Filibusterus delendus est

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Filibusterus delendus est

Post by Corlyss_D » Thu May 12, 2005 3:26 pm

Ted wrote:
He made it sound like it would be a disaster.
As it would be
Yeah, majority rule is definitely a dangerous concept. I actually heard Hagel say something to that effect today in the Bolton debate. And this guy wants to be president. Filibusters should be like Bill Clinton's abortions, safe, legal, and rare. I repeat, the minority has the right to be heard; it doen't have the right to rule.
Last edited by Corlyss_D on Sat May 14, 2005 12:34 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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Ted

Post by Ted » Thu May 12, 2005 4:07 pm

Yeah, majority rule is definitely a dangerous concept
Oooh, I dig the sarcasm CD.
Ya know, in theory I kind of agree with you, in a perfect world the senate would not use “Technicalities” to impeded the will of the majority, but I have to lean on the wisdom of the founding fathers who drummed up the concept of advice and consent which is replete with the technical tool bag the dems currently have their hands in.
I thought we both agreed that the Nuke option was not a good thing
c&c

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Post by Corlyss_D » Thu May 12, 2005 4:44 pm

Ted wrote:
Yeah, majority rule is definitely a dangerous concept
Oooh, I dig the sarcasm CD.
:wink:
I have to lean on the wisdom of the founding fathers who drummed up the concept of advice and consent
The founding fathers came up with "advice and consent;" they didn't come up with "60 votes to pass any legislation or approve nominees." The filibuster is a SENATE RULE and didn't appear until the 1830s. If the founding fathers thought filibuster was necessary they would have thought of it. If they wanted legislation to pass with a 2/3ds majority, they would have written that into the constitution. They didn't. It's majority rule. The Democrats overuse of this threat for the last 10 years has essentially changed the constitution without enacting the required amendment.

Because the Senate was originally intended to represent the states and the advice and consent provision was intended to protect the states from the federal government. The advice and consent provision no longer functions that way. It's an obsolete construct now used to prevent the majority from executing the will of the people who made them the majority.

Now before you jump all over me for using the phrase "obsolete construct," I'm not trying to argue for the elimination of it. It's not worth the effort it would take to amend the constitution and nobody would go for it anyway. But I think the fact that circustances have changed and who was being protected from what is worth noting before we get all head up about the way the filibuster protects the minority rights. It's an anti-democratic weapon for use by people who don't like the position in which they find themselves as a result of the democratic process. When we look around the world and see a small number of people who subvert the democratic process, we call that tyranny. How's it different now just because it's a bunch of self-important blowhards in the Senate?

A few topics back I sniped at Ralph that what the Republicans did under Clinton could be justified because the Republicans were the majority in both houses from 1994, Clinton was a plurality president in both his elections and the Democrats were the minority in both houses. The Republicans never used the filibuster against Clinton's nominees: they stopped the nominees in the committee. Forget the argument that a president has the right to his own nominees. The majority has the right to rule. The Democrats lost the 2004 election in the presidency and the legislature. They do not have the right to rule.
I thought we both agreed that the Nuke option was not a good thing
I can't imagine where you got that idea. I have been opponent of the filibuster since I was a zygote. I used to watch these things during the civil rights days. I have always thought it was a disgrace. I'd be happy if the rule was eliminated forever, not just on judicial nominees.
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Post by Ted » Thu May 12, 2005 6:41 pm

I can't imagine where you got that idea.
Seriously CD
I sincerely thought that you were “against changing the rules in the middle of the game” as I put it to you.
We’ve already discussed A& C, now we can talk about Checks and Balances.

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Post by Ralph » Thu May 12, 2005 7:08 pm

Corlyss_D wrote:The full report can be seen here:

http://cbs5.com/politics/politicsnation ... 14124.html

It sounded to me like Starr was saying that the attacks on judicial nominees were unprecedented; presidents should get the nominees they want, whether they are Democratic or Republicans; and the Republicans might suffer blow-back because of the nuclear option. It was an unremarkable interview.
*****

Well if he said THAT he's just plain wrong.
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Post by Ralph » Thu May 12, 2005 7:13 pm

We do not have a system, constitutionally or historically, where a party out of power is supposed to play dead until the opportunity to get a legislative majority returns.

I see major downsides to filibustering but over a long period of time it has served to bring some balance to legislative action. 1830 was long ago and the filibuster is a tradition if not an enumerated constitutional right. I don't agree with holding up all the Bush nominees but I do with regard to some. The filibuster pressures the supporters of nominees to work harder to sell their people and, perhaps, leads to more disclosure of information and, very occasionally, to the nominees becoming more aware of their duties.
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Post by Corlyss_D » Thu May 12, 2005 8:32 pm

Cosima__J wrote:Corlyss, the problem is not dealt with by reading the CBS/Gloria Borger story as aired on the evening news last night. The question that needs answering is "Did CBS edit the Kenneth Starr interview and make Borger's comments sound like Starr's words referred to the Republicans using the nuclear option?" Kenneth Starr himself says that his comments DID NOT refer to using the nuclear option. Starr has asked CBS to release the transcript of the ENTIRE interview so that the public can see exactly what he was talking about. So far, CBS has refused. Obviously they're not too eager to get caught in another situation like the Dan Rather forged documents problem.
Thanks, Cos. I thought it might have been in the spin that Borger and Schieffer put on the report. I've been trying to verify your report with a reliable source all day. I'm surprised I don't have anything by now. I caught a reference to it on a board, but that's not good enough. The news reports I've heard haven't mentioned. I believe its out there.

Here's the blurb from Power Line.
Today's hottest media story relates to a CBS News report on the judicial filibuster by Gloria Borger that aired Monday night. The segment included an interview with Ken Starr, in which Starr, seemingly in reference to the Republicans' effort to end the filibuster, said: "This is a radical, radical departure from our history and from our traditions, and it amounts to an assault on the judicial branch of government." You can watch the CBS report here. The two Starr quotes are the main feature of the segment; what is most interesting to me is Bob Schieffer's reaction: he clearly understood Starr to be talking about the Republican effort in the above quote.

Only he wasn't. Starr learned of how CBS had edited his interview, and has made public an email in which he wrote:

I sat on Saturday with Gloria Borger for 20 minutes approximately, had a wide ranging, on-camera discussion. In the piece that I have now seen, and which I gather has been lavishly quoted, CBS employed two snippets. The 'radical departure from our history' snippet was specifically addressed to the practice of invoking judicial philosophy as a grounds for voting against a qualified nominee of integrity and experience. I said in sharp language that that practice was wrong. I contrasted the current practice and that employed viciously against your father with what occurred during Ruth Ginsburg's nomination process as numerous Republicans voted, rightly, to confirm a former ACLU staff worker. They disagreed with her positions as a lawyer but they voted -- again rightly -- to confirm her.

As we have noted repeatedly, the mainstream media have pulled out all the stops to support the Democrats on the filibuster. This, though, would appear to be over the line. It is also being reported that Starr has asked for a copy of the video of his interview and been turned down by CBS, but I haven't yet seen that in writing anywhere. I don't know, maybe there is an innocent reason why CBS wouldn't want to give up the tape; maybe they sent it to Davos for safekeeping.
http://powerlineblog.com/
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Post by Werner » Thu May 12, 2005 10:15 pm

We can count on Republican consistency until they see the need to object to a Democratic President's choices. If the get to that point, you can bet theyll swallow the principles they so proudly stand by today. Wouldn't you? (in their place?)
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Post by diegobueno » Thu May 12, 2005 10:24 pm

Don't forget that each of those Democratic congresspeople were elected by a majority of the voters in their districts. They have a duty to serve their constituents.

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Post by Corlyss_D » Fri May 13, 2005 12:59 am

Ted wrote:
I can't imagine where you got that idea.
Seriously CD
I sincerely thought that you were “against changing the rules in the middle of the game” as I put it to you.
We’ve already discussed A& C, now we can talk about Checks and Balances.
Okay. I owe you an explanation. I wish I could think of one. I've wracked my brain and I simply don't remember the context "changing the rules in the middle of the game." Truly I don't. But it sounds like something I would agree with. Can you give me some more details, maybe a link (cuz I'm sure I said it here), show me the surveillance tape? I'm drawing a blank.
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Post by diegobueno » Fri May 13, 2005 5:39 pm

Since this topic was split in two my contribution to this discussion seems not to have made it into either thread.

I mentioned, in connection with the idea of majority rule, that the Democratic members of Congress are there because they were elected by a majority of the voters in their districts. They have a right to act on their positions.

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Post by Corlyss_D » Sat May 14, 2005 12:32 pm

diegobueno wrote:Since this topic was split in two my contribution to this discussion seems not to have made it into either thread.

I mentioned, in connection with the idea of majority rule, that the Democratic members of Congress are there because they were elected by a majority of the voters in their districts. They have a right to act on their positions.
Are you sure? Scroll up. Wasn't that your only comment? I've checked all your posts under your profile and I don't see any others discussing majority rule.
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Post by Corlyss_D » Sat May 14, 2005 1:35 pm

diegobueno wrote:Don't forget that each of those Democratic congresspeople were elected by a majority of the voters in their districts. They have a duty to serve their constituents.
Now that you bring this to my attention, Mark, that argument while true doesn't go anywhere in the context of the which party is in the majority in congress, which party won the presidential election, and which party had the majority of votes, the first majority in many years. The Democrats, if you look at the famous map, are fighting a fierce rear-guard action against the ground-swell of conservatism in this country.

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Post by Ralph » Sat May 14, 2005 6:09 pm

Corlyss,

When you get a chance please send me a PM explaining HOW to put a graphic like that on this board.

Many thanks.
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Post by diegobueno » Wed May 18, 2005 9:46 am

Corlyss_D wrote:
diegobueno wrote:Don't forget that each of those Democratic congresspeople were elected by a majority of the voters in their districts. They have a duty to serve their constituents.
Now that you bring this to my attention, Mark, that argument while true doesn't go anywhere in the context of the which party is in the majority in congress, which party won the presidential election, and which party had the majority of votes, the first majority in many years.
I must say I fail to see the logic here. Congressmen are elected to represent the districts they ran in. There is no other context.

Incidentally, please remember Bush won with only 51% of the vote (to Kerry's 48%). That just barely squeaks by as a majority. It hardly represents a great conservative groundwell.

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Post by karlhenning » Wed May 18, 2005 9:50 am

And, apropos of nothing in especial, there is a pub on Beacon Hill hard by the State House, Fill-A-Buster
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Post by Corlyss_D » Wed May 18, 2005 10:22 am

diegobueno wrote:Incidentally, please remember Bush won with only 51% of the vote (to Kerry's 48%). That just barely squeaks by as a majority. It hardly represents a great conservative groundwell.
Considering that there has been no majority president since 1988, and Bush won by 3.5 million votes at that, and I won't even mention the 40% who weren't mad enough to vote (aka the more or less satisfied with Bush), there are enough facts there for you to be skeptical of the Demospin that Bush didn't really win much at all, or that the Dems are not in very. . serious. . trouble.
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Post by Corlyss_D » Wed May 18, 2005 10:31 am

karlhenning wrote:And, apropos of nothing in especial, there is a pub on Beacon Hill hard by the State House, Fill-A-Buster
I think they misnamed the stupid process. They should have called it filibluster. I can't believe how the proponents of it are lying about its "constitutionality" and its creation by "the founding fathers." Some jackass - a very cute jackass but a jackass nonetheless - from Moveon PAC referred to it as a "constitutional rule" because under the Constitution, the Senate can set its own rules!
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Post by diegobueno » Wed May 18, 2005 11:12 am

Corlyss_D wrote:and I won't even mention the 40% who weren't mad enough to vote (aka the more or less satisfied with Bush),
In that case, I won't mention the fallacy of ascribing pro-Republican sentiment to nonvoters. It was a very close race; no one with an interest in the outcome could sit back and say they didn't need to vote.

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Post by Werner » Wed May 18, 2005 5:19 pm

Corlyss: I don't know why I failed to note your agreement with Bill Clinton on the matter of "safe, legal, and rare" earlier. As you know, I've been preoccupied.

So he ws talking about abortion, and you adapted his statement - quite correctly, I think - to the matter of filibuster.

Has anyone urged that to become a daily routine?

We're talking about meeting an emergency situation - when the arrogant majority insists on advancing candidates whom they would criticize as "judicial activists" if they appeared on the opposition's slate. There is no mention by the Bushy-tailed partisans of the fact that some 200 nominations went through without trouble - or of the various Republican machinations to derail Clinton nominations.

What you say about majority rule is correct, of course, and I doubt if any of the "blue state" posters (and I question the statistical corretlness of that pretty, scary, map you posted) would argue with you on that. But remember that Hitler won a fair election, and you know where things went from there.

We may not be quite in the same position, but when the DeLays and their ilk - protected by "the highest govrnmental authorities" - get too big for their britches, there has to be a lifesaving procedure - safe, legal and rare but availablble.
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Post by Corlyss_D » Wed May 18, 2005 7:43 pm

Werner wrote:So he ws talking about abortion, and you adapted his statement - quite correctly, I think - to the matter of filibuster.

Has anyone urged that to become a daily routine?
You'll have to ask the Dems. Judging by their behavior, I'd say they have decided that that is the only way they can continue to avoid the inevitable. Fine by me. Let 'em. Just puts them on the fast track to electoral oblivion.
We're talking about meeting an emergency situation
Oh, Werner. That's just BS. Stop regurgitating the Dem spinmeister talking points. You don't know what you're talking about. The "emergency" is that the Dems lost the election for president, they don't have a majority in either house of Congress, and all they have left as their little outpost of statist liberalism is the Judiciary. The "emergency" is that they don't want to admit they no longer govern. The "emergency" is that their vote share is declining around the country and they have to resort to systematic voter fraud to stave off the inevitable.
There is no mention by the Bushy-tailed partisans of the fact that some 200 nominations went through without trouble - or of the various Republican machinations to derail Clinton nominations.
Context is everything. From a law review note of 2002:
Thus far in the Bush tenure the Senate has not faced a Supreme Court vacancy. It clearly is in a stall in filling lower court vacancies, however, especially on the courts of appeals. As of the Memorial Day 2002 congressional recess, there have been 143 vacancies on the 862-member Article III courts during Bush’s tenure, for which Bush has nominated 102 candidates.[6] Only fifty-seven have been confirmed, leaving eighty six empty seats, thirty-five of which are “judicial emergency” vacancies according to the Administrative Office of the U.S. Courts.[7] Half the seats on the Sixth Circuit today are empty. In fact, at the circuit level the stall is egregious. Only nine of Bush’s thirty-one circuit court nominees have been confirmed, and two of those were Clinton holdovers, re-nominated by Bush as a gesture to the Democrats. More telling still, ten of those nominees have been hanging for over a year, never having had even a hearing, much less a vote. That leaves thirty empty circuit court seats.

In response to Republican criticisms, Democrat Patrick Leahy, chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, often says that the Senate has confirmed more nominees at a given point in time than were confirmed during prior administrations.[8] That is true, but it fails to address the objection, because there are more vacancies now and more nominees. To do a fair comparison, one must look not at raw numbers but at percentages. Doing so, the confirmation rates for the first year of recent administrations, taking nominees for district and appellate courts together, are as follows: Reagan ninety one percent; Bush (the father) sixty two percent; Clinton fifty seven percent; Bush (the son) forty two percent. When just the circuit court confirmations are looked at, however, we find that only nine of Bush’s twenty nine first-year nominees were confirmed, or thirty one percent, and that includes the two Democratic holdovers. If one compares the confirmation rates for circuit court nominees for the first two years of recent administrations, both Reagan and Bush the father had ninety five percent of their nominees confirmed, while President Clinton’s rate was only slightly lower: eighty six percent. To date, the rate for Bush the son is not even thirty percent, again including the Democratic holdovers. Most shocking of all, no president in history has had eight of his first eleven circuit court nominees left to hang for over a year without even a hearing, yet that is how the Senate has treated that first group of Bush nominees
.
What you say about majority rule is correct, of course, and I doubt if any of the "blue state" posters would argue with you on that.
Oh, but they do argue with me. The truth about Democrats is they are in the minority and they hate it because everyone knows God gave them rulership as a birthright. If my blue-state colleagues here don't like the results of the election, and that is one definition of a blue-stater, they claim 1) Bush didn't really win by much; 2) it was closer than it looked; 3) there is no "conservative majority;" and 4) national majorities don't count, only state majorities do. That's crazy talk, paranoid delusions born of their unwillingness to acknowlege the FACTS! 3-4% percentage points, 3.5 million votes, the only majority election in 15 years = a win by any definition, period, paragraph. It's equivocal only in the padded-room ravings of Democrats suffering from PTSD.
(and I question the statistical corretlness of that pretty, scary, map you posted).
You can question it all you want to, but it ain't gonna change the facts. It's the USA Today county-by-county election results map. Democratic strategists site the map as the most discouraging development of the 2004 election. It's the map that finally compelled Democratic strategists to admit that if they plan to win any more national elections, they have to start appealing to red county voters, with ideas, rather than relying on greater turnout in blue counties. They have to figure out how to get red county voters to vote for Democrats. Democratic turn-out is not going to do it for them. This is the exquisite dilemma for Dem strategists: how do they appeal to people they basically despise and have nothing but contempt for? Hint: Howard Dean ain't gonna turn this party around with red county voters, and you don't need to hear a single thing Howard Dean says to know that bedrock truth.
But remember that Hitler won a fair election, and you know where things went from there.
More hysterical ravings. Anyone who equates Bush with Hitler is discredited by the words out of his own mouth.
We may not be quite in the same position, but when the DeLays and their ilk - protected by "the highest govrnmental authorities" - get too big for their britches, there has to be a lifesaving procedure - safe, legal and rare but availablble.
If you think the Senate is the repository of public safeguards, you're smoking a controlled substance. It's the home of the prima dona gasbags. They are boils on the feet of progress. The Senate is so puffed up with pride in their status, they talk like they are the only ones in the Government. The real safe guard against reckless parties is the voter. If the voters don't like what the Republicans are doing, they will return more Democrats to the House and Senate in 06. But don't count on it. Congressional Democrats are digging their own electoral graves with this obstructionist strategy. Polling that strips off the party designators leaving only the description of party behaviors demonstrates compellingly that the public don't like what the Dems are doing. And if this bunch of Republicans can organize long enough to articulate their message, they will tell the unhappy public who is obstructing whom.
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Post by Werner » Wed May 18, 2005 10:00 pm

Corlyss, you write so well, I'd love to agree with you. But you never give me a chance, do you?

As to that long quote you posted on the judidial noinations, I note that it cited statistics as of Memorial Day 2002. We are approaching Memorial Day 2005. Any change? Or do we believe in being behind the times, especially if it suits our argument?

When you try to bend my statements re Hitler to a comparison with Bush
you're off base. I made it perfectly clear -as you mistakenly quoted me - that we're not in the same position. But Hitler won because the responsible center - no, not the Left, but which I mean the Communists alone,- did not join forces to defeat the Hitler threat. (Of course, if the Communists had been smart instead of ideological, they might have stopped Hitler by joining with the others - but that's another matter.) The result was the arrogance of the "winner."

The tone of your post presents a danger not quite yet as pronounced. I agree that the Democrats must find their way to an "electable"platform.
Sometimes that is brought about by their internal development (does anyone want to say "evolutinon?") Or the boost could come from the proven mendacity and incompetence of the party in power.

Which way is it going? Dream on, friend!

But I do congratulate you by picking up Bill Clinton's idea.
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Post by diegobueno » Thu May 19, 2005 7:35 am

Corlyss, all that map shows is that the heavily populated areas of the country voted for Kerry and the sparsely populated areas voted for Bush. In terms of numbers the fact remains that Bush only got 51% of the vote. Rave all you want, you cannot alter that fact that there is no overwhelming conservative majority.

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Post by Donald Isler » Thu May 19, 2005 9:07 am

True, the Republicans are currently riding high, but this too will only last so long. Making the Middle East a more democratic region is their one good idea, and we can only hope it ultimately turns out well.

Otherwise, their political and economic policies are cheap, selfish, nasty, divisive, and not in favor of the average American. And Americans will gradually come to see this, and take action with their votes.
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Post by JackC » Thu May 19, 2005 10:05 am

Donald Isler wrote:Otherwise, their political and economic policies are cheap, selfish, nasty, divisive, and not in favor of the average American. And Americans will gradually come to see this, and take action with their votes.
Well, that has been the line against Republicans as long as I can remember. Yet in the last generation we have seen an amazing power shift away from Democrats and towards Republicans.

No doubt that power will shift back at some point, but if what you say is true, why haven't Americans over the last generation agreed with you?

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Post by Donald Isler » Thu May 19, 2005 10:48 am

JackC wrote:

"Well, that has been the line against Republicans as long as I can remember. Yet in the last generation we have seen an amazing power shift away from Democrats and towards Republicans.

No doubt that power will shift back at some point, but if what you say is true, why haven't Americans over the last generation agreed with you?"


I think a number of reasons can explain this.

First of all, a rebellion against a long-entrenched party that controlled Congress for almost 40 years.

Second, the personal popularity, and speaking ability of Ronald Reagan.

Third, the optimism and gung-ho spirit of the current president (if not his brilliant use of the English language!)

Fourth, the lack of the Democrats in coming up with a new leader as brilliant and articulate as Bill Clinton, whose place in history would probably be considerably higher but for stupid, self-inflicated wounds.

But I think Americans will come to realize that the looming enormous deficit, created, ironically by a Republican, NOT a Democratic administration, is hurting America, and that the tax laws and social security "fixes" favor the wealthy, not the average citizen.

Also, while America is generally a country of people who are, on average, moderate to slightly conservative, the grasping of power by ultra-conservatives is not what they will want either.
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Post by JackC » Thu May 19, 2005 11:26 am

Donald Isler wrote:JackC wrote:

"Well, that has been the line against Republicans as long as I can remember. Yet in the last generation we have seen an amazing power shift away from Democrats and towards Republicans.

No doubt that power will shift back at some point, but if what you say is true, why haven't Americans over the last generation agreed with you?"


I think a number of reasons can explain this.

First of all, a rebellion against a long-entrenched party that controlled Congress for almost 40 years.

Second, the personal popularity, and speaking ability of Ronald Reagan.

Third, the optimism and gung-ho spirit of the current president (if not his brilliant use of the English language!)

Fourth, the lack of the Democrats in coming up with a new leader as brilliant and articulate as Bill Clinton, whose place in history would probably be considerably higher but for stupid, self-inflicated wounds.

But I think Americans will come to realize that the looming enormous deficit, created, ironically by a Republican, NOT a Democratic administration, is hurting America, and that the tax laws and social security "fixes" favor the wealthy, not the average citizen.

Also, while America is generally a country of people who are, on average, moderate to slightly conservative, the grasping of power by ultra-conservatives is not what they will want either.
I don't agree with your analysis. I think it has a lot more to do with specific policies and agendas advocated than you acknowledge. That said, I certainly agree with you that Republicans will not be in power long if they are controlled by "ultra conservatives." Nothwithstanding all the whining by the Dems and the asistance they have in the mainstream media, however, I don't think Republican policy is "ultra-conservative." Of course, I don't agree with everything that is done.

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Post by Corlyss_D » Thu May 19, 2005 3:04 pm

diegobueno wrote:Corlyss, all that map shows is that the heavily populated areas of the country voted for Kerry and the sparsely populated areas voted for Bush.
Well, you can think that if you want, but the Dem strategists know what it means.
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Post by Corlyss_D » Fri May 20, 2005 12:38 am

MSNBC.com
Why the battle over filibusters?
The courts are at stake as Democrats try to block confirmation votes on several nominees

By Tom Curry
National affairs writer
MSNBC
Updated: 2:05 p.m. ET May 19, 2005


WASHINGTON - The two Senate leaders, Sen. Harry Reid for the minority and Sen. Bill Frist for the majority, have each thrown down the gauntlet on President Bush’s judicial nominees.

Although negotiations continue to avert what is being referred to as the "nuclear option," Reid says that Democrats will continue to use the filibuster to kill nominations they find unacceptable.

Frist has vowed to change the filibuster rule so that Bush’s nominees can be confirmed by a simple majority of 51 senators. Frist is likely to trigger the showdown on the rules change next Tuesday.

Here’s a guide to the battle.

What is a filibuster?
A filibuster is a device by which a minority of senators, or even one senator, blocks the will of the majority by holding the Senate floor and talking.

This prevents the Senate from coming to a vote on a bill or a nomination. Even the threat of a filibuster can kill a bill or a nomination.

The Senate has a tradition of nearly unlimited debate, but the point of the filibuster is not to allow for more debate on the merits of a nomination or a bill, but to scuttle the nomination or force the majority to make changes in the bill.

In fact, Reid has said he would not accept an offer from Frist to have 100 hours, 200 hours or even more debate on any of Bush’s contested judicial nominees.

How can senators end a filibuster?
Under Rule 22 of the Standing Rules of the Senate, it takes a vote of 60 senators to end debate, or, in Senate parlance, “to invoke cloture.”

This means that 41 senators can stop a nomination from being brought to a vote, effectively killing it.

Is the filibuster mentioned in the Constitution?
No.

The Constitution does say, in Article I, section 5, that “Each House may determine the Rules of its Proceedings,” and the Senate’s rules have long permitted filibusters.

Those rules would also allow the Senate to change how filibusters are conducted or to abolish them.

When did the filibuster become a part of Senate procedures?
According to Congressional Quarterly’s “Congress A to Z,” the first full-fledged filibuster took place in 1841, over the issues of the appointment of an official Senate printer and the establishment of a national bank.

Does the Constitution require more than a simple majority vote for matters other than confirming presidential nominations?
In a few cases, yes, it does.

The Constitution requires a two-thirds Senate vote for ratifying treaties and for convicting an official who has been impeached by the House.

It also requires a two-thirds vote of both the House and the Senate to over-ride a presidential veto of a bill and to propose a constitutional amendment.

But Democrats now consider the 60-vote threshold the de facto super-majority requirement for confirming judicial nominees they deem "out of the mainstream."

Sen. Charles Schumer, D-N.Y., recently argued, "If you appoint a lifetime judge who has huge powers, there ought to at least be a strong leaning that they have some bipartisan support, that they have broader support than just 51-49."

Have there been previous filibusters of judicial nominees?
After a relatively short (four-day) filibuster in 1968, 24 Republican and 19 Democratic senators blocked a vote on President Lyndon Johnson’s nomination of Justice Abe Fortas to be chief justice.

The cloture vote was 45 in favor of ending debate to 43 opposed. Johnson withdrew the nomination after the failed cloture vote.


It is impossible to say with certainty whether the Fortas nomination could ultimately have mustered 51 votes.

The only three current senators who were serving in the body in 1968 (all Democrats) split on the Fortas vote: Sen. Robert Byrd of West Virginia voted to continue the filibuster of Fortas; Sen. Edward Kennedy of Massachusetts and Sen. Daniel Inouye of Hawaii voted to end it.

The Fortas nomination was unusual in its timing: Johnson, a lame duck, had nominated Fortas in June of 1968, only six months before the end of his presidency and the cloture vote did not take place until Oct. 1.

In 1986, Democrats engaged in a three-day debate on the nomination of William Rehnquist to be chief justice. But then-Democratic Leader Byrd denied it was a filibuster. The Senate voted for cloture, 68 to 31, and Rehnquist was confirmed that same day.

How have the Democrats been using the filibuster to block Bush's nominees?
Starting in 2003, the Democrats used filibuster threats to prevent ten of Bush's appeals court nominees from getting confirmation votes.

Democrats have allowed 36 to be confirmed. They have also allowed 172 district court judges (trial judges) to be confirmed.

Appeals court judges are the ones at stake since it is they who make far-reaching constitutional rulings, many of which never make it to the Supreme Court docket.

Image

Why are Democrats using the filibuster?
Because they lack the votes to defeat Bush's nominees on a straight up-or-down vote.

Since Bush became president in 2001, Democratic senators have been unable to defeat any of his nominees on a simple majority vote.

With the number of Democratic senators having fallen from 56 in 1992 to 44 today, the filibuster is the only way for Democratic senators to block nominees of Republican presidents. Since federal judges have growing power over everything from same-sex marriage to regulation of land use, the stakes are very high.

And with at least one Supreme Court vacancy likely this summer, the Democrats see an even more compelling reason to hold on to the filibuster.

Were the Democrats' filibusters in 2003 and 2004 different from the Fortas and Rehnquist filibusters?

Yes, they were.

Prior to 2003, the Senate had never before had a series of cloture votes over two years, on ten different appeals court nominees, which blocked the nominees from having confirmation votes.

Also, the opposition to Fortas was bipartisan, while the opposition to Bush's nominees has been purely Democratic.

The only current Democratic senators to vote against the filibusters of Bush nominees are Sen. Ben Nelson of Nebraska and — on the nomination of Miguel Estrada — Sen. Bill Nelson of Florida.

How does Frist propose to change the filibuster?
He has already proposed a permanent change in Senate rules allowing for successively lower thresholds on successive cloture votes on a nomination, from 60 to 57 to 54 to 51.

But such a permanent change requires the support of 67 senators.

If Frist can not get enough support for that rules change, he will bring appeals court nominees Priscilla Owen and Janice Rogers Brown to the Senate floor for votes.


If Democrats filibuster those nominations, Frist would raise a point of order that any further debate was dilatory and not in order.

The presiding officer, Vice President Dick Cheney, would sustain the point of order, then submit the matter to the Senate for its decision.

A point of order is not debatable, therefore it can’t be filibustered.

If Frist has his votes correctly estimated, the Senate would then vote by a simple majority to sustain the point of order, debate would end, and the Senate would proceed to the vote on the pending nomination.

There is precedent for such a rule change: on Feb. 20, 1975, by a vote of 51 to 42, the Senate lowered the threshold for ending a filibuster from two-thirds of those senators present (67 if all 100 were in the chamber) to 60 senators.

Would Frist’s proposed change apply to bills or only to nominations?
Only to nominations.

In the past have Republicans used the filibuster to delay or defeat judicial nominees?
When Bill Clinton was president and Republicans had a Senate majority, from 1995 to 2000, they used non-filibuster delaying tactics such as anonymous holds — a device for a senator to prevent a nomination from reaching the Senate floor.

In many cases, they simply never held Judiciary Committee hearings to consider certain nominees, effectively blocking them from getting an up-or-down vote.

Despite the opposition of then-Majority Leader Trent Lott, a few GOP senators including Sen. Bob Smith of New Hampshire, did try to use filibusters to scuttle Clinton appeals court nominees Richard Paez and Marsha Berzon.

Smith was unapologetic: "Don't tell me we haven't filibustered judges and that we don't have the right to filibuster judges on the floor of the Senate. Of course we do. That is our constitutional role," Smith declared on March 7, 2000.

Smith justified his filibuster by citing the cases of President George H.W. Bush’s judicial nominees Kenneth Ryskamp and Lillian BeVier, whose nominations died in 1992, the final year of Bush's term, due to Democratic foot-dragging.

Eventually 40 Republicans joined with 45 Democrats to stop Smith’s filibuster and both Paez and Berzon won their confirmation votes.

How has Bush counteracted the Democrats’ filibusters of his nominees?
Using his power under Article Two, section 2 of the Constitution, Bush made two recess appointments to the federal bench: William Pryor, whose recess appointment expires at the end of this year and Charles Pickering, who retired last year.

© 2005 MSNBC Interactive
© 2005 MSNBC.com

URL: http://msnbc.msn.com/id/7329528/
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Post by Corlyss_D » Fri May 20, 2005 12:57 am

Werner wrote:Corlyss, you write so well, I'd love to agree with you. But you never give me a chance, do you?
Not on politics, Werner. You agreeing with me would make me doubt my perception of reality.
As to that long quote you posted on the judidial noinations, I note that it cited statistics as of Memorial Day 2002. We are approaching Memorial Day 2005. Any change?
Probably. I couldn't lay my hands on stats as readily. This article did a good job of context-setting very succinctly for a law review note. Besides, the percentages make a more impressive tale than raw numbers.
Or do we believe in being behind the times, especially if it suits our argument?
Werner! You know I don't fight like that.
The result was the arrogance of the "winner."
I haven't denied the Republican leadership is growing arrogant. I've quoted Newtie's lectures to Hastert and Delay a couple of times. However, even arrogant people can be right sometimes. This is one of those cases.
I agree that the Democrats must find their way to an "electable"platform.
I'm content to let them wander in the wilderness for another 50 years. They made this bed, where they lionize anti-American idiots, seek to identify with European internationalists and cosmopolitans, couldn't find a coherent defense policy if their lives depended on it, and whore after every will-o'-the-wisp Victocrat clamor for rights in hopes of finding yet another large group to set up on the plantation of endless entitlements. They can sleep in it for a while longer.
Sometimes that is brought about by their internal development (does anyone want to say "evolutinon?")
Good luck with that! They despise and revile the ideas that have helped to make the poor middle class and the middle class rich. More to the point, the despise and revile the people who now hold those ideas. They can't bring themselves to walk the walk of defense or talk the talk of personal freedom and economic opportunity. It will be very amusing to watch them try for many years to come.

Yes, it's possible for the Republicans to screw up and deliver one house to the Dems. Possible. Not probable.
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Post by Corlyss_D » Fri May 20, 2005 1:01 am

Donald Isler wrote:Otherwise, their political and economic policies are cheap, selfish, nasty, divisive, and not in favor of the average American.
You got any facts to support this contention or you just blowing Democratic smoke?
And Americans will gradually come to see this, and take action with their votes.
Don't hold your breath. Americans finally roused themselves from their 40 year socialist/statist dream when they elected Reagan. Ain't no goin' back to their torpor.
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Post by Kevin R » Fri May 20, 2005 1:46 am

Donald Isler wrote:Otherwise, their political and economic policies are cheap, selfish, nasty, divisive, and not in favor of the average American. And Americans will gradually come to see this, and take action with their votes.
That belief has been articulated in the US since Reagan's victory in 1980. One day (it is assumed) the Republicans will be turned out of power, because the average downtrodden citizen will have had enough. After 1984, 1988, 1994, 2000, 2002 and now 2004, the left has predicted the demise of the GOP. Yet, since 1980, the House has become solidly GOP, the Senate solidly GOP (if not filibuster proof) and the White House (and this was the case even before 1980) has become solidly GOP.

And the problem with the class warfare argument is that it is demonstrably false. Those at the bottom have done very well under Republican stewardship. Class simply is no longer a meaningful concept (except for historical analysis) when discussing political/social/economic trends. I don't see the Dems (especially considering the changing demographics and the electoral map) gaining political control (with the occasional exception of the White House) any time soon.
"Free trade, one of the greatest blessings which a government can confer on a people, is in almost every country unpopular."

-Thomas Macaulay

Ted

Post by Ted » Fri May 20, 2005 7:55 am

I haven’t a clue as to what the final vote will be.
If a few Republicans vote their conscience,, the proposal could be voted down
If not, there will be backlash against the arrogant and fear driven Republicans starting with next year’s elections

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Post by Dennis Spath » Fri May 20, 2005 10:27 am

After reading through this entire thread, Corlyss, I've come to the conclusion you believe "Majority Rule" is the essence of Democracy in America. And you seem to have all the Right Wing talking points down pat when it comes to Advice and Consent. I suspect, though, that you would be far less enamoured of Majority Rule if the Democrats were in control. Is that a fair statement??
It's good to be back among friends from the past.

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Post by Corlyss_D » Fri May 20, 2005 8:12 pm

But they aren't, are they, Dennis.
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Post by Corlyss_D » Fri May 20, 2005 8:17 pm

Rumor has it that Lieberman, Pryor, Lincoln, and Ben Nelson are going to break with Reid on Bolton. Love those red state blue Senators.
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Post by Werner » Fri May 20, 2005 9:58 pm

As the song goes: "Just you Wat!"
Werner Isler

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Post by Corlyss_D » Sat May 21, 2005 2:34 am

Ted wrote:If not, there will be backlash against the arrogant and fear driven Republicans starting with next year’s elections
Care to engage in a small wager on that?
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Post by Ralph » Sat May 21, 2005 5:06 am

Corlyss_D wrote:
Ted wrote:If not, there will be backlash against the arrogant and fear driven Republicans starting with next year’s elections
Care to engage in a small wager on that?
*****

Is gambling now a feature of this board?
Image

"Only two things are infinite, the universe and human stupidity, and I'm not sure about the former."

Albert Einstein

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Post by Corlyss_D » Sat May 21, 2005 2:26 pm

Ralph wrote: Is gambling now a feature of this board?
Not per se.
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Ted

Post by Ted » Sun May 22, 2005 4:37 pm

Ted wrote:
Quote:
I can't imagine where you got that idea.

Seriously CD
I sincerely thought that you were “against changing the rules in the middle of the game” as I put it to you.
CD Wrote
Okay. I owe you an explanation. I wish I could think of one. I've wracked my brain and I simply don't remember the context "changing the rules in the middle of the game." Truly I don't. But it sounds like something I would agree with. Can you give me some more details, maybe a link (cuz I'm sure I said it here), show me the surveillance tape? I'm drawing a blank.
And here it is, your own words that is
Corlyss wrote: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?

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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Cheers Utah

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Post by Corlyss_D » Sun May 22, 2005 4:58 pm

Thanks for finding it, Ted. No wonder it didn't ring a bell. Here's the entire discussion in which the comments originate:
Ted wrote:The Republicans are constantly pontificating about the pitfalls of Big Government
Corlyss wrote: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.
Ted wrote: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.
Corlyss wrote: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.
Ted wrote: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.
Corlyss wrote: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?
Sometimes context is important. I was defending the right of the majority to end the filibuster at the same time I was denouncing the Republicans drifting away from their principled devotion to smaller government. My idea when talking about "abandoning their principles wholesale" referred to their smaller government roots, not to the filibuster. You may have been talking exclusively about the filibuster. I wasn't. I didn't then and do not now equate devotion to smaller government with the existence of the filibuster.
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Ted

Post by Ted » Sun May 22, 2005 5:37 pm

How much of the debates have you seen on C-SPAN?

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Post by Corlyss_D » Sun May 22, 2005 5:48 pm

Ted wrote:How much of the debates have you seen on C-SPAN?
On the filibuster? None. Wake me when it's time for the vote. On the Bolton nomination, 1.5 hrs worth. Why?
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Ted

Post by Ted » Sun May 22, 2005 6:25 pm

Why?
First of all it’s great theater—especially whenever Byrd gets into the act.
But more telling (to these senses anyway) is the difference between the Repubs and the Dems and I’m talking presentation more than anything else
There is a definite and palpable sort of arrogant, mean spiritedness that emanates from virtually every GOP senator I’ve seen.
Even in contrast to Kennedy when he starts screaming (and he does) there is a condescending ambiance to Senators like Phil Gramm who looks as if he would have me hung for my Beatle-ish hair.
Of course my perceptions are prejudiced by political and ideological differences, but even so, the current slate of Republican senators come off as a bunch of uptight people (Rick Santorum is another example)
Just a shallow minded observation from yours truly
t

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Post by Corlyss_D » Sun May 22, 2005 6:36 pm

Ted wrote:
Why?
First of all it’s great theater—especially whenever Byrd gets into the act.
But more telling (to these senses anyway) is the difference between the Repubs and the Dems and I’m talking presentation more than anything else
There is a definite and palpable sort of arrogant, mean spiritedness that emanates from virtually every GOP senator I’ve seen.
Even in contrast to Kennedy when he starts screaming (and he does) there is a condescending ambiance to Senators like Phil Gramm who looks as if he would have me hung for my Beatle-ish hair.
Of course my perceptions are prejudiced by political and ideological differences, but even so, the current slate of Republican senators come off as a bunch of uptight people (Rick Santorum is another example)
Just a shallow minded observation from yours truly
t
Oh, it's not shallow at all. I think the original meaning of 'bloviating' was 'debate on the floor of the US Senate.' I haven't been able to stand it for years! Watching it makes me want to engineer a constitutional amendment to abolish the Senate. Excessive rhetoric, bombastic exaggeration, phony solemnity, stilted empty courtesy, egotism writ large. I hate it. I started watching in the early days of the Clinton administration. I stopped watching it in the late days of the government shutdown in 1995. If theatre were all about and only about rhetoric it might be a great show. But at some point they have to do something, not just stand in the way. I much prefer the committee hearings. I have even attended a couple in my time. Much more interesting. You get the same rhetoric but with more push and pull, IMO.
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Post by Dennis Spath » Sun May 22, 2005 9:50 pm

Ted's mention of Phil Gramm is most pertinent to this whole issue of blocking Judicial nominees by way of filibuster. Phil Gramm made that process totally irrelevent with his deft use of the Blue Slip, which blocked Judicial nominees in Committee until it was withdrawn. Most often the President would get the word that "It ain't gonna happen", and the nomination would be withdrawn. Another tactic went like this: "O.K. Mr. President, if you'll jest nominate my friend, Mr. X, I'll withdraw my Blue Slip and let you have this one".
It's good to be back among friends from the past.

Ted

Post by Ted » Mon May 23, 2005 8:26 pm

At Last some sane news from the Senate

http://apnews.myway.com/article/20050524/D8A97LBG0.html

Senators Avert Showdown Over Filibusters
Email this Story

May 23, 8:51 PM (ET)

By DAVID ESPO

WASHINGTON (AP) - In a dramatic reach across party lines, Senate centrists agreed Monday night on a compromise that clears the way for confirmation of many of President Bush's stalled judicial nominees, leaves others in limbo and preserves venerable filibuster rules.

"In a Senate that is increasingly polarized, the bipartisan center held," said Sen. Joseph Lieberman, D-Conn., one of 14 senators _seven from each party - to sign the agreement that pledged lawmakers to "mutual trust and confidence."

"The Senate is back in business," echoed Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C..

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Post by Corlyss_D » Mon May 23, 2005 8:45 pm

Ted wrote:At Last some sane news from the Senate

http://apnews.myway.com/article/20050524/D8A97LBG0.html

Senators Avert Showdown Over Filibusters
Ted, picture me storming around the house, looking for a thick phone book to tear up. The Logan/Cache Valley one is so small it don't do . . .
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Ted

Post by Ted » Mon May 23, 2005 8:49 pm

Ted, picture me storming around the house, looking for a thick phone book to tear up
That’s my everyday vision of you.

:roll:

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