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Monday, November 15, 2004

Now Is No Time for Compromise

If anything this Sunday should send fear shooting through your bones, it is this revelation from Sen. Joe Lieberman, said on Fox News Sunday:

"I hope that in the second Bush term that President Bush will develop a kind of consultative relationship, certainly with Democratic leaders like Harry Reid.

And I think that will help avoid the kinds of filibusters that really a lot of us moderate Democrats — and we talked about this just last week when we had a phone conference — don't want to be involved in.

And we'd much prefer to give an up-or-down vote to a president's judicial nominations.

He earned that right when he got elected."

[emphasis added]

Yes that's right. The so-called moderates are already organizing and strategizing over how to avoid standing up to the GOP.

Their rallying cry? Filibusters. Eeewwww. Icky.

Making Lieberman's remarks more bizarre is that he preceded them with some understanding of what Dems are up against:

During the Clinton years, as far as I can tell, more than 60...judicial nominations were blocked not by a filibuster but because the Republican-controlled Judiciary Committee never even gave those nominees a hearing.

But of course, he draws the exact wrong lesson from that:

The point of fact here is that both of these, the filibuster [by the Dems] and the blocking of even a hearing under President Clinton, are signs of a government here in Washington that has grown too partisan.

No, the point of fact is that the Right is on a ruthless mission to remake the judiciary and shred the civil rights protections that have been established over the last half-century.

And they are not interested in getting your permission for it.

Fortunately, over on ABC's This Week, Sen. Chuck Schumer showed more spunk:

"Some of nominees...the President put forward for the Court of Appeals said there should be no zoning laws [because] it's a taking of property, it's unconstitutional.

[And] THERE SHOULD BE NO LABOR LAWS-- if...an employer wanted to have A CHILD work...80 hours a week, THAT WOULD BE OK.

If that's strict constructionism, then we don't want it...

....if the president nominates an extremist who wants to roll back the clock [to the] 1930s, 1890s, of course he'll be opposed.

If he nominates a mainstream judge, he won't.

That's the kind of thing all Dems should be doing now.

Laying down the substantive groundwork for future filibusters by detailing how right-wing judges will directly harm your life, your family, and your community.

Back to Lieberman.

Here's another revealing exchange, where Fox's Chris Wallace was discussing with Lieberman the hot water Sen. Alan Specter is in with the Religious Right.

WALLACE: Let's take a comparable situation.

Let's say the Democrats — and this would be a big leap at this point — take back control of the Senate.

LIEBERMAN: Yes, lovely thought.

WALLACE: And the person who is scheduled to be the chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee is a right-to-lifer.

You don't think liberal groups would be up in arms about that?

LIEBERMAN: They probably would.

Oh, would they?

Perhaps, Mr. Joementum, instead of taking another cheap shot at liberals, you might have noted that the incoming Senate Minority Leader, Harry Reid, is pro-life.

And not only is the choice not provoking ideological civil war between liberals and moderates.

But Reid has a good working relationship with NARAL Pro-Choice America (he is pro-contraception and pro-stem cell research).

That's all for the good, if Reid is willing to aggressively filibuster right-wing judicial nominations.

His pro-life views can only help broaden the debate over judges and broaden public support for opposing Bush's picks.

Of course, we don't know that Reid will aggressively filibuster judicial nominations. (Yesterday's NY Times profile sends mixed signals on his overall approach.)

But if he is planning on it, he better get on these "Senate moderate" conference calls and bring the hammer down. Now.

--Liberal Oasis, Nov 15

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