It seems the Democrats have forgotten the old adage that those who refuse to learn from history are doomed to repeat it, and the history they are now scorning is very recent – it goes back to election day 2004, when Tom Daschle, the exalted Senate Minority Leader lost his seat in the upper body.
Have they forgotten why he lost? Has it vanished from their memory that the voters in South Dakota were disgusted by the role he played as the obstructionist-in-chief who wouldn’t allow the majority to rule in the matter of the president’s judicial nominations?
I guess it has, because his successor as Senate Minority Leader, Nevada’s Harry Reid, has stepped into his shoes and pledged himself to lift high the banner of obstructionism and lead his shrinking contingent of Democrats in the Senate even deeper into an arid electoral desert where the bones of his former Democrat colleagues lie bleaching in the sun.
And there’s even more evidence of the existence of a Democrat death wish. Poor Senator Reid is issuing dire warnings that if the Republican majority changes Senate rules to dare to allow judicial nominees to have an up or down vote on their conformations, as the Constitution demands, he and his suicidal Democrat colleagues will take it out on the American people by bringing the people’s business grinding to a halt.
This is wonderful news for the Republican party. As the Daschle case demonstrates, that’s a sure ticket for the defeat of scads of Democrats in the 2006 congressional elections and a sure death warrant for the Democrat party as it is today.
Reid claims that changing the Senate rules governing filibusters only as they relate to judicial nominations somehow violates the Constitution. That is just plain garbage – and he knows it. The Constitution dictates that the Senate “advise and consent” on nominees. They do that by voting yes or no on a nominee’s confirmation.
What was going on under Daschle’s leadership was a flat refusal to allow the full Senate to vote on judicial nominations the dominant left wing of the Democrat party and their liberal allies didn’t like, and he did it by threatening to filibuster their nominations. It would have taken 60 votes to close off a filibuster and as a result some of the president’s choices for judgeships were denied a vote; in all cases they would have won a majority of votes leading to their confirmation.
Now Harry Reid has made it clear that if the rules are changed, allowing nominees to have their appointments to the judiciary subjected to a majority vote, he would in effect shut the Senate down.
In other words nothing has changed. We might just as well have Tom Daschle back – at least he was better looking than poor wimpy old Harry Reid.
Reid says that changing the rules somehow tramples on the rights of the minority, ignoring the fact that the rules have been changed many times in our past. As Sen. John Cornyn has noted, West Virginia’s Democrat Sen. Robert Byrd changed the filibuster rules four times over 20 years. Moreover, the rule change now known as the “nuclear option” doesn’t eliminate debate on judicial nominations – it simply prevents a mere 40 Senators to extend the debate until the other side gives up.
Reid claims that President Bush and the Republican leadership want to eliminate a two-hundred-year-old American rule saying that every member of the Senate can rise to say their piece and speak on behalf of the people that sent them here, but that is not the case. Every senator can have his or her say, and then vote on it. Reid doesn’t mind letting them talk, he just doesn’t want them to have the right to voice their opinions by voting.
The American people are not stupid, they know a con game when they see one, and if Reid and his fellow obstructionists keep it up, it won’t be long before you’ll have to hire a private detective to find a Democrat on Capitol Hill.
As the song goes, “Wouldn’t it be luverly?”
©2005 Mike Reagan. You must contact us if you would like to print this column in your publication or post on the internet. Mike’s column is distributed exclusively by: Cagle Cartoons, Inc. Cari Dawson Bartley Cari@cagle.com, (800) 696-7561