Monday, April 25, 2005

Double Standards: The Constitutional Option

So the news reports are all about the Republicans ending the filibuster in the Senate. The so-called ‘Nuclear Option’…. Oohhhh … scary sounding. The name that clearly defines the proposal is ‘Constitutional Option’, but that doesn’t look mean on the headlines.

Not surprisingly, this is smear campaign by the main stream media.

I know, those who are my political opposites are right now howling.

“How can you say it’s a smear campaign?”

Well, simple. Let me make this perfectly clear: Republicans are not out to end the filibuster. I’ll repeat: the media is playing all of you as fools!

The Republicans are not breaking any rules. They are not changing the way things have been done for over 200 years. No sir.

About 3 years ago, Democrats began a new tact. They refused to vote judicial nominees out of committee to be voted on the entire floor of Congress. The members of the judicial committee figured that if the judge was no good in their eyes, they greater body would, of course, vote with them.

How immodest is that position? The minority party members of the committee take it upon themselves to decid for the greater body. These few Senators became the standard bearer for advice and consent. But what is this ‘advice and consent’ we hear about?

Article II, Section 2 of the Constitution states:

{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.

Notice, it does not say by and with the Advice and Consent of two thirds of the Senate.

The rules of the Senate are determine by the body itself, and are changed from time to time. What Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist is doing by calling for the ‘Constitutional Option’ is to reign in the Senate that is actually breaking the existing rules for voting nominees out of committee. For over 224 years, the rules stated ‘simple majority’, not super majority. But 3 years ago, the Democrats learned a way to act like a majority despite successive Senate losses at the ballot boxes.

That’s the problem: the Democratic Senators still think they’re in the majority. Additionally, the Republican Senators forget they have a majority (arguably slim, but a majority nonetheless).

Now that the media spin has been dealt with, consider the following:

Robert Byrd, former member of the KKK and the senior Senator from the great state of West Virginia, was recently quoted as saying "We, unlike Nazi Germany or Mussolini's Italy, have never stopped being a nation of laws, not of men."

Strangely, the gentleman obviously has forgotten his own efforts to overturn Senate rules involving ‘filibustering’ in 1980.

Once again, Democrats want things both ways. And more importantly, they forget the will of the people is clear: while it can be debated that President Bush’s re-election wasn’t a mandate (I certainly think the mandate is clear), the overall trend in elections to the House and Senate clearly do show a mandate.

Adding to the ammunition in the Republican camp, Joseph Biden, plagiarist and Senior Senator of Delaware presented a compromise plan on Sunday’s Fox News Sunday to permit a certain number of the President’s nominees to have an up-or-down vote. Washington Post pundit David Broder voiced a similar proposal.

Why this change of heart? They smell blood in the water. They’re losing support in spite of the frightful ‘nuclear’ language. They are trying to say to their base ‘yeah, we lost again, but we got at least THIS much.’

The Republican majority needs to continue on their path. They need not compromise; there is nothing to compromise about! The traditions and procedures of the Senate, while not set in stone, are not to be cast aside at the discretion of the majority party, but especially not at the whim of the minority party!

Enact the Constitutional Option today. Let the nominees get their Constitutional Right to an up or down vote in front of the full Congress.

And lets get back to work.

UPDATE: Captain's Quarters reports Sen., Frist may be captitulating. Will the majority ever begin to ACT like one??

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