In the comments to this post below discussing Bob Dole’s politiely (albeit one-sided) view of the judicial nominee impasse, a commenter wrote that Boib Dole is a “hatchet-man.” I wonder what that makes Al Gore, who has made careless and an inflammatory rhetoric an art-form:
In a speech Wednesday to members of the MoveOn.org Political Action Committee, former Vice President Al Gore called possible attempts to change Senate rules on filibusters “a poison pill for America’s democracy” and “a dangerous American heresy…”
In the prepared version of his speech, Gore said he was “genuinely dismayed and deeply concerned by the recent actions of some Republican leaders to undermine the rule of law by demanding the Senate be stripped of its right to unlimited debate where the confirmation of judges is concerned.”
Gore urged Senate leaders to “halt their efforts to break the Senate’s rules.”
I wonder if he delivered it in revivalist minister fashion, or maybe he just does that at black churches before elections. At any rate, a couple quick points from this excerpt:
1.) I wish the Senate could play nice, but they can’t. There are no grown-ups anymore. Regardless, this is not going to poison democracy- unless of course you think letting elected officials vote on judicial nominees means the end of democracy. I don’t.
2.) No one is undermining the rule of law- this is completely legal.
3.) There has not been unlimited debate. If there were unlimited debate, the Democrats would lose. People would watch two weeks of debate on the nominees and finally start to say to themselves- “Why don’t they just vote on the damned guy.” Which, of course, is precisely what the Republicans are suggesting.
If you think the public would get pissed at you shutting down the Senate (which they won’t- there is a marked difference between shutting down the Senate and shutting down the government), you should try to see how pissed the public will get when you bore them to death with a month of wall to wall Senate debate on one nominee.
4.) No one is going to break Senate rules. They are going to break with tradition and CHANGE the rules.
At any rate, I do have to admit to having a few chuckles that the party which in general believes in a living Constitution open to interpretation and modernization somehow has worked itself into a lather about Senate organizing rules, which, if you believe Al Gore, are sacrosanct.
C’mon Democrats- pull yourself together. I don’t like this change of rules, either, but it will not be the end of the world. You guys are starting to sound like Andrew Sullivan. Or me.