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LaRue Politicians, Pomp and Pretense
[by Jan LaRue ] [writer, attorney] 10/17/06

Members of the U.S. Senate love being called "the world's greatest deliberative body."  It has that ring of nobility, respectability, kiss-kiss, "you look mahvelous, dahling."  Whoever coined the term and applied it to the Senate should issue a retraction in light of the juvenile gibberish and obstructionist antics of some members.
Contributor -
Jan LaRue

Jan LaRue is not your usual Washington political commando or Ivy League-trained insider. She is not your power-suit-wearing, dinner-party-schmoozing, headline-grabbing Beltway operator. / What she is, though, is a street fighter -- a Christian one, armed with a law degree.

- Washington Post 1/9/06

Jan LaRue is Chief Counsel and Legal Studies Director for Concerned Women of America. [go to LaRue index]

John Podhoretz posted his thoughts about the Senate on National Review's blog, Jan. 9, 2006: "I HATE THE SENATE.  There.  I said it.  Every Senator needs to encounter Harpo Marx, who will cut off their ties, eat their gloves and spray them with seltzer, which will lead every Senator to say, 'Why, you....' whereupon Harpo will blow his little pocket horn a couple of times."

In an oxymoronic attempt to hang on to the revered title back in 2005, then-Sen. Frank Lautenberg (D-New Jersey) "displayed a larger-than-life poster of Ian McDiarmid playing the evil Supreme Chancellor Palpatine in the just-released film 'Star Wars: Revenge of the Sith.'"  Lautenberg opposed Republican efforts to end filibustering of judicial nominees.  "We will move from the world's greatest deliberative body to a rubber-stamp factory," Lautenberg lamented.  (Dana Milbank, "The Chamber Meets the Force," Washington Post, May 20, 2006, A05).

Lautenberg's "inspiration" may have been his new Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nevada) who responded to the threatened demise of judicial filibusters with one of his silver-tongued orations: "I know procedures around here.  And I know that there will still be Senate business conducted.  But I will, for lack of a better word, screw things up."  (Helen DeWar and Mike Allen, "GOP May Target Use of Filibuster," Washington Post, Dec. 13, 2004, A01).

Some words are worthy of marble, some aren't worth a "Post-it."

"Deliberate," according to Webster, is "a discussion and consideration by a group of persons of the reasons for and against a measure."  Translation: "Does my feckless finger sense a propitious political wind blowing for a pet project or election?"

Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-California) often admits when "deliberating" that she is "deeply disturbed."  It generally means the majority is trying to do something that got them elected.

Di-Fi is currently carping about the shortage of judges on the 9th Circuit.  Nonetheless, week before last she left a Senate Judiciary Committee (SJC) executive meeting in a huff threatening to filibuster Randy Smith, a nominee to the 9th Circuit.

Is she questioning Smith's integrity?  No.  Is it his qualifications or judicial temperament?  Au contraire.  Apparently, Feinstein has confused Smith with Mr. Potato Head.  She doesn't like Smith because he's from Idaho:

The Senate Judiciary Committee approved an Idaho judge Thursday for a seat on the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, but Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., vowed to block full Senate action.  The 10-8 party line vote came after Feinstein stormed out of the committee room to try to deny a quorum to approve the nomination of 6th District Judge Randy Smith.  Feinstein wants the judgeship to go to a California judge.  (Associated Press, Sept. 22, 2006).

Feinstein doesn't like William G. Myers, another 9th Circuit nominee, because he isn't green enough for environmental extremists and the trial lawyer's lobby:

Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), a pivotal member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, disclosed Tuesday that she would vote against President Bush's choice of William G. Myers III for a seat on the U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals a move likely to trigger a filibuster of the nomination. (Henry Weinstein, Los Angeles Times, Mar. 24, 2006).

Can we hear it again for that "Gang of 14" deal promising that nominees would "only be filibustered under extraordinary circumstances"?  Everybody in the 9th Circuit ought to be extraordinarily exasperated with Di-Fi's wily ways.

Feinstein forfeited any right to have her concerns about judicial nominees taken seriously after she opposed confirmation of both Judges John Roberts and Samuel Alito to the U.S. Supreme Court.  She voted against Roberts after saying about him: "I think that there is no question that he has many stellar qualities, certainly a brilliant legal mind and a love and abiding respect for the law.  And I think a sense for its scope and complexity as well."  (Statement by Senator Dianne Feinstein in Opposition to the Nomination of Judge John G. Roberts Jr. to be Chief Justice, Sept. 22, 2005, http://feinstein.senate.gov/05releases/r-robertsvote.htm).

Roberts was born in New York.  Maybe she got Buffalo confused with Idaho.

Feinstein's opposition to Alito's nomination was equally indefensible and partisan.  She left no doubt it was all about abortion.  "It has nothing to do with his qualifications and his credentials. � If one is pro-choice in this day and age, with the balance of the Court in question, one can't vote for Judge Alito.  It is that simple."  (Statement of Senator Dianne Feinstein on Judiciary Committee Vote on the nomination of Judge Samuel Alito to be an Associate Justice of the Supreme Court, Jan. 24, 2006, http://feinstein.senate.gov/06releases/r-alito-hear012406.htm). 

Then there's Sen. Dick Durbin (D-Illinois) who voted "pro-life" before he voted "pro-choice."  Durbin deliberated with his political finger in the wind and followed the campaign money.

Despite passage of the Child Custody Protection Act (CCPA), S. 403, by a 65-34 vote in the Senate, Durbin and Harry Reid (who actually voted for the bill, which of course, permits him to continue fooling the Nevada folks that he's pro-life) led the charge for the Democratic caucus to block the bill from moving to a Senate-House conference committee.

Durbin used a rare procedural device to keep the committee from deliberating and reaching a compromise on differences between the House and Senate bills.  The CCPA, if enacted, would make it a criminal offense to transport minors across state lines for an abortion without their parents' consent.  Polling shows that 70 percent of Americans support the bill.

Lest anyone thinks Republican capers escape us, consider the well-known RINO (Republican in Name Only) from Rhode Island, Sen. Lincoln Chafee: "It's not my party, I'll defy if I want to."

The governor of Rhode Island appointed Chafee in 1999 to the Senate seat left vacant by his father's death.  In his first election bid, Chafee barely escaped defeat in Rhode Island's Republican primary on September 14, 2006, but not without backing from the national Republican Party.  Those cock-eyed optimists in the GOP "explained" their swallow-hard support for Chafee as vital to sustain their majority in the Senate.

How bad does it have to get before the Capitol Police start testing for DWI-deliberating while inane?

And what did Lil' Lincoln do to show his appreciation?  He's blocking confirmation of John Bolton as U.S. Ambassador to the U.N., whose recess appointment expires in January 2007:

Administration officials have been trying to answer concerns from Rhode Island Republican Sen. Lincoln Chafee, who last week moved to delay a vote on Bolton and demanded answers on the administration's Middle East policies.

The national Republican Party made a last-minute surge to help Chafee win a difficult Republican primary challenge in Rhode Island Tuesday even though the moderate senator has voted against many of Bush's priorities and did not vote for his re-election in 2004. [You might want to read that one again.]

Chafee holds the decisive vote on Bolton in the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, and whether he would drop his objections to Bolton was unclear since he is likely to face a strong Democratic challenger in the November election and may not want to be seen as helping Bush. (Newsmax, September 14, 2006, http://www.newsmax.com/archives/ic/2006/9/14/141954.shtml?s=lh.)

The White House is complaining of partisan politics.  Oh, help me Rhonda!

Bolton's critics complain of his sometimes "abrasive" ways and "hawkish and outspoken views on Iran, the Middle East and the United Nations."  Unless the Senate confirms him, he will be left with another recess appointment, which will reduce him to Acting Ambassador and undermine his authority.

Speaking of the Unbalanced Nations, since Hulk Hogan isn't available, is there a better guy than Bolton to have around when Hugo Chavez, the Venezuelan dipstick in chief, maligns and mocks our President in front of a pack of pompous "deliberators" about how to be more anti-American while wasting our tax dollars

copyright 2006 Concerned Women of America





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