Wednesday, April 27, 2005

About the filibuster

It's really annoying when Republicans change terminology that they coined in the first place and then accuse the press of liberal bias when the original language is used. This was famously the case when Bush decided to change the term "private account" to "personal account" because the latter expression played better in the polls. Now they're doing the same thing with the term "nuclear option" as a reference to eliminating the filibuster. The polls show that people react negatively to the word, "nuclear" so the new politically correct expression is "constitutional option". Molly Ivins is having none of it as she explains in her article entitled, "Christian right goes nuclear":

...I have to say this is a distinctly Orwellian development.

In fact, given the implicit threat that the Republican Party faithful will be encouraged to denounce all news outlets that do not conform to this new political correctness, I'd say it is not only ridiculous but also dangerous, quite a feat.

I shall, of course, continue to refer to the proposed change as the nuclear option out of a sense of obligation to freedom of speech. I would be shocked if anyone in the media did otherwise.

She goes on to discuss the issue:

Look, this is a system of government based on protecting the rights of the minority. It is also based on the premise that there are three separate branches of government, each of which forms a check and a balance on the others. It was carefully designed to prevent the dictatorship of the majority.

That is why the Founders assigned the Senate, not the House, to advise and consent on federal nominations. Sen. Robert Byrd, the resident scholar of all things senatorial, notes that while Rule 22 is only 86 years old, the tactic itself has been used since the first Congress. (Hearing Byrd hold forth on such matters is pure pleasure -- whether you agree with him or not, he is a magnificent speaker of the old school and a sad reminder how debased most political speech is today.)

How God got involved in all this is a bit of a mystery. Some Christian Dominionists decided the Almighty is in favor of changing Rule 22. Led by James Dobson, who runs Focus on the Family, they decided 22 is "a filibuster against the faithful," implying and in some cases stating that anyone who opposes them is anti-Christian and probably working for Satan.

God has become the reliable trump card. Or Satan. Sometimes it's hard to discern which the so-called Christian right values most.

1 comment:

  1. Just for the record, I think Bush's original term was nucular option.


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