||Politicians, Pomp and Pretense
Jan LaRue ] [writer,
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 -
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
LaRue is Chief Counsel and Legal Studies Director
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).
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
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
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:
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).
doesn't like William G. Myers, another 9th Circuit nominee, because he
isn't green enough for environmental extremists and the trial lawyer's
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).
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. ï¿½ 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
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:
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
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
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
2006 Concerned Women of America