OpinionJournal – Drunken GOP Sailors : Great article on how the Republicans are spending cash like there is no tomorrow. The title isn’t exactly fair to drunken sailors, though. It is truly an era of “big government conservatism.”
It’s about time Bush did something proactive about the Senate not doing their constitutional duty: Bush Installs Pickering on Appeals Court
Congress likes free speech, except when they are running for re-election. That much was made clear when they passed the McCain-Feingold bill, otherwise known as the Incumbent Protection Act, that limits political speech during the late stages of an election. Now Congress is saying they hate spam. Except, of course, if that spam comes from them. [Article] What’s interesting about this is that it isn’t just another example of congressional hypocrisy, it shows how abusive Congress is of the power of incumbency, and how willing they are to make law making it harder for someone to challenge their positions of power.
The US Supreme Court today upheld restrictions on political speech, such as restrictions on advertisements before an election. It’s a natural progression, of course, since true freedom of religious speech and association was done away with a few decades ago. Well, the first amendment was getting old anyway. [Article] Freedom of political speech isn’t important these days, I suppose — but we can hang on to the first amendment for perverts and vulgar pop stars or the f-word on broadcast television, since they were the ones the first amendment was meant to protect anyway.
Miguel Estrada got tired of the garbage going on in the Senate over his nomination. He’s out. This is a political victory for liberals because the last thing they want is a successful, influential Latino in a prominent position in the federal government who isn’t a liberal — who is a conservative. Their “minorities can’t make it without us” race warfare rhetoric loses strength when such a thing happens. When accused of blocking nominations of President Bush (which, of course, they are doing), they gladly point out that over 100 of Bush’s nominations have gone through. This admission actually proves the point that Estrada is being blocked because he is a Latino. Bush is, for the most part, a conservative. His nominations are, for the most part, conservatives. Is Estrada any more conservative than the other 100+ nominees who have gone through for a vote? No. The difference is that Estrada breaks the liberal notion that minorities need to be liberal.
However, this is not just Senate Democrats obstructing — this is Senate Republicans showing what gutless country club wimps they can be. The Democrats have successfully filibustered a court nomination without actually having to say up 24-7 doing the work. The Constitution mandates a simple majority for a court nomination — the Republicans have surrendered to the Democrats and ultimately allowed them to thwart the Constitution and demand that court nominations get a supermajority rather than a majority. The Constitution specifies what items require a supermajority vote in the Senate — court nomination is not among them. Senate Republicans have failed in their sworn duty to uphold and defend the Constitution. There are several solutions to the Democratic obstructionism that is going on; the most obvious of which would be to actually force the Democrats to go through weeks of non-stop floor debate. But they did nothing.
I can’t blame Estrada for calling it quits. Senate Democrats can’t feel shame for doing the kinds of things they always do. But Senate Republicans ought to feel very ashamed tonight for letting them get away with it.