Wednesday, October 05, 2005

Rattling 22 Cages

(You knew I was due for “a long one,” didn’t you?)

I referred a few days ago to “a special project” I was working on, and I’m now ready to unveil what it is.

I know right now everyone is focusing on Dubya’s nomination of Harriet Miers for the U.S. Supreme Court, and I have to admit that it’s interesting and a little bit fun to watch all of the political theater going on; all the posturing and fits by people like Richard Viguerie telling “the base” not to support Miers (as well as George Will’s tantrum that I linked to previously). I cannot possibly imagine why they would feel this way because Miers is anti-choice to the core, but I must tell you that, the minute I start to understand the thought processes of a “social conservative,” that will be the day when I will be officially ready for the “booby hatch.”

(By the way, and correct me if I’m wrong of course, but didn’t Dick Cheney do the same thing Miers did when he was looking for a Vice Presidential candidate to run with Dubya for 2000, and that was to throw out all the applicants and put himself on the ticket instead? Apparently, Miers reviewed a list of SCOTUS nominees and threw them out also in favor of herself (and we KNOW what that says about Dubya that, in both cases, that was considered to be acceptable behavior).

Well, even though everyone is looking towards what proves to be an interesting process with Miers, I am still contemplating the utter cave-in of the minority party on John Roberts’ confirmation as Chief Justice of the U.S. Supreme Court. Also, it is astonishing to me that nary a word was mentioned by our dear MSM cousins of the fact that it is unusual to say the least that a sitting SCOTUS justice was not named as Chief Justice (I suppose, logically, the only one who would have been considered would have been Scalia, and it’s hard for me to get upset that he got rooked on that deal).

Just as a reminder, here is a list of the 22 Democratic senators who voted to confirm John Roberts as Chief Justice:

Max Baucus (MT)
Jeff Bingaman (NM)
Robert Byrd (WV)
Tom Carper (DE)
Kent Conrad (ND)
Christopher Dodd (CT)
Byron Dorgan (ND)
Russell Feingold (WI)
Tim Johnson (SD)
Herb Kohl (WI)
Mary Landrieu (LA)
Patrick Leahy (VT)
Carl Levin (MI)
Joe Lieberman (CT)
Blanche Lincoln (AR)
Patty Murray (WA)
Bill Nelson (FL)
Ben Nelson (NE)
Mark Pryor (AR)
Jay Rockefeller (WV)
Ken Salazar (CO)
Ron Wyden (OR)
In light of this most recent example of Democratic acquiescence on the Roberts vote, I prepared the following letter and sent it to all 22 Democratic senators who voted for the Roberts confirmation via “snail mail”:

Dear Senator,

I am writing to you with a request based on your vote to confirm John Roberts as Chief Justice for the United States Supreme Court.

I’m not sure if you were familiar with the following information, but even though Roberts has been confirmed, I wish to bring this to your attention. These are highlights (if you will) of Roberts’ activity in appointments he held prior to his confirmation, specifically regarding the area of civil rights (from Tom McMahon of The Democratic Party).

Metro Broadcasting v FCC (1990)

Roberts argued against letting the FCC use affirmative action in distributing broadcast licenses. This case was a rare instance of the Solicitor General stepping in to block an action of the federal government to increase opportunity.

Board of Education of Oklahoma City v Dowell (1991)

In a brief signed by John Roberts, the Solicitor General's office argued against a court ruling that ordered a school district to prevent racial segregation. Roberts's brief opposed the efforts of African American families to argue that Oklahoma schools would become segregated again.

Freeman v Pitts (1992)

Roberts signed a brief urging the Supreme Court to overturn a lower-court decision that required a Georgia school district to ensure its schools were fully desegregated.

Lee v Weisman (1992)

Roberts filed a Supreme Court brief arguing that a school district should be permitted to invite clergy to lead public prayers at a graduation ceremony.

Voinovich v Quilter (1993)

Roberts co-authored a brief supporting an Ohio redistricting plan that minority voters said violated the Voting Rights Act by concentrating minority voters in a small number of districts.

It has always been my understanding that The Democratic Party has championed civil rights over the last 40 years, beginning with the passage of the Voting Rights Act and other “Great Society” programs passed during the administration of President Lyndon B. Johnson. However, your vote in the Roberts confirmation stands in stark contrast to that shining legacy. It is safe to say that, personally speaking, your action does not represent any cause or organization to which I have owed my allegiance over many years.

That is why I am asking you to leave the Democratic Party.

By voting to confirm John Roberts, you have shown that you now are more closely aligned to the interests of The Republican Party than those of the party to which you currently profess your support.

The division and disunity shown in the Roberts confirmation vote is the reason why the majority of the people in this country do not trust The Democratic Party to govern this country in a responsible manner. How can they trust the party when the party cannot even govern itself? How can they think that The Democratic Party can owe allegiance to anyone when its leader in the Senate, Harry Reid, professes his opposition to Roberts, but then 22 Democratic members of this body choose to ignore Reid’s advice?

Howard Dean has said that there is “a respectful disagreement” among the members of the party on the Roberts confirmation. As the minority party, the Democrats can’t afford “respectful disagreement.” They are supposed to act LIKE A MINORTY PARTY IS SUPPOSED TO ACT! They are supposed to act as the Republican Party acted under the first two years of President Clinton’s administration, and ESPECIALLY the way the Republican Party acted for the rest of the Clinton presidency (introducing articles of impeachment against Bush, whose crimes far outweigh any of Clinton’s misdeeds, is a good start).

When George W. Bush became president, he said “Trust me, I’m a ‘compassionate conservative’,” and we know what has happened with that promise. When he decided to go to war against Iraq, he said, “Trust me, Saddam Hussein has WMD.” Now, John Roberts appeared before the Senate and said, “Trust me, I’m not an ideologue.” As Harry Truman once said, “how many times do you have to get hit over the head before you realize who it is who’s hitting you?”

To assist you in the process of changing your party affiliation, you can use your computer to navigate to the following secure Internet web address:

You can complete the form (a partial sample is attached) and include all pertinent information, including areas of special interest where you can bring your expertise to create legislation that favors the party and its agenda.

If the 22 Democratic senators who voted to confirm John Roberts leave the Democratic Party, the party will be relegated to minority party status for many years to come. However, if the party continues to split in two on key votes such as the Roberts confirmation, that is going to happen anyway.

I wish you the best of luck in your future endeavors.


The Liberal Doomsayer

(Yes, I really did attach a sample of the GOP registration form with my letter.)

Are they going to do what I propose in the letter? Of course not. But the reason why I did what I did was primarily because I was sick and tired of watching Democrats in Congress hand Bush easy victory after easy victory after easy victory (and why do I have this sinking feeling that Bushco outfoxed Harry Reid on the Miers nomination? God, I hope I’m wrong in that one.)

Of all 22 of the Senators on the list, I hated calling out Pat Leahy the most (and apparently, Carl Levin stood up today for an independent commission to look into allegations of torture by our military, and Levin is absolutely right to do so). Russ Feingold had stood tall recently until that vote also. But even though Kerry, Clinton and Obama voted “nay” on Roberts, they each also voted for the tort “deform” legislation and the fraud bankruptcy bill.

Update 1/2/07: I found out later that I was incorrect on Kerry and Obama voting for the bankruptcy bill - I relied on incorrect information in that case.

Update 6/30/08: I should have added that Clinton didn't vote on the bill because it was the day that Bill needed a bypass operation (h/t to Avedon Carol for that).

Basically, the Democrats (as usual) have to get themselves together and get on the same page and NEVER FORGET their core constituency. If they do (as I said in the letter), they might as well be Republicans.

I have to admit, though, that the brightest hope is that the Party apparently has so many candidates willing to run from the ground up to rebuild its base. How cool is it that Paul Hackett is taking on Mike De Wine for the Senate seat in Ohio? The only problem is that the Swift Boat Liars will have plenty of time to reform themselves and come up with more slime on Hackett. Also, as we know, fellow Iraq War vet Patrick Murphy is taking on Mike Fitzpatrick for the U.S. congressional seat in our district (three other Iraq War vets are running also for the U.S. Congress).

What I did was probably simple minded, but If nothing else, I’m trying to reconcile the idiotic disconnect between what the organization is telling its “grass roots” supporters and the conduct of the national party leaders. The Republicans win, unfortunately, because…they…march…as…one…on…all…levels. The Democrats will NEVER win anything again unless they learn this and fix their problem.

If somehow I hear from any of the senators on this, I will let you know.

Update 10/10/05: As Atrios noted yesterday, The National Review recently had a 50th anniversary bash (white hoods were optional, I'm sure), and a Republicrat on the list above attended the festivities. I'll give you three guesses...

Update 10/11/05: Wow, did some guy named Marshall Wittman of the DLC get his shorts in a knot with Gilliard, Kos and Atrios over what I referred to above. I'm too far below the radar to rate a mention on that...that's OK.

Update 6/30/08: Concerning Hangin' Judge JR, is everybody happy now?

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