THANKS AND NO THANKS
Re: George Neumayr’s Tyranny of the Moderates:
— Ruth Skidmore
I don’t get it. From George Neumayr to George Will, and beyond, all except one (Lisa Fabrizio) of the conservative pundits I admire most seem not to recognize the massive win for the President engineered by people such as Senators Graham, DeWine and Warner. (I don’t count McCain, Chafee, Snowe, or Collins because I doubt they’re smart enough to know what they’ve done to their fellow liberals across the isle — nor is their vote necessary to get the President’s judicial nominees confirmed, or the rest of his agenda enacted.)
The truth of the matter is that every single one of the President’s pending judicial nominees will now almost certainly get an up or down vote; and all will likely be confirmed. This will occur simply by Senator Frist calling each nomination to the floor for a vote, letting the leftists rant a couple days, calling for and getting cloture, and then counting the votes. End of story.
No nominee will have been thrown overboard, nor will any future nominee likely be defeated without an up or down vote because that would require three of the seven Democrat signatories of the deal to join a filibuster, which they are unlikely to do because, as Senator Graham said, the three nominees they have specifically certified as not “extraordinary” in the “circumstances” sense are less (or is it more?) not “extraordinary” than the other five pending. Thus, the seven Democrats (with the possible exception of Klansman Byrd) cannot and will not now permit a filibuster of any of these other five. And, for these very same reasons, a filibuster of any future judicial nominees during this Congress is very unlikely.
The tactic was brilliant, not only because all the President’s judicial nominees will now almost certainly get up or down votes, but because the leftists in the Senate have been rendered far less likely to filibuster anything else — John Bolton’s nomination, Social Security reform, etc. Effectively, the radical, Democrat senators have been neutered for this Congress and probably far beyond because, without the filibuster, all they have left are their normal empty rhetoric, lies, invective, and character assassination. That will no longer be enough to accomplish anything except, perhaps, to recruit a “useful idiot” such as a sniveling Senator Voinovich.
Graham, DeWine, and Graham are geniuses and they should be hailed as champions, not vilified as traitors.
— A. A. Reynolds
Chula Vista, California
I heartily commend your opinion piece in today’s American Spectator.
I must, however, ask this question. Are not ALL members of the Senate de facto “elitists”? I do not recall a single Senate campaign that was not dominated by individuals whose net worth exceeded many small countries. I cannot recall when a Senator declined the luxurious office space afforded them on Capitol Hill. I cannot recall when a Senator refused gold-plated health care, limos, or the other perks afforded them by legislative fiat.
It is my firm belief the Senate acts more like a House of Lords. Your comparison to the College of Cardinals is both apt and cogent.
— Terry Dexter
Pittsboro, North Carolina
“We have kept the Republic.” Respectfully, that’s tripe. The Senate won. It betrayed us. We the people, our Constitution and our democracy lost.
So we now have rule by judges and rule by 14 Senate elitists — all who couldn’t seem to keep themselves from self-aggrandizing, dissembling rhetoric and getting face-time in front of a camera — who’ve chosen to turn their backs on our trust in them to govern on our behalf?
This governance situation is out of control and far beyond being unacceptable. It is tyranny and it is un-American. It must stop.
— C. Kenna Amos Jr.
Princeton, West Virginia
How come no one mentions Ruth Bader Ginsburg when speaking of, “out of the mainstream” judges. Why don’t we recall her?
— Virginia C. Powers
I’ve had enough of Senator McCain. I’ve had enough of his arrogance, his bitterness, and his ego. I’ve had enough of his grandstanding and his love of the media spotlight. But most of all, I’ve had enough of his betrayal. The useless, idiotic “McCain-Feingold” (which brought us George Soros) was bad enough. His latest act is beyond the pale. His orchestration of this so-called “deal” on Judges is a sham, done for the sole purpose of elevating Senator McCain, his Party, the people, and the Constitution be damned.
If the Republican Party has any guts left, they will find a way to level punitive action McCain. The worst thing that could possibly happen is that he bolts the party and becomes an independent, or (gasp!), a Democrat. The latter would be preferable, as I would enjoy watching Madame Clinton’s attack-dogs (and the media, his “friends”) chew him up and spit him out in ’08 (and there’s lots of grist for that mill). Either way, if McCain’s most recent betrayal goes unpunished, the Republicans might as well throw in the towel, and cede control to the Minority, who apparently want the job more than they do.
— Gavin Valle
Peapack, New Jersey
I was trying to figure out how “Benedict Arnold” Voinovich was not one of the 7 RINO-Wimps. Then I heard the girlie-man lost an arm-wrestling contest with Susan Collins (two out of three, no less) for the seventh spot. Senator Collin’s victory was a bit tainted, since every time she pinned Georgie-Girl, his eyes were blinded by tears.
If Voinovich has any value, it’s his head. Not the vacuum between his ears, but the fact his head helps the Republicans keep the chairmanships of all the Senate committees!
— Robert Auskalnis
SOLITAIRE WITH 51?
Re: Gene Healy’s Nuclear Climbdown:
After reading Gene Healy’s unrealistic “Nuclear Climbdown,” I had to wonder whether the Cato Institute is a drug-free workplace.
Asking whether a future Democratic majority might call to abolish the filibuster, he weakly replies, “It’s entirely possible.” Hello? A better answer would have been, “In a skinny minute.” As countless observers have pointed out, Senator Byrd, the New York Times, et al., have already done precisely that during previous Democratic majorities. If Mr. Healy believes that a future Democratic Senate will hesitate to sweep aside a Republican filibuster, he lives in a fantasy world of elves and unicorns.
Similarly, on the question of whether the Constitution’s short list of issues requiring supermajorities implies that the filibuster might be unconstitutional when applied to other types of legislation, the best Mr. Healy can do is call it “a time-honored practice.” Drivel. The “time-honored practice” was to allow votes on judicial nominees, so it’s obvious how much deference the Democrats hold for tradition.
As for recommending that conservatives should “hope the deal sticks,” yeah, right. And we should hope to win the lottery, too. The odds are similar.
Mr. Healy then goes on with, “Too often in recent years, the GOP has behaved as if it can’t imagine itself out of power.” On the contrary, the evidence shows that the GOP still does not comprehend that it is IN power. Consider the anti-conservative blunders that Republicans have perpetrated since President Reagan left office: The Family and Medical Leave Act, Sarbanes-Oxley, McCain-Feingold, the dwindling military, the expansion of Medicare, and exploding federal expenditures. These are desperate panders to liberals, not the limited-government policies of a confident GOP representing its constituency.
The filibuster defeat was another surrender by delusional Republicans who don’t understand that joining the Democrats is NOT what they were elected to do. Mr. Healy’s defense of such capitulation indicates he doesn’t get it either.
— Jim Bono
Ah, I spy… someone… I spy someone who… I spy someone who thinks… I spy someone who thinks way too hard… is what I see…
Mr. Gene Healy’s CATO Institute affiliation reminds me of something that someone said to me about politics in years past… “To be a Libertarian is to never actually be required to deal with victory.” Sorry, sir, but you are seriously mistaken. There is no benefit to the Conservative cause by this craven surrender by the Seven Dwarves. (The McCain Bootlicks, perhaps.) They subverted their elected leader. Actually, they performed back surgery on Dr. Frist, with a dull chef’s knife… Not only have these seven (Wow, McCain did 2 better than the Keating 5 on this one) betrayed their leadership at a critical time, they betrayed the President who could do nothing but sit on the sidelines and squeeze his stress ball. Of course the Spirit of McCain 2000 does not escape me, and cold revenge is not beyond John McCain by any stretch of the imagination.
John Warner is merely pathetic. His loyalty level is already bouncing on E. This move has sealed his fate. He will be known as the tragic mistake of 1978 that the Virginia GOP could never erase, no matter how hard it tried. He sure has the hair and suits of a great Senator… too bad nothing else about his person goes with the job description, however.
I suspect that South Carolina will deal with Senator Graham, who seems to have consistently drifted left, as time and memories of Clintoon Impeachment fights fade. I would hope that my Conservative brethren in South Carolina make sure that they unhorse him in the run-up to his re-election bid. There are many solid statewide Conservatives in South Carolina that would be more than happy to take the trip up I-95 to Washington. I hope that Mr. Graham’s first term is his last.
Ultimately, however, this fight must be about whether or not the Republican Party is going to act like a majority party. Will it accept the mantle of power, and use the opportunity to correct the course of an out of control judiciary. Will it clean house in the Senate? Will it help set the ship of state back on the original course plotted by the founders? Will it do what we hired it to do?
We will see if Dr. Frist has the courage to move all judicial (and see what caving in gets you, the Dems have started a filibuster on the Bolton nomination — and bald faced lie about it) to the floor for a vote. I do think that it is time for him to pull the Republican caucus into the back room, read it the riot act, firm up his majority support. He then needs to go to at least two of the Dwarves, and remind them that their committee “responsibilities” are up to the majority of the Republican caucus, and no Senator is actually “due” any assignments at all… I suspect that separating John Warner from his cherished Chairmanship might move him to reconsider his Neville Chamberlain act.
It is time to end the non-legislative filibuster, now and forever. It is an unconstitutional action, and deserves to be buried.
Oh, Mr. Healy… one more thing… the strategy of keeping non-judicial filibusters because you might need to use them in the future, against a Dem President, and Dem Senate… is the strategy of losers. Which ties neatly together with my opening statement about Libertarians.
We need to win, and lead.
Remember you can’t play if you don’t win.
— John W. Schneider, III
Mr. Healy quotes Farhad Manjoo as saying, “imagine having 52 Democratic senators one day, a Democratic president, and the chance to nominate a real liberal to the Supreme Court. And imagine, too, the Republicans not having any power to stop you. It’s a delicious thought.”
Sir, how naive can you be? Do you think for an instant that, given the majority, the Democrats will hesitate to abolish the filibuster the first time it’s to their advantage to do so? (They’ve already done it under Robert “Sheets” Byrd, on four separate occasions.) And do you think the Republicans in the Senate will have the backbone to do anything about it?
Further, Mr. Manjoo, again in the quote you attribute to him, refers to “a real liberal.” Who the hell do you think Ruth Bader Ginsburg is? And “stop” it!? Geez! Not only did the Republicans not attempt to stop it, they voted for her. You know, much of the time I agree with libertarians wholeheartedly, but then sometimes I think you guys are playin’ solitaire with a short deck.
Republican politicians need to be more concerned with the anger of their base, and not whether they might hurt a few Democrats’ feelings occasionally. After this latest example of spinelessness, the day of having those 52 Democratic senators is closer than ever. Where is Lee Atwater when you need him?
— Tim Jones
While Mr. Healy makes some excellent points, his assertion that changing the rules in mid-game may do serious damage to the Senate is puzzling, especially so with the tenor that Republicans should fear Democrats’ return to power and what that’ll do.
We’re in the fifth consecutive year of Democrat obstructionism. Republicans allow that through their wimpy, inept governance. Essentially, Democrats run the government through their obstinacy and Republicans’ impotence.
So, when, pray tell, is a good time to challenge that obstructionism? When the Republicans are no longer in power? Is that when they’ll have the liberty to be stronger?
If something doesn’t change, the benches will be empty because no one can be confirmed. “Under extraordinary circumstances” is the pact’s Achilles heel and the Democrats are just the ones to bite it. Surely Mr. Healy understands that.
— C. Kenna Amos Jr.
Princeton, West Virginia
Mr. Healy, my sincere thanks for injecting a little common sense into this debate. The libertarian style conservatives (both of us) appreciate your efforts. We can always count on our friends at Cato for a sane and rational view of what conservatism used to be before being co-opted by the evangelical community. Congressional Republicans, drunk with power and beholden to the religious right, have now failed in the Schiavo case, FMA (so far), the filibuster and Social Security reform. Time for the moderates to re-take the Republican Party and begin working on meaningful legislation and leave the social issues alone lest we be led by another Clinton in 2008.
— Ben Berry
Mr. Healy, With all due respect, you don’t get it at all. Article II Sec. 2 is clear. A simple majority is all that the Constitution requires for the confirmation of judicial nominees. It has been my contention that an arcane Senate rule on cloture to end debate does not supersede the Constitution. Hence, the filibustering of judges is an Unconstitutional act. I believe the Senate parliamentarian would agree. Your argument as to filibustering legislation is specious. Nowhere in the Constitution is the right to any piece of legislation articulated. Other than the few exemptions congress has carved out, legislation is subject to the filibuster under the rules. If you can find the specific Constitutional section that guarantees individual legislation, please let us all know. Your in good company however, the “Gang of 14” doesn’t understand the Constitution either.
— Anthony F. DiPentima
Ruth Ginsburg isn’t a real liberal? Then who is?
— Ron Ramsay
FIGHT ANOTHER DAY
Re: R. Emmett Tyrrell’s The Activist Fallacy:
“The battle royal will come when the President nominates (Supreme Court Chief Justice) Rehnquist’s successor. The Democrats will be even more desperate and their character assassination of the President’s nominee will be even more reckless and damaging to the nominee and to the court.” Absolutely.
Respectfully, anyone who doesn’t see that — and that the Gang of 14’s pact will fail immediately because it’s “under extraordinary circumstances” clause is its structural flaw Democrats will use to obstruct every one of the president’s Supreme nominees — is not just a fool, but is… well, they’re just foolish.
— C. Kenna Amos Jr.
Princeton, West Virginia
Re: Ralph R. Reiland’s The New York Marxist:
Mr. Reiland’s deconstructing of the hidden Marxism of the N.Y. Times is one of the best articles I’ve ever read on your site, and that is really saying something. The always excellent writing in The American Spectator guarantees a daily visit from me.
One can only wonder about what hovels these N.Y. Times authors force their own children to live in; what medical attention they deny them; what mind deadening “culture” they subject them to, all in order to ensure that their own children do not obtain some unfair advantage. I’d like to hear the details.
The crumbling of the left continues apace. I hope my (yet unborn) grandchildren will have to learn about such dopes only from history books. Written by the winners on our side, of course.
— Jessica O’Connor
Bayonne, New Jersey
“Only 37 members of last year’s Forbes 400, a list of the richest Americans, inherited their wealth, down from almost 200 in the mid-1980s.”
I don’t know if the Sulzbergers are in the Forbes 400, but if so, they have to be among those 37. No Sulzberger now living earned their wealth; they’ve been coasting since the 19th century.
So, let’s pay attention when the Times talks about the evils of class….these guys know from whence they speak!
— Greg Richards
THE HOMOSEXUALITY CANARD
Re: Pat diFide’s letter (under “Wheat From Jesuits”) in Reader Mail’s Deal Busters:
Mr. diFide’s letter contains numerous false, but popular sentiments. First, his statement regarding the fictional story “…the priest-president of his college had personally introduced him into the practice of homosexuality”. He makes it sound like chess or cooking. People are not “introduced” into the practice of homosexuality anymore than they are introduced into the practice of heterosexuality. That “fictional” story sounds like a Catholic urban legend and it makes me wonder how Jesus would feel about spreading unsubstantiated rumors simply because it suits your agenda.
Second, the conservative factions of the Catholic Church (Opus Dei) have taken to equating pedophile priests with homosexuality thereby giving a free pass to all of the heterosexual bad behavior in the church. A good example of this is Mr. diFide statement “due to homosexual scandals and lawsuits.” Is he giving a pass to all of the other bad behavior in the Catholic Church? Although not widely reported in the MSM, there has been a lot of heterosexual pedophilia and plenty of heterosexual sex between priests and female parishioners. Most experts believe that the Catholic Church needs to address to underlying issue with priests, namely, marriage and celibacy to deal with all of these issues.
This issue is starting to look a lot like the gay marriage debate in that instead of dealing with the real issues of the abject failure of heterosexual marriage and the pederast priest scandal, it is easier to just blame everything on the homosexual community. As the church lady (of SNL fame) would say, “Well, isn’t that special”!
— Ben Berry
In the light of Dr. Berejan’s comments about the harvesting of prisoners’ organs, and Ms. Amos’s observations about the sci-fi nature of our current debate (both responding to Mr. Neumayr’s precise evisceration of the elevated moral position of Michael Kinsley), I would recommend to them Larry Niven’s prescient 1967 story “The Jigsaw Man,” which I believe is available in the first Dangerous Visions anthology. No doubt Mr. Kinsley has far more Serious Intellectual Things to do than read any pop genre of fiction…
— Nina Smith
Mr. Mirvish’s idea rang a bell. In the early 1980’s, the Army convened a board to consider the role of Women in the Army, nicknamed the WITA Board. An up and coming young Brigadier General-designate (Colonel on the promotion list) headed it. They came up with what I have always considered to be the most rational, fair and simple solution to this question I have ever encountered. All MOS’s (Military Occupational Specialties) would be classified as either heavy, regular or light lift. If you enlisted for a heavy specialty, you would have to demonstrate your ability to be trained up to the necessary standard before being sworn in. This would be accomplished by the use of a device that measured your ability to lift a certain weight. The weight you would have to lift would not be the final weight required when you finished training; it would be a lesser weight that would indicate that, after basic training and AIT (Advanced Individual Training) you would most likely be capable of performing the tasks necessary to your job.
It never went anywhere. DACOWITS screamed bloody murder (disparate outcome, don’t you know), and the Army leadership caved. The WITA director saw the handwriting on the wall and retired from his next assignment. The moral, Mr. Mirvish, is that logic, rationality, common sense, call it what you will, is useless in this battle. It will take widespread bloodshed and/or uncommon fortitude in the Executive to overcome the current insanity.
— Patrick R. Glass, LTC, USA (Ret.)