Sorry, But I Have To Mention This

I know I said in the previous post that I would stick to Alabama today, but . . .  

From the April 25th edition of the WaPo:

Tensions are rising in the Senate over filibusters of judicial nominees, and a showdown seems imminent. [Sen. Bill] Frist has called the filibusters intolerable, saying they prevent senators from giving the president the “advice and consent” called for in the Constitution. Frist, who is considering a 2008 presidential bid, is threatening to change Senate rules to ban filibusters of judicial nominees. Democrats say they would retaliate by bringing most Senate business to a halt.

In his speech, Frist said Senate Minority Leader Harry M. Reid (D-Nev.) “calls me a radical Republican. I don’t think it’s radical to ask senators to vote.”

From today’s WaPo:

Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist signaled yesterday that he and other White House allies will filibuster a bill dealing with the interrogation and prosecution of detainees if they cannot persuade a rival group of Republicans to rewrite key provisions opposed by President Bush. 

This is why I hate politicians. This goober has probably not even tried to reconcile his two positions, to explain why filibustering judicial nominees is a threat to the continued existence of the United States, but filibustering a bill that would prohibit torture is perfectly acceptable. Why is a majority supported bill prohibiting torture soooo bad that it justifies denying the bill an “up or down vote?” Why is this not “the tyranny of the minority?” Given that many religious people oppose torture, why is this not “an assault on people of faith?”

I’m not saying these questions can’t be answered, I’m saying Bill Frist doesn’t care. If getting his way means saying filibusters are bad one day and fantastic the next, that’s what he’ll argue. There is no attempt at any coherent philosophy of government or procedure. And he is not the only offender. For all politicians, principles are good insofar as they lead to the particular politician’s desired result, and bad insofar as they hinder that result.

You see the same thing at work in federalism situations. It’s good when it would let states discriminate against blacks, but bad when it would let states legalize marijuana. Or it’s bad when it allows discrimination and good when it allows legalizing pot. No one really believes in federalism. The principles do not matter, only the result does.

The ultimate result is that everything becomes an issue of power. Because everyone manipulates the principles to achieve results, there aren’t any real principles to which we can all appeal to settle a dispute. So the settlement depends on nothing but who has the most power. That makes for randomness, frustration and instability.

UPDATE: More on Bill Frist here:

Senator Bill Frist (R–TN) introduced a controversial new bill Tuesday that would severely limit the ability of sharks to “mutilate the institution of marriage until it is completely unrecognizable.”

“For too long, we’ve stood by as our most sacred institution has been thrashed, bit by bit, by these amoral predators,” said Frist at a press conference, standing in front of a detailed diagram of a great white shark. “Marriage is a union between one man and one woman, and no shark should come between them with its powerful jaws and massive dorsal fin.”

Bill S-691, also known as The Protection Of Marital Extremities Act, was co-sponsored by Mel Martinez (R–FL), who said that, as a devoted husband, he would not want his own 25-year marriage to be split to pieces by a shark, and hinted that opponents of the bill were in fact aiding the fish in their “murderous ways.” . . .

“The endless onslaught from activist judges, liberal media, and sharks ends today,” Frist said. “Nor have we forgotten the other threats marriage faces, and this bill sends an unmistakable message to rattlesnakes, mountain lions, and lightning that we are dead serious about protecting marriage.”

Also, be sure to get check this out:

Today, Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW) released its second annual report on the most corrupt members of Congress entitled Beyond DeLay: The 20 Most Corrupt Members of Congress (and five to watch). This encyclopedic report on corruption in the 109th Congress documents the egregious, unethical and possibly illegal activities of the most tainted members of Congress. CREW has compiled the members’ transgressions and analyzed them in light of federal laws and congressional rules.

Two members have been removed from last year’s list of 13. Rep. Randy “Duke” Cunningham (R-CA) is now serving an eight-year jail term for bribery and Rep. Bob Ney (R-OH) has agreed to plead guilty to crimes that will likely result in a minimum two-year prison term.

CREW has also re-launched the report’s tandem website, http://www.beyonddelay.org/. The site offers short summaries of each member’s transgressions as well as the full-length profiles and all accompanying exhibits.

CREW’s Most Corrupt Members of Congress:

Members of the Senate:
Conrad Burns (R-MT)
Bill Frist (R-TN)
Rick Santorum (R-PA)

Members of the House:
Alan Mollohan (D-WV)
Roy Blunt (R-MO)
Marilyn Musgrave (R-CO)
Ken Calvert (R-CA)
Richard Pombo (R-CA)
John Doolittle (R-CA)
Rick Renzi (R-AZ)
Tom Feeney (R-FL)
Pete Sessions (R-TX)
Katherine Harris (R-FL)
John Sweeney (R-NY)
William Jefferson (D-LA)
Charles Taylor (R-NC)
Jerry Lewis (R-CA)
Maxine Waters (D-CA)
Gary Miller (R-CA)
Curt Weldon (R-PA)

Five Members to Watch:
Chris Cannon (R-UT)
J.D. Hayworth (R-AZ)
Dennis Hastert (R-IL)
John Murtha (D-PA)
Don Sherwood (R-PA)

At least there are no Alabamians on the list.

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2 Comments on “Sorry, But I Have To Mention This”

  1. Dan Says:

    Thanks, wheeler. The good news is that some “federalists” do at least struggle with this issue. At least when you point their hypocrisy to them, they fumble for a minute. That’s been my experience at least.

  2. Kathy Says:

    Frist is counting on the short attention span of the American public and the low IQ of wingnut voters.


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