Wednesday, March 16, 2005

Senator Vegas whines on the Capitol Steps

First, the link to Sen. Vegas's comments.

If you've never heard Sen. Vegas ("Harry Reid") speak, I suggest that your mind's inner ear hear a cross between Underdog, Droopy and Elmer Fudd... not that he makes his Rs into Ws... but the register of his voice is similar.

On to the fisking!

Remarks by Senator Harry Reid
Preserving Checks and Balances
U.S. Capitol Steps
Tuesday, March 15, 2005

It begins with a history lesson. Put another log on the fire, eh?

On a late September day in 1787, the Constitutional Convention finished its work. As Benjamin Franklin walked down the steps of Independence Hall, a Philadelphia woman named Elizabeth Powell stopped him and asked, “Well, Doctor, what have we got: a republic or a monarchy?”

He responded, “A republic. If you can keep it.”

For more than two centuries, we have kept our republic because Americans have understood that our liberty is protected by our laws and by a government of limited powers.

Snort... I wish the Democrats understood what limited government power was all about.

Our Constitution provides for checks and balances so that no one person in power – so that no one political party – can hold total control over the course of our nation.

Actually it is so that no single BRANCH of the government can dominate the other two. Given the state of the Judiciary since the Warren Supreme Court, though, it is probably a moot point. That's a story for another day, though.

But now, in order to break down the separation of powers and ram through their appointees to the judicial branch, President Bush and the Republican leadership want to eliminate a two-hundred-year-old American rule saying that every member of the Senate can rise to say their piece and speak on behalf of the people that sent them here.

It's Senate Rule XXII. It's been talked about a lot.

The fact is that this President has a better record of having his judicial nominees approved than any President in the past twenty-five years. Only ten of 214 nominations have been turned down.

They haven't been turned down until they've had an up-or-down, simple-majority vote.

So it is clear that this attempt to strip away these important checks and balances is not about judges. It is about the desire for absolute power.

boogah-boogah! Is ya skeered?

Actually it is about the minority party about to be made redundant, and their clinging to their last bastion of security by their fingernails.

But our nation’s basic rules are there for the moments when the eyes of the powerful grow large and hungry; when their willfulness makes them determined to do whatever it takes to win, and prevail at whatever the cost.

Yikes... who writes this crap? Keep in mind the "Fudd/Droopy/Underdog" voice. Not that James Earl Jones could make this sound good.

I read this as: "The only place we can win for our Leftist agenda is in the courts... and you will have to pry it from our cold, dead hands." (Politically, not literally.)

Presidents and parties have grown drunk with power before. Two Presidents of my own party – Thomas Jefferson and Franklin Roosevelt – began their second terms of office with majorities in Congress and then tried to change the rules governing judges so that they could stack the court with those who would do their bidding. They were wrong to try to change our basic American rules – and Americans, and Senators of both parties, stood up to tell them so.

Senator Vegas goes 'bi-partisan'. Or is it 'maverick'? Since the courts are already stacked with judges who will do the bidding of the left... he sees no change necessary.

Today, another attempt is being considered to rewrite the rules so that those in power can get their way.

It would mean that the U.S. Senate becomes merely a rubber stamp for the Executive Branch.

Here he admits, in backhanded fashion, that the nominees his party considers so 'controversial' would have no problem whatsoever in getting 51+ votes... if only the votes were allowed to take place.

It would mean that one political party – be it Republicans today or Democrats tomorrow – gets to have all the say.

No, actually it means you'd have to work for a living, trying to persuade the majority on the merits. I'm thinking that "Well, People for the American Way says..." is not going to be a convincing reason to most Republicans.

It would mean that one man, sitting in the White House, has the practical ability to personally hand out lifetime jobs to judges whose rulings can last forever.

That is pretty much how it is written up in the Constitution, yeah. Although the courts themselves can be restructured.

That's not how America works.

Here, in America, the people rule – and all the people have a voice.

Duly noted.

We pledge allegiance to “one nation, under God, with liberty and justice for all.” Not liberty and justice for whoever may be in the majority of the moment. Liberty and justice for all. In America, everyone gets their say and their due.

Yep. Consider your piece said. By the way, did you get special dispensation from any of your Constituency Groups about using "under God"?

Today, we say to the American people: if you believe in liberty and in limited government, set aside your partisan views and oppose this arrogant abuse of power.

Okay. I agree. I oppose the Democrats' use of the filibuster to oppose the normal workings of the Constitution as laid forth in Article II, section 2, clause 2:

Clause 2: [The President] shall have Power, by and with the Advice and Consent of the Senate, to make Treaties, provided two thirds of the Senators present concur; and he shall nominate, and by and with the Advice and Consent of the Senate, shall appoint Ambassadors, other public Ministers and Consuls, Judges of the supreme Court, and all other Officers of the United States, whose Appointments are not herein otherwise provided for, and which shall be established by Law: but the Congress may by Law vest the Appointment of such inferior Officers, as they think proper, in the President alone, in the Courts of Law, or in the Heads of Departments.

There. I feel better. Back to Senator Vegas:

Our freedom as a people was purchased by soldiers and Senators, by those who fell for our country and those who rose to speak for it, even when they stood alone.

The courage of patriots has given us a republic. Now, it is our task – and our test – to show that we can keep it.

Feel better, Senator? Good. You've risen--albeit outside. You've spoken.

Now let's have an up-or-down vote on these eminently qualified judicial nominees! If they are so scary, they'd never get even 50 votes. Or is it that they are only scary to the people who fund and push your agenda?

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