that many had expected as early as next week.
Many in the party are pushing Dr. Frist to try to settle the rule change before the end of the Supreme Court term in June - a time when retiring justices typically announce their departures - but he has never set a timetable. On Friday, his spokesman, Bob Stevenson, said Dr. Frist still intended to offer the Democrats a compromise, although he has said any proposal would still entail confirming the nominees.
Meanwhile, the Senate Judiciary Committee is continuing to set the stage for a possible showdown. Next week, the committee plans to send to the floor at least two more appeals court nominees over Democratic opposition, bringing the number of nominees on deck for approval to six.
The Democrats have indicated they plan to block four of those by employing a filibuster, a parliamentary tactic used by Congressional minorities to hold up a vote.
Senate rules require 60 votes to close debate on a confirmation, allowing Democrats to thwart the action by mustering 41 votes.
Republicans, who have a 55-member majority, are threatening to lower the threshold for closing debate on all nominations to a simple majority. They say they need only 50 votes plus Vice President Cheney to make the change. Democrats call this the nuclear option, and say they will use other parliamentary rules to bring the Senate to a virtual standstill if Republicans use it.
Democrats have blocked about 10 of Mr. Bush's roughly 50 appellate court nominees, although that is only a small percentage of the more than 200 total judges that have been confirmed.
One of those scheduled for approval by the committee is Judge William H. Pryor Jr., a Catholic and opponent of abortion rights whose previously blocked nomination has become a favorite cause of the party's Christian conservative wing. Republican strategists, however, said Friday that Judge Priscilla R. Owen, a friend of the president from Texas, was favored as the poster nominee for the filibuster fight, and that it could occur as early as the second week of May, when the Senate returns from recess.

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But Republicans did not persuade some of their closest allies.
On Thursday afternoon, Dr. Frist convened a meeting with top officials of major business groups, including the United States Chamber of Commerce and the National Association of Manufacturers, to enlist their support for the fight, officials of the groups said.
But the business groups pointedly declined to back him, these officials said, in part because in response Democrats have threatened to tie the Senate in knots that would block the group's legislative priorities like the energy bill and tort reform. The next morning, Tom Donohue, president of the United States Chamber of Commerce, told a gathering of journalists that the group had no interest in supporting the fight over the confirmation rules.
Some Republican senators continue to express reservations. Two, John McCain of Arizona and Lincoln Chaffee of Rhode Island, have said they oppose the move.
On Wednesday, Senator Arlen Specter, chairman of the Judiciary Committee, warned that the parties were headed for "mutually assured destruction."
"At certain junctures of American history," Mr. Specter said in a speech on the floor, "the fate of our system of government has rested on the ability of members of this body to transcend party loyalty for national interest," he said. "I believe the Senate currently faces such a challenge between party-line voting on filibusters and potential voting on the 'constitutional or so-called nuclear' option."
Internal polls conducted for Senate Republicans by the Winston Group show they have their work cut out for them, said a person familiar with the results. Asked about the plan to end the Democrats judicial filibusters, 51 percent of respondents oppose the idea and 37 percent support it. But 80 percent believed that nominees deserve a yes-or-no vote, this person said.
Several conservative groups, including the anti-union National Right to Work Committee, the Gun Owners of America and the National Pro Life Alliance, oppose the change, arguing that conservatives have often relied on filibusters too.
Theodore B. Olson, President Bush's former solicitor general, wrote in an op-ed article published Thursday in The Wall Street Journal that both parties should "stop using judicial appointments to excite special interest constituencies and political fund-raising."
Still, Friday morning, Senator McConnell told the Christian Broadcasting Network that "what Senate Republicans are simply trying to do is get us back to the procedure that operated quite nicely for 214 years" when judicial appointments were voted up or down on the floor.
Mr. McConnell added, "We will have the votes."

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Post by Donald Isler » Sat Apr 23, 2005 11:55 am

Sure. Who needs a two-party system anyway?(g)

They'll get theirs again some day. Nothing lasts forever. Or should, when you're talking about political domination by one party, even a party I like. I'm sure they'll see a turning against them at some point, and it won't take 40 years, like it took them to wrest Congress away from the Democrats and then hold onto it for awhile. Especially with people like DeLay, and others of equally strong will to succeed at any cost, and equally low interest in ethics.
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Ted

Post by Ted » Sat Apr 23, 2005 12:26 pm

Nothing lasts forever
Donald
Let’s hope that doesn’t apply to the Democratic Republic known as the USA

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Post by Corlyss_D » Sat Apr 23, 2005 12:27 pm

I guess both of you guys wrote indignant letters to your senators and congressmen when the Democrats began trying to force the majority to accept the minority's demands to substitute the losers' agenda for the winners', right?

Do either of you understand what "majority rule" means? Or do you understand it only when Democrats are in the majority?

And Ted, what does "less government" have to do with this particular fight? That's usually a term reserved for reductions in regulatory content, restoration of the balance between state and federal government, and reductions in government programs. Clarification, please.
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Ted

Post by Ted » Sat Apr 23, 2005 12:56 pm

And Ted, what does "less government" have to do with this particular fight
I knew you’d ask that CD
I also know you can answer it
Cheers Utah
t

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Post by Corlyss_D » Sat Apr 23, 2005 1:27 pm

Ted Baylis wrote:
And Ted, what does "less government" have to do with this particular fight
I knew you’d ask that CD
I also know you can answer it
If I knew what you meant, I wouldn't have asked, Ted. That supercilious riposte isn't an answer.
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Post by Donald Isler » Sat Apr 23, 2005 2:59 pm

Majority rule still means that the majority still has some limitations on imposing its agenda and is not allowed to become all-powerful. Remember FDR and his court-packing plan? According to your argument I suppose he should have been allowed to pull that one off. Though neither of us actually thinks he should have been allowed to.
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Post by Werner » Sat Apr 23, 2005 4:14 pm

Corlyss, isn't it strange that none of the right-wing antifilibusterers have thought of mentioning FDR's notorious court-packing plan? Ix it becauise it's too much like theirs?

Oh I know I'll get a lot of nitpicking answers from the defenders of extremist judges, trying to show in what detail they differ from the court packing plan. But they're siblings under the skin.

And let's not forget that a couple of hundred nominations have gone through without a problem. So the protection against gonig to extremes has its place in the case of guys like DeLay (thank goodness he has no vote in this) and Cheney (He might have one - hopefully not.)
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Post by Ralph » Sat Apr 23, 2005 6:50 pm

Donald Isler wrote:Majority rule still means that the majority still has some limitations on imposing its agenda and is not allowed to become all-powerful. Remember FDR and his court-packing plan? According to your argument I suppose he should have been allowed to pull that one off. Though neither of us actually thinks he should have been allowed to.
*****

FDR's plan aroused much opposition from those who supported the New Deal as well as his political enemies. Even with the crisis of the Depression there was a groundswell of concern that the scheme would evicerate Checks and Balances. FDR simply went too far. The plan was abandoned after the president's chief Senate supporter of the move died suddenly but there's a lot of evidence it wouldn't have succeeded.
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Ted

Post by Ted » Sat Apr 23, 2005 10:56 pm

If I knew what you meant, I wouldn't have asked, Ted. That supercilious riposte isn't an answer.
CD
You are smart enough to read between the lines. When a political entity holding a majority attempts to do what the Republicans would like to accomplish there is no “Less” There is only “More as in Control as in Power as in where in the hell do you think that road will lead?

The Republicans are constantly pontificating about the pitfalls of Big Government and while you are correct about regulations etc. I’m referring to their attempts to actually change the way the government operates to suit their own, conservative agenda, which is precisely why they want to change the rules in the middle of the game. If that’s not big government it’s government acting too big, which is far worse.

It’s a despicable notion and oh so typical of the Republican Party and the even more reprehensible Vice President, not to mention his boss.
If the situation was reversed can I can’t imagine you feeling any differently than I do

As for the senators I mentioned, they were all politicians which means “When they weren’t hugging babies they were stealing their lollipops”
But I can guarantee you they were all for defending and protecting the constitution of the United States and the rules by which the government operates.

Cheers
t

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Post by Kevin R » Mon Apr 25, 2005 2:20 am

Werner wrote:Corlyss, isn't it strange that none of the right-wing antifilibusterers have thought of mentioning FDR's notorious court-packing plan? Ix it becauise it's too much like theirs?

Oh I know I'll get a lot of nitpicking answers from the defenders of extremist judges, trying to show in what detail they differ from the court packing plan. But they're siblings under the skin.

And let's not forget that a couple of hundred nominations have gone through without a problem. So the protection against gonig to extremes has its place in the case of guys like DeLay (thank goodness he has no vote in this) and Cheney (He might have one - hopefully not.)
Werner,

How can you possibly think the two are even remotely similar? FDR's plan was a naked power play to influence the courts (and the most dangerous threat to judicial independence in US history). Here was the executive branch attempting to influence the work of the courts.

The current example is one of a majority of senators wanting to be able to vote up or down on a nominee. How you can compare the two is beyond me.

You indicate those being filibustered are extremist judges, and many Dems make that argument. But on the other side, there are those Reps who say they are well qualified and in no way extremist. How do we solve this dilemma? By letting each senator vote, as has been done throughout Senate history.

The current situation is unprecedented. Never before has a judicial nominee (who enjoys majority support) been filibustered. By such action, the Senate is not allowed to perform its constitutional duty (advice and consent).

And how did the filibuster become such a sacred device? Listening to Dems talk about it, you would think this was a Constitutional issue of the highest order. Of course, the Constitution doesn't mention this (Schumer and Byrd have shown themselves to be extremely illiterate on this point). And from their glowing panegyrics to this legislative tool, one would never know its true ugly past.

In fact, the hypocrisy of the Dems and their sudden infatuation with the filibuster is all the more unbelievable when you recall what happened in 1995. Many of the Dems who today talk about the venerated nature of the filibuster, voted to outlaw ALL (not just juridical) filibusters! What has changed? Could it be the makeup of the Senate and the current occupant of the White House?

Not to mention that the same Dems who are whining about Republicans changing the rules in the middle of the game have themselves done so on numerous occasions. The goofiest member of the Senate (Robert Byrd) has been very good at it. Again, what has changed?
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Post by Corlyss_D » Mon Apr 25, 2005 3:12 am

Donald Isler wrote:Majority rule still means that the majority still has some limitations on imposing its agenda and is not allowed to become all-powerful.
Sorry, Donald. If the FFs had thought the minority diserved that much protection, they would have written it into the Constitution. You guys seem to forget, since you are about to be on the losing side of history, that this is a Senate rule, not a constitutional provision. The governing principle of this nation is 'majority rule.'
Remember FDR and his court-packing plan? According to your argument I suppose he should have been allowed to pull that one off. Though neither of us actually thinks he should have been allowed to.
Wait a minute! He's the Democrat's patron saint. You can't honestly think he was wrong to try that, can you? Well, nevermind. You do know that he didn't have to try it, so the proposal wasn't defeated by votes, right? There was no guarantee he would have gotten away with it, if he had put it to the Congress. He just talked about it until SCOTUS saw the light and gave him what he wanted anyway.
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Post by Corlyss_D » Mon Apr 25, 2005 3:56 am

Ted Baylis wrote:
Corlyss_D wrote:If I knew what you meant, I wouldn't have asked, Ted. That supercilious riposte isn't an answer.
You are smart enough to read between the lines.
It baffles me, Ted, why in two recent posts you have turned my straightforward question posed to try to understand what you were driving at into some kind of intelligence test that I failed. If you are trying to insult me, you have succeeded.
When a political entity holding a majority attempts to do what the Republicans would like to accomplish there is no “Less” There is only “More as in Control as in Power as in where in the hell do you think that road will lead?
Well, at last. Thank you for being plain spoken and direct, even if I think you are reaching with this analysis. At least I now I understand what your complaint is. This is a change in Senate rules, not a unilateral unconstitutional change to wipe out one or more branches of government. In spite of Democratic whining, it's not riding roughshod over the minority to let the president have the fully qualified appointments that he wants. The present state of things is directly the result of the Democrats blocking Bork and trying to knock off Thomas. Any outrage you liberals are feeling now should have been felt and expressed then when the real damage was done, not now when the Republicans have figured out a way to stop this 5-yr tyranny of the minority.

If you liberals want to run the government again, you have to get back in the majority. It's as simple and as difficult as that. You can't control the majority, you can't substitute your agenda for the majority's, and you can't behave like you are the majority. This is another example of Democrats not handling their frustrations well and not learning to accept their status as the minority. Majority rule is one of the founding principles of this government and all the Democratic whining about Republicans not working with them and not "moderating" the conservative agenda is not going to change that. And the Democrats dilemma is only going to get worse because the country is increasingly conservative. See The Right Nation by John Micklethwait and Adrian Wooldridge of The Economist.
The Republicans are constantly pontificating about the pitfalls of Big Government
In our parlance, the Big Government argument applies strictly to 1) the amount of inhibiting and controling regulations issued by the Federal Government, particularly those aimed at private behaviors and commercial activity; 2) the number of agencies and employees required to administer the inhibiting and controling regulations; 3) the number of laws passed by the Congress that result in the expansive regulations; 4) the disregard for the balance between state and federal governments aka "our federalilsm;" and 5) the growth of federal programs implemented thru increasing budgets.
I’m referring to their attempts to actually change the way the government operates to suit their own, conservative agenda, which is precisely why they want to change the rules in the middle of the game.
That may be your own unique view of "Big Government" but it's not classically what we mean by "Big Government." They are not changing the way the government operates. They are changing their philosophy about what they want the government to do. IOW they have completely adopted the Democrats model of intrusive government and are turning it to their own purposes.
It’s a despicable notion and oh so typical of the Republican Party and the even more reprehensible Vice President, not to mention his boss.
Of course it's reprehensible for them to abandon their principles wholesale simply because now they are in power. Why do you think Newt has been lecturing them for months on "becoming what they hated"? Why do you think I was so upset by their behavior in the Schiavo case?
If the situation was reversed can I can’t imagine you feeling any differently than I do
And somehow, I can't imagine you would be nearly as upset if the Democrats were limiting filibuster to prevent the Republicans from tyrannizing a Democratic majority. Com'on Ted. You're just cross because it's not your team calling the shots.
But I can guarantee you they were all for defending and protecting the constitution of the United States and the rules by which the government operates.
You mean like the rule that says "the majority rules?"
Last edited by Corlyss_D on Mon Apr 25, 2005 4:28 am, edited 3 times in total.
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Post by Corlyss_D » Mon Apr 25, 2005 4:20 am

Werner wrote:extremist judges
Democratic talking points, Werner. Sound bites. Do you know anything about the judges? Do you know why you think they are "extremists?" Is it just because Bush nominated them?
So the protection against gonig to extremes has its place in the case of guys like DeLay (thank goodness he has no vote in this)
:lol: :lol: :lol: :lol:
What do you think his firebrand statements about a judiciary out of control are? He's "voting" by whipping the base into a frenzy (or trying to) so they will call their Senators and demand their support for these nominees, just like Reagan did when he had to deal with a Democratic congress. He has more influence than the single vote of any senator could be.
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Ted

Post by Ted » Mon Apr 25, 2005 6:40 am

It baffles me, Ted, why in two recent posts you have turned my straightforward question posed to try to understand what you were driving at into some kind of intelligence test that I failed. If you are trying to insult me, you have succeeded.
Corlyss
Absolutely not! No way!
Though perception is reality so if you feel wounded by my seemingly acerbic rants, I can only (yet again) apologize and assure you that causing you the slightest bit of angst was not my intention.
t

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Post by Corlyss_D » Mon Apr 25, 2005 6:54 pm

Ted Baylis wrote:Absolutely not! No way!
Okay. If that wasn't your intent, then no apology needed. I would like to be able to ask you in the future what the hell you're driving at so we could, you know, communicate. We're both writers so it should be that hard. All I want is to understand what you're thinking so I can agree or disagree with it on point rather than have to engage in Pythian guessing. That's all!

Now, do I get any points for clarifying that I didn't exempt Dirksen for the reason you though I did, and for agreeing that the Republicans changing philosophy now that they are in power was reprehensible? I think we're on the same page about that issue.
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Post by Ted » Mon Apr 25, 2005 7:16 pm

Yes CD, you do get credit--tons of it!
And again, though I do go bonkers over some Conservative issues, we are more on the same page on most topics than not.
As for the filibuster visa vie court nominees, it seems that for the most part the senate has not gone down that road for the last 200 odd years…but that’s a function of choice and not law.
We both agree, Advice and Consent is another brilliant component of the Constitution-- one that doesn’t need tweaking or modification
If the Republicans want their nominees confirmed, I guess the best way to go about that is to own all 100 senate seats.
As always
c&c
t

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Post by Corlyss_D » Mon Apr 25, 2005 8:08 pm

Ted Baylis wrote:Yes CD, you do get credit--tons of it!
Thank you! I just want credit for where I'm right or I show I'm not an ideological automaton.
And again, though I do go bonkers over some Conservative issues, we are more on the same page on most topics than not.
Agreed.
As for the filibuster visa vie court nominees, it seems that for the most part the senate has not gone down that road for the last 200 odd years…but that’s a function of choice and not law.
Until very recently, the last 10-15 years, the filibuster wasn't used on nominees at all. Before 20 years ago, nominees weren't bottled up in committee (the Dems favorite trick before Bush II). It used to be assumed that the guy was entitled to appoint whomever he was comfortable with.
If the Republicans want their nominees confirmed, I guess the best way to go about that is to own all 100 senate seats.
:twisted: I'm not greedy. Dems can have 2 . . . We get our confirmations with Dems having anything under 40. I can live with that.
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