Soooo … all of those folks clamoring for just this exact change to Senate rules way back in 2005 and 2006 — Focus on the Family, the Family Research Council, Bill Frist, even Mitch McConnell, etc. — they’re all thrilled right? Right?!
Tag Archives: Congress
With Republicans set on Monday to block Robert Wilkins’s nomination to the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals, both parties’ positions appear hopelessly intractable.
The only thing that may be able to preserve the GOP’s ability to filibuster judicial nominees is another extended battle over the Senate rules that forces a truce between the caucuses of Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and Minority Leader Mitch McConnell.
Here’s a statistic I’ve read: 86.8 percent of President Bush’s judicial nominees were confirmed. Some of his nominees — Harriet Miers is a notable example — were blocked by his own party, not just Democrats. That didn’t stop political partisans — Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist, for one, and the Family Research Council’s Tony Perkins, for another — from stoking the perpetual butthurt and persecution complex of gullible Evangelical Christians in framing a battle over judicial nominees as a “Filibuster Against People Of Faith.”
Remember that? Remember:
Frist is trying to win support for a ban on the use of the filibuster, a technique to delay Senate business, to block votes on judicial nominees. He has agreed to give a videotaped speech Sunday for Justice Sunday: Stop the Filibuster Against People of Faith.
The program, which also features prominent religious leaders such as James Dobson, founder of Focus on the Family, is sponsored by the socially conservative Family Research Council. Churches, groups and individuals can sign up at http://www.frc.org to watch by satellite or on the Internet.
A brochure for the program, originating at a church in Louisville, says the filibuster “was once abused to protect racial bias, and now it is being used against people of faith.” Perkins says “activist courts” are conspiring “to rob us of our Christian heritage” and urges “values voters” to support Frist.
That was April 2005. Two other Justice Sundays followed: one in August 2005 at Nashville’s Two Rivers Baptist Church, called “God Save the United States and this Honorable Court,” which was timed to coincide with John Roberts’ confirmation hearings. The third event was held at a Baptist church in Philadelphia on the eve of Samuel Alito’s Supreme Court confirmation hearings. This one was labeled “Proclaim Liberty Throughtout The Land.”
As with all things right-wing, these events (especially the first one) were the newest shiny-sparkly thing to grab the media’s attention, and there were front page stories and endless hours of cable news programs devoted to them. The rallying cry, as you will recall, was “the president’s nominees deserve an up or down vote.” We heard that one ad nauseum.
Fast forward to the next administration, in which the president happens to be a Democrat, and suddenly the shoe is on the other foot. Suddenly Obama is “packing the courts.” Fewer than half of President Obama’s judicial nominees have been confirmed. And yet, there have been no rallies about the president’s nominees deserving an up or down vote, no church-based (or union hall-based) events about filibustering the working class, minorities and women. There has been no “Occupy The Courts” movement or marches on Washington or bully tactics to force the Senate opposition into giving us our way.
Republican presidents have it so easy. Once they’re in office there’s an entire network of apparatchiks across every facet of American society ready to support that president’s agenda. Democratic presidents have no such support network. Liberal apparatchiks are too busy whining about getting thrown under the bus on x, y, or z issue to bother having the presidential back on things like judicial nominees. We know, intuitively, how important the courts are to our cause, yet we’ve done precious little when President Obama’s highly-qualified picks have been blocked by Republican obstruction.
When I look back and reflect on how much time and energy was devoted to discussing the Justice Sunday events eight years ago, I am simply amazed at the strategic skills of the Republican right. Think about it: the very same people claiming it was evil and un-American and an assault on judicial independence to filibuster a judicial nominee turned round and lobbied for that very thing when Sonia Sotomayor was nominated to the Supreme Court. Amazing. And yet, no one, least of all the “liberal media,” laughed them out of the room.
No one has pointed out that the right’s event-based activism really lacks any philosophical integrity. It’s really just all about making sure their side wins. I don’t know why the media plays along with this whole charade. And I don’t know why the left doesn’t do a better job of coming together on these things.
The latest is here.
So, this happened:
As the House finished their vote to reopen the federal government and raise the debt ceiling, a House stenographer decided it was a good time to let everyone know her feelings about God, Congress, and the Freemasons.
“He [God] will not be mocked,” the stenographer, apparently named Molly, yelled into the microphone as she was dragged off by security. “The greatest deception here is that this is not one nation under God. It never was. It would not have been. The Constitution would not have been written by Freemasons. They go against God. You cannot serve two masters. Praise be to God. Praise be to Jesus.”
You can hear the rant here.
Definitely doesn’t do much to dispel the notion that we are ruled by religious nuts. Apparently the woman was taken for a mental evaluation.
Americans like Witches, the IRS, and even Hemorrhoids better than Congress
Raleigh, N.C. – While Congress remains divided amidst the government shutdown, Americans are united in their disapproval of the legislating body. Of registered voters polled, 85% disapprove of the job Congress is doing. Only 8% approve- Democrats, Republicans and Independents are almost equally united in their distaste for Congress, with only 7%, 10% and 8% approving respectively. Very conservative voters differed slightly with a support of 15%.
Americans currently have a higher opinion of witches (46/32), jury duty (73/18) and hemorrhoids (53/31) than Congress. Republicans seem much more accepting of Congress over hemorrhoids compared to other voters — 41% favored Congress more than the diseases, as oppose to only 25% of Democrats and 27% of Independents.
Wow. Republicans like Congress more than hemorrhoids? There’s a joke in there somewhere.
Still, it’s not all bad news for Congress:
Half of registered voters have a higher opinion of Congress than of Anthony Weiner right now (50/23). In fact, public figures are some of the only people that registered voters dislike more than the legislature. Americans thought higher of Congress when asked about Vladimir Putin (49/28), Charles Manson (56/18), Honey Boo Boo (42/33) and Miley Cyrus (36/31) – with ‘twerking’ also four points below Congress at 37/33.
Poor Miley Cyrus. She gets such a bum rap.
Meanwhile, Dave Weigel debunks Fox News’ “Obama is tanking in the polls” meme. This is your right wing information bubble at work, folks. You’d think they’d have figured out that it’s not working for them.
A House aide confirmed to ThinkProgress that the House member’s gym is open. The House gym features a swimming pool, basketball courts, paddleball courts, a sauna, a steam room and flat screen TVs. While towel service is unavailable, taxpayers remain on the hook for cleaning and maintenance, which has been performed daily throughout the shutdown. There are also costs associated with the power required to heat the pools and keep the lights on.
According to the aide, the decision to keep the gym open — even while other critical government services were shelved — came directly from Speaker Boehner’s office. Meanwhile, the staff gym available to Congressional staff has been closed.
It appears that the members gym in the Senate remains open on similar terms. Yesterday, Sen. Lindsay Graham (R-SC) complained to a reporter from the Omaha World-Herald that the members gym was getting “rank.”
The government has told about 60 home owners in southern Nevada, for instance, that they need to leave their property for the duration of the shutdown, because their homes sit on federal land in the Lake Mead Recreational Area. Since Lake Mead is managed by the feds, anybody who happens to own a home within its boundaries is technically a “visitor” subject to the same lockout that applies to tourists, hikers, campers or sportsmen seeking access to federal land.
The rules governing Lake Mead say that the only homes allowed there must be vacation homes, with the owners having a primary residence someplace else, so they’re not considered full-time, year-round residents of the park. But some home owners apparently got into the habit of spending most of their time at Lake Mead, anyway. Joyce Spencer, 77, said she and her husband Ralph, who is 80, had to move in with nearby family after a park ranger told them they had 24 hours to evacuate the Lake Mead home they’ve owned since the 1970s. “I had to buy Ralph undershirts and jeans because I forgot his pants,” Joyce Spencer told TV station KTNV. “I had to be sure and get his walker and his scooter.”
I suggest these people climb aboard the nearest Greyhound headed to Washington D.C. and take up residence in the House gym.
I didn’t have time to compile my regular Good News Friday post, but I did find this clip from The Daily Show which someone put on YouTube. Enjoy it while you can, I’m sure Comedy Central will yank it at some point. As I’ve mentioned before, WordPress doesn’t let me embded Comedy Central’s videos:
“We’re not going to be disrespected,” Rep. Marlin Stutzman (R-IN) told the Washington Examiner. “We have to get something out of this. And I don’t know what that even is.”
Sounds perfectly reasonable to me! Lollipops? Ponies? How about a Home Depot gift card, do you want that? No?
If only Barry Obummer would throw them a face-saving lifeline to help them out of the corner they’ve backed themselves into. Betcha that’s something they’d all love to have.
Democrats compromised by ditching single payer, we compromised with the Hyde Amendment, we compromised by ditching the public option and going with the exchanges instead, and Republicans still shut down the government because they want something else, they just aren’t sure what.
There will not be a political solution to a psychological problem, folks.
So let me get this straight: Teanuts like Louie Gohmert and Michele Bachmann push for the government shut-down which results in shuttered national parks and monuments. Then they orchestrate a PR stunt at the World War II Memorial with a bunch of veterans where they get to look like big damn heroes? And the media gobbles it up like candy?
“I couldn’t believe my eyes,” Bachmann said. “It was big buses and a narrow strip of sidewalk, and there were all these veterans standing here behind police tape and they’re prevented from going in to see the memorial.”
Really? What the hell did you think would happen when you shut down the government, lady?
Gohmert Tweeted photos of himself with the veterans. This was grandstanding of the highest order, an obvious PR ploy and attempt to deflect any responsibility for the mess they themselves created:
Gohmert and other Republican members of Congress also went to the memorial and criticized the government for preventing visitors from coming to the memorial.
“We’ve got park service employees out here,” Gohmert said before the gates were opened. “Why wouldn’t you have them here to allow the veterans in, instead of stand and keep them from coming in?”
Umm, because it’s closed? Because you closed it? Do you break into convenience stores when they’re closed, too?
Again: the national media ate this BS up like candy. No one, not WTVF (my local CBS affiliate) or CNN or even the Associated Press bothered to point out that the very “heroes” breaking down the barricades were the people who voted for the shutdown in the first place.
And that’s it in a nutshell, folks. That’s all this whole government shutdown thing is: one big giant PR stunt. One chance to capture donations and B-Roll and optics for the 2014 election. I mean I’m sure it’s all a big coinky-dinky that news cameras were on site as Gohmert and Bachmann busted through those barricades, right?
Wake up and smell the bullshit.
I’m not surprised that the media plays along with this nonsense. They’re the ones reaping the financial rewards when campaign season rolls around and the TV ads start running. This is collusion of the highest order.
Shame on all of you.
And more from Gawker. Apparently the vets were flown in on a chartered jet and Reince Priebus has vowed to keep the WWII memorial open.
If you don’t think this whole thing wasn’t manufactured for its PR value, I have a bridge to sell you. Wonder how many fundraising emails this little stunt has spawned?
And yes, maybe Bachmann, Gohmert and Steve Palazzo should have worked harder to keep from closing the thing in the first place.
A government shutdown looms and the stock market is tanking, which makes this the perfect opportunity to fundraise, naturally:
Ah yes. Where there’s shit there’s always flies.
And no, the Democrats don’t get a pass, either. I’ve received emails from Debbie Wasserman Schultz, Harry Reid and this one from MoveOn.org:
Yes, both sides do it.
Here’s my tip to both sides: exploiting government dysfunction with fundraising appeals is really bad optics. It sort of reaffirms for the rest of us what we’ve always suspected: that our current state of polarization and the resulting incompetence is by design. That we don’t actually have government dysfunction but rather a system which functions really well for certain groups — mainly the K Streeters and insiders who run things.
The rest of us depend on a functioning government for things like getting passports and FEMA aid and paychecks and food stamps and grants and highway repairs and a million other things. And this is very serious business for us.
So knock it off.