More Filibuster Threats from Rethugs

Interesting editorial this morning in the NY Times on the abuse of the filibuster (or threat thereof) in Congress. This one over the appointment of federal judges. After forcing the rest of us to live with a remarkably corrupt Justice Department under Alberto Gonzales and his boss W, the Republican leadership (or lack thereof) is posturing with the "death penalty" for judicial nominations before names have even been floated. If this isn't partisan politics at its business-as-usual worst, what is? From my perspective, attempting to hijack the majority party's prerogatives (cause let's face it dudes, you lost) is just one more measure of the reason I think we need to jack-slap the esteemed congressman from my home state of Kentucky and his Rehooligans colleagues in the House and Senate.

I for one am tired of this shit. To summarize from the editorial:

The same folks (can you say Orrin Hatch?) who thought that filibustering GWB's judical picks was a gross abuse of power and made a big public stink about it, have publicly threatened to filibuster ANY nominee that meets with their disapproval. In an apparent tit-for-tat, Republicans are preemptively playing the filibuster card regarding any and all judicial nominations. Apparently Dems were expected to roll over and accept every nominee, regardless of ability. Indeed the vast majority of GWB picks were accepted, but the Rethugs made a serious public spectacle out of the Democratic threat of filibuster. Result? We have a lot of un- and under-qualified, mediocre judicial minds with lifetime tenure on the bench.

In a letter to the President, Senate Republicans demanded that Obama seat holdover nominees from GWB's tenure. Ha! That the administration abandon all nominations that don't have the support of the "home state" senator. Double ha! And if he doesn't, they'll filibuster. You'll what, you Republican hypocrits?

That the Rethugs howled to the four winds about the threat of filibuster when GWB's nominees were being considered to an about-face when Obama's nominees are being considered is one of the reasons that I have no respect for the Republican "leadership" in particular. It isn't a party of ideas, it's a party of obstructionism and hate. They have no ethics. They have no spine. Ok, my party doesn't have a spine either. Got me there. But Republican leaders seem to think America doesn't see what a total bunch of windbags they are. They don't engage in meaningful dialogue even when our new President is bending over backwards to reach out to them. They appeal to the lowest and uncommon denominator. A party that his given its social dialogue over to Rush Limbaugh has lost all credibility with the American public. Even D-bro, the economically conservative, gun-toting Republican says, Rush Limbaugh is a moron and "even I don't listen to that idiot". The leadership gap in the Republican Party is no reason to bring government to a skidding halt while they get their shit together.

We elected a progressive. Accept that the GOP party of "ideas" lost and let's move on.

A filibuster can be an appropriate response when it is clear that a particular nominee would be a dangerous addition to the bench. The Republicans’ rush to threaten filibusters in the absence of actual nominees is not only at odds with their previous views on the subject, but shows a lack of respect for the confirmation process.

The Republicans are trying to use intimidation to hold onto the one branch of government where they still hold sway. Mr. Obama may be tempted to give in to win Republican cooperation for other parts of his legislative agenda. He should resist that temptation, and get to work right away appointing the kind of highly qualified, progressive-minded judges the nation needs.

The filibuster is a necessary tool. It is not a universal tool. Congress needs to get a whiff of the American sentiment and get busy with the business of governing.

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