Why I Hate Political Parties

First, this news (h/t Election Law):

The battle to reauthorize the Voting Rights Act (VRA) has shifted from the halls of Congress to the courts.Conservative activists and at least one congressional Republican are poised to legally challenge a controversial provision of the VRA measure, picking up where the intense debate left off after President Bush signed it into law this summer.

Conservative activists, led by a leading scholar at the American Enterprise Institute (AEI), plan on filing several lawsuits in various federal courts, all centered on Section 5 of the VRA. Congressional Republicans will also play an active role in the litigation, signaling their intent to use the courts to win a battle they lost on Capitol Hill.

Wait a minute, I thought going to court to win battles lost in legislatures was anti-democratic and the cause of all of this county’s problems? Oh, I understand, it’s only wrong when the other party does it.

And to make the hypocracy even more specific, the one Republican on record in support of the the lawsuit is none other than Lynn Westmoreland. That’s the same guy who sponsored more than one law that would allow government displays of ten commandments monuments (though he can’t name even half of the commands) because “judicial activists” are trying to destroy America.

No word on whether Alabama’s anti-VRA representatives will join in one of the lawsuits.

Second, I’m sure you’ve already seen this, but consider these quotes.

First:

If the Government of the United States can through, quote-unquote, good faith tap our phones and intrude into our lives, they violate our constitutional liberties, and that is something that we should not tolerate, and that is in section 305 and section 307. The FBI can gain access to individual phone billing records without a subpoena or a court order. Once again I believe that infringes upon our constitutional rights and liberties, and while we are trying to deal with terrorism, and we should, we should not violate our constitutional rights and liberties, and I believe this bill in its present form does.

Second:

I oppose this provision that could expand emergency wiretap authority to permit the Government to begin a wiretap prior to obtaining court approval in a greater range of cases than the law presently allows. I personally find this proposal troubling. I am concerned that this provision, if enacted, would unnecessarily broaden emergency wiretap authority. Under current law, such authority exists when life is in danger, when the national security is threatened, or when an organized crime conspiracy is involved. In the real world, we do not need this amendment to get emergency wiretap authority, and that is a fact.

Third:

our society remains vulnerable to terrorism. Unfortunately, terrorism is a fact of life. In response to recent events, a series of proposals were offered to solve the problem–some with merit, and some that could cause more problems than they might solve by cutting deeply–and unnecessarily–into the constitutional freedoms of American citizens. I include in that category certain proposals for expanded wiretapping authority for Federal law enforcement. This is a dangerous proposition–and one that would be ceding victory to terrorists, whose goal is to disrupt our society, create anxiety and constrain our freedoms. That’s the way terrorism attacks a free open society.

Fourth:

Mr. Speaker, I rise in strong opposition to the bill, and on behalf of a constituent whose daughter was lost in TWA flight 800, because this bill is an outrage and a disgrace to that family, and an outrage and a disgrace to this body.

This bill should include both taggants and enhanced wiretapping provisions. Instead, it has neither. Law enforcement has repeatedly asked for these critical tools to combat terrorism. Yet this Congress has repeatedly denied them.

When, Mr. Speaker, when are we going to say enough is enough? How many bombs have to go off? How many daughters do we have to lose? How many Americans have to die before the [other party] leadership will give us a tough antiterrorism bill?

Once again we had an opportunity today to protect Americans from terrorism, and once again the [other party] leadership took its marching orders from the [a special interest group] and gutted the bill.

Those quotes could have come from today’s paper. There’s high minded stuff about civil liberties and bravely continuing to live as free Americans in the face of terror, as well as emotional appeals to cowardice.

But these quotes are not from today’s paper or from the ususal sources. They are all from the 1996 Congressional Record, which records the debate over Nautius Maximus Bill Clinton’s request for wiretapping authority and other anti-terrorist measures. Quotes one through three are from Republicans: one is Dan Burton, two is Orin Hatch, and three is Porter Goss. Quote four is from a Democrat.

As usual, Dispatches from the Culture Wars says it best:

The two parties just exchanged scripts, because it’s not about taking a serious, principled position; it’s only about spinning a tale that benefits you politically – and that’s true for both parties, not just the one that happens to be in power now. And who took a consistent position on this question? Libertarians. Libertarians were against such expanded wiretapping authority in 1996 and we’re against it in 2006 as well, and it doesn’t matter which party will be using it. And people wonder why I don’t take the major parties seriously.

Unfortunately, “taking a serious, principled position” isn’t going to win any elections. So we’re governed by hacks.

  

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13 Comments on “Why I Hate Political Parties”

  1. Dan Says:

    Wow, Wheeler! Thanks for those last few quotes. I hate political parties too. I don’t like joining any team, much less a Republican or Democrat team.

  2. Kathy Says:

    IIRC, 12% of registered voters participated in the runoff elections in Jefferson County. Which came first, the bad government or the apathetic public? If things are going to change, people like us are going to change them. I just wish I knew how.

  3. Humpty Dumpty Says:

    Your brain:

    1) Republicans criticized the left-wing’s abuse of the judicial system in order to legislate from the bench

    2) Therefore, ‘Conservatives’ can never use the court system in any way to challenge unconsitutional laws or they are “hypocrites”

    Like all your assertions, you are wrong and have oversimplified the issue. Challenging unconstitutional provisions is not legistlating from the bench.

    Since your legal reasoning is suspect, I’ll simpliify it for you:

    Judicial Review does NOT itself = Judicial Activism

    As far as your wiretapping quotes, we could also turn this around. Where were the democrats during that time when Clinton was wiretapping, and also when he was bombing Serbia and starting that war? Ooops, hypocrisy!

    But that doesn’t count, because you are “liberal”, and therefore can never be wrong.

  4. Kathy Says:

    Uh oh, Larry’s back.

  5. wheeler Says:

    dumpty,

    “Challenging unconstitutional provisions is not legistlating from the bench.”

    thanks for clearing that up. i was really confused. i’ll remember this the next time the aclu files a lawsuit to prevent some city from having a christmas celebration, or a gay couple argues that equal protection requires marital benefits for gays. it’s only judicial review, just like what rep. westmoreland is doing.

    “As far as your wiretapping quotes, we could also turn this around. Where were the democrats during that time when Clinton was wiretapping, and also when he was bombing Serbia and starting that war? Ooops, hypocrisy!”

    before you display your ignorance, read the whole post. i criticised republicans AND democrats on this issue.

  6. Joy Says:

    Oh, Snap!

  7. Humpty Dumpty Says:

    Oh please. We both know you favor democrats, as you are left-wing.

    Your view of the ACLU and Gay lobby pushing for reform is suspicious. The left wing groups have historically used the courts because they oppose the will of the majority. For example, the civil rights act of 1964 was not supposed to enact quotas for school racial balance; that occured after lefties sued and judging absurdly expanded the law far past its original meeting.

    IS far more of judicial activism. There is no comparison between the “gay marriage” and the current attempt by the conservative group to reign in the VRA. The Gay marriage suits that have been filed were a travesty of justice, and an abuse of the legal system. It mostly involved forum shopping, and unethical practice. The homos would sue in virtually every jurisdiction they could find, eventually hitting pay dirt in Hawaii. By paydirt, I mean a judge willing to throw away 6,000 of human history and creating a new, magic right of sodomites to be ‘married.’

    There is simply no comparison between the ACLU making christmas trees banned as a first amendment violation, and between legitimate litigation designed to preserve constitutional rights.

    We non-liberals seek to preserve the constitution, as it was written and intended. You seek to abuse the judicial system to expand and restrict rights as you please in order to push your agenda.

  8. wheeler Says:

    humpty,

    do you have any idea how stupid you sound? i wonder sometimes if you are really a left wing crazy who is using a right wing persona in order to mock the right wing. seriously, if anyone on a lefty site were to put forth anything like your “arguments” as typical of right wing beliefs, i would accuse the lefty of attacking straw men. you are too ridiculous to believe even as caricatures.

    you keep saying stuff like this: “There is simply no comparison between the ACLU making christmas trees banned as a first amendment violation, and between legitimate litigation designed to preserve constitutional rights.” but you provide no analysis. what makes the aclu case illegitimate? and what makes the vra lawsuit legitimate? don’t tell me that only one involves forum shopping, either. if you read the article about the vra, those guys are doing just as much shopping.

    i don’t see a substantive difference between these cases. in both “the people” have given an answer that some group thinks is in conflict with the constitution, and so that group goes to court to challenge the answer. if that is wrong for the aclu, it’s wrong for rep. westmoreland also.

  9. Humpty Dumpty Says:

    I should as well ask you if you know how stupid YOU sound. My arguments have always been reasonable, and you are the one that refuses (usually) to debate the issues, instead talking about how “stupid” I sound.

    I have been able to show some serious logical and factual problems in your postings. You have never responded to them. Perhaps you remember when you wrote that convicted felons would be rehabilitated as long as they get to vote? Rapists getting out of prison being good little boys because they can vote for in the primaries. Yeah right. . . like you one to criticize others for sounding extreme.

    I cannot speak for the Westmoreland thing. I don’t know their case. That wasn’t my point. But what I do know is that the left-wing has judicial activism down pat. You lefties OWN it. Back in the day, in the Lochner era, yes, anti-reformers used the court to preserve traditional common law rights against statutes. But that was a long, long time ago. You are making your objection about this supposed lawsuit involving the VRA. Assuming that it is an attempt at judicial activism: Are you really one to accuse? Perhaps the shoe is on the other foot.

    And that is just the beginning. As I pointed out, judicial activism fits left-wing ideology much better than conservatism. Conservatives by nature do not like to meddle in that underhanded manner. Because of necessity, that is somewhat changing, and those who defend the constitution are forced to engage in court cases to prevent the expansion of phony rights.

    You are now comparing the ACLU with conservative legal funds. Nice try. I am unconvinced. There are major differences. The ACLU, NAACP, etc, and all the rest, have many times more money and lawyers, and much more positive press.

    There is also the difference of perspectives. The conservative groups are suing for different reasons. For example, a university professor denounces affirmative action, and is fired from a public university. The conversative group would file a case to defend him as a first amendment case.

    But as I mentioned above, ACLU & NAACP type groups perform far more than just the enforcement of rights, but the EXPANSION of rights, by a judge and not the legistlature. Your lovely obsession with gay marriage is an example. There is nothing in the constitution that has anything to do with Gay Marriage. It has never been a social norm in any society, ever. Not even places that had widespread homosexuality, such as Ancient Sparta. The gay lobby’s ‘crusade’ in creating such a right is far beyond the cut and dried cases involving freedom to protest.

    I do recognize that the ACLU also takes legitimate cases, such as when protestors are not allowed reasonable access to parade.

    But this isn’t about the bill of rights. It is about legislating from the bench. It is a political agenda that has been planned. These cases did not arise haphazardly, based on poor gay people walking into lawyers’ offices. Instead, it has been a national plot lasting many decades, involving forum shopping and other unethical abuses. This planned agenda from the left is another key difference in your would-be comparison of ACLU and with most conservative groups. The gay lobby knew that the majority would never, ever vote willingly for gay marriage, because it is absurd and has no policy justification, as well as repugnant to most people. So in comes the torrent of law suits, and the eventual left-wing hippie judge that rules in favor of the gays and against all precedent.

    What is interesting is that more than 1/3 of your argument (1st paragraph) above was spent in ad hominem smugness. The second paragraph had something of value, but I DID list some reasons why the ACLU should be held in greater suspicion. Namely the issue of them getting ten commandment statutes banned. Did I really need to go into detail about this? Is their absurd case even worth arguing? That ten commandments scultures are the equivalent of a STATE established religion? Ah, but I forgot you like the ACLU!

    The 3rd paragraph of your response has a nice little uncleans hand argument. I’ll grant you that I dont know much about this westmoreland group, and for I’ll I know they could be wolves in sheeps clothing. But asserting that the right-wing uses judicial activism as much as the left? Oh please. Whatever your beliefs are, get yours facts right. That is simply not true. The left-wing ‘progressives’ have long since used judicial activism more than the right-wing. Whether you agree with the concept behind it or not, that is the fact.

  10. wheeler Says:

    humpty,

    you’re gay aren’t you? go ahead, you can tell us, we won’t make fun of you. embrace yourself. no-one else will.

  11. Humpty Dumpty Says:

    More ad hominem.

    More proof that you are unable to gather enough intelligence and maturity for a legitimate argument. Did you actually graduate from an accredited law school? I find it hard to believe that someone with an advanced degree and three years of legal reasoning training would base his argument of supporting ‘gay’ marriage with the old canard of anyone who opposes the gay lobby MUST be gay. Believe it or not, the vast majority of people oppose gay marriage, and yet are not gay, and even so it has nothing to do with the case. For example, one can be black and yet oppose affirmative action.

    I have to say that I am surprised by this blogger and the others here. I expected some kind of rational discussion from different viewpoints. instead, the responses range from “you are larry darby” (False and irrelevant to my arguments’ sake) to “You are stupid” and now, worst of all, “you are gay” (with additional grade-school level smugness added).

    Right or wrong, liberal or conservative, you, whoever you are, are utterly unable to maturely and intelligently argue a point.

    You equate restrictions on illegal ILLEGAL immigration to be “bashing” but cannot define the word you use, nor back up your argument with either reasoning or evidence. You think convicted criminals will be good citizens again only if their voting rights are restored. On all these points and others I have challenged you and you have been unable to anything either than repeat your original empty assertion, or begin a series of logical fallacies, mostly ad homimen (the easiest, least effective, and least mature) but with many red herrings thrown in.

    Based on your reasoning (lack of) skills demonstrated in both your original posts and responses, you, ‘sir’, are you an utterly pathetic excuse for a lawyer and an adult.


  12. […] One of my favorite commentators, identified only as Humpty Dumpty, has several times responded to this post. In his responses he says things like this: The Gay marriage suits that have been filed were a travesty of justice, and an abuse of the legal system. It mostly involved forum shopping, and unethical practice. The homos would sue in virtually every jurisdiction they could find, eventually hitting pay dirt in Hawaii. By paydirt, I mean a judge willing to throw away 6,000 of human history and creating a new, magic right of sodomites to be ‘married.’ . . . […]


  13. […] Well, from now on, whenever I get depressed about Alabama’s congressional delegation, I’m going to thank God for Georgia’s Lynn Westmoreland. His previous gooffiness is described here. The cause of the current post is this: Georgia congressman Lynn Westmoreland backed away from comments he made suggesting that he supports torturing terrorism suspects, but said intelligence agencies should be given latitude to use “the methods necessary” to get information from detainees. […]


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