|January 26, 2006||EDITORIAL ARCHIVES|
This Isn't A "Vote Of Conscience" Concerning A Filibuster; It's A Vote To Save Democracy. And If Reid Can't Cajole And Bluster 41 Democrats Into Saving Democracy, He Should Resign His Position.
A BUZZFLASH EDITORIAL
The New York Times, in a January 26th Editorial, Calls for a Filibuster of Alito.
If Harry Reid doesn't start acting like a minority leader and get the Salazars, Landrieus, Bidens and Feinsteins to support one, then he should step down as minority leader.
This isn't a "vote of conscience" concerning a filibuster; it's a vote to save democracy. And if Reid can't cajole and bluster 41 Democrats into saving democracy, he should resign his position.
The future of America is at stake. Even the New York Times realizes it now. In an editorial entitled, "Senators in Need of a Spine," the NYT states the dire situation quite clearly:
"Judge Samuel Alito Jr., whose entire history suggests that he holds extreme views about the expansive powers of the presidency and the limited role of Congress, will almost certainly be a Supreme Court justice soon. His elevation will come courtesy of a president whose grandiose vision of his own powers threatens to undermine the nation's basic philosophy of government — and a Senate that seems eager to cooperate by rolling over and playing dead.
It is hard to imagine a moment when it would be more appropriate for senators to fight for a principle. Even a losing battle would draw the public's attention to the import of this nomination."
As we've noted in a series of BuzzFlash editorials and news analyses, the Dems must take a stand or they will just be a rubber stamp Congress, because Bush and Cheney are daring them to stop this Administration from becoming a de facto dictatorship, empowered with breaking and creating the law at will.
Bush, day after day -- in myriads of ways -- is telling Congress, "Yeah, I'm breaking the law and ignoring Congress. Just try to stop me."
For some reason, instead of becoming outraged, the Democratic Senators act puzzled. This is why the so-called "middle Americans" don't trust the Dems on national security. The average Joe or Jill knows that if someone is threatening to beat you up, you don't hand him a bat.
As one of our readers wrote to the BuzzFlash Mailbag, reflecting the current mood of the Democrats who vote (not the ones who are Senate careerists): "I'm getting beyond my 5 year 'blame Bush' mentality, as Bush is doing just what Bush/Cheney wants, and doing it damn well and virtually unopposed. So I blame the enablers; those with the (D) behind their names on the Senate roll. They've gone beyond disappointing their supporters. They are about to bring disgrace onto this country, and they want us all to cheer the 'No' vote they use to camouflage their cowardice."
BuzzFlash has interviewed Harry Reid and found him candid and highly critical of Bush. But talk is cheap. What the Democrats need is a passion to save democracy and the leadership to get their stragglers in line.
As we noted, in 2003, John Kerry, who would like to be president, promised to lead a filibuster on a nominee that fits Sam Alito to a "T." Then, lead, John Kerry, lead, or be a hypocrite and get trounced in the Iowa primaries. If you don't have the 41 votes, get them. If you want to be president, you better be able to secure the backing of your party caucus, because if you can't lead the Democrats, you can't lead the nation.
We haven't heard you publicly call for a filibuster or heard you announce that you'll lead one, but that's what you promised in 2003. Just read your words here, in an article entitled "Kerry says he'll filibuster Supreme Court nominees who do not support abortion rights".
And Hillary Clinton just decided this week that she opposed Alito. What's that about? She should have been leading a national campaign against him the morning after Bush nominated him following the now-forgotten Harriet Miers fiasco. Do you think that they support an imperial presidency and the dismantling of the Constitution in Omaha, Hillary?
As we wrote on January 6, in one of our many Alito commentaries, "Thank God our current Senate Democrats weren't at Lexington and Concord!" There never would have been an American Revolution if the Dems were running the show. The Dems in the Senate would have been too busy rehearsing Hamlet off on the side of the road.
But, now, we have come full circle, and the crowning of King George IV will be nearly complete if the Dems don't filibuster Alito.
Bush is asking the Dems in the Senate to sign the death warrant for Congress and the balance of powers, and the Dems are taking the pen and putting their name to the document. ("No" votes don't count. Only a filibuster does, because "No" votes don't stop the confirmation of Alito. So don't let any Dem Senator get away with saying they voted against Alito, but didn't support a filibuster.)
As Molly Ivins, madder than a wet hen (and this week's BuzzFlash "Wings of Justice Award Winner"), exhorted: "Enough triangulation, calculation and equivocation.... Do not sit there cowering and pretending the only way to win is as Republican-lite. If the Washington-based party can't get up and fight, we'll find someone who can."
It's time for the Democrats in Congress to rehabilitate themselves and end the cycle of "the battered opposition party" syndrome. But there's no time for them to seek help in an abuse shelter and receive rehabilitation.
The time to act is now.
No voter, including us, will believe that they can battle Bush on national security (when he is actually making our country more insecure and vulnerable) when they won't even lift a finger to stop a Supreme Court nomination that may be the final nail in the coffin of democracy -- and will likely render Congress irrelevant.
A BUZZFLASH EDITORIAL