Thursday, May 19, 2005

It's about checks and balances

I have never been prouder of a politician who represents me than I was with Chuck Schumer yesterday. Taking the floor of the Senate yesterday, our senior Senator took up the debate.

The most salient point that the Senator made was about the Republican Senators’ voting record on Bush’s Appeal Court nominees. Sen. Schumer put up a sign that read 2703-1, and explained that this is the cumulative voting record for every Republican Senator on Bush’s Appeals Court nominees.

He went on to explain who the one down vote was from, Trent Lott. The down vote was in response to a black judge that Clinton had nominated to the 4th Circuit but had never had an ’up or down vote’ when Bush took power. Bush renominated, and Lott voted against the nomination. This is not advice and consent; as Schumer said, this is a RubberStamp.

Is there not one Republican Senator who had any qualms about any of the nominees? Or is the party machinery so strong that no one would commit the political suicide of speaking out? Or are Bush’s nominees really that perfect?

Speaking after Senator Schumer was Senator Conrad Burns from Oklahoma who has a stunning 4 months in office that clearly qualifies him to obliterate the rights of the minority in the Senate. Burns went on to tell us that all of Bush’s nominees were eminently qualified to serve and that every single Republican has supported them as they reviewed their record and decided they wanted them to serve. This is not about 55 drones taking marching orders from Karl Rove, but 55 principled men and women who are so principled that they have identical principles. In fact, if 55 of our ‘leaders’ think the same, I guess we can imply we should all think the same.

How are we to know that these Senators are doing their job, actually considering the candidates?

I guess we’re to presume that since Bush deigned to nominate them, and he was elected president by an overwhelming 1% margin (dripping with sarcasm), he made sure these candidates really represented the values of this nation.

Or maybe, just maybe, the Senate has lost its spine and is about to hand over its constitutional authority to advise and review to the White House. I’m sure they’ll be rewarded by more money from the fundamentalists – and be even more beholden to them next time they ask for a favor.


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