THAT WAS THE FILIBUSTER THAT WAS Step right up folks, the Big Top has come to Washington. Our nation’s capitol has been turned into an arena of absurdity. If you haven’t been watching, you have really missed quite a show. Ring Master Orin Hatch has kicked things off, while one of the best clowns on the floor is our esteemed Senator and Majority Leader Bill Frist. Cotton candy and balloons filled with hot gas should be available for the 30 hour extravaganza between Republicans and Democrats. I had gotten pumped when hearing that finally, all one hundred Senators were going to get together in one place to discuss and deliberate. That over three million citizens are unemployed, that a majority of seniors can no longer afford their prescription drugs, that workers losing jobs daily to countries overseas, that growing numbers of families cannot survive with two incomes making minimum wage, and that 394 American soldiers have died while 2,298 have been wounded in Iraq surely were some of the subjects the leaders would be talking over. But had the Senate pulled an all nighter to address any of these critical matters? Nooooo!! It was engaged in a fight over George W. Bush’s stalled judicial nominees. The Republican Senate’s proposterous attitude and inability to accept defeat precipitated a most ridiculous exercise in food fight governance. Grown men and women became ranting brats at the toy store check-out, “ It’s not fair! We want our judicial nominees to be confirmed and we want every single one of them to be confirmed - NOW!” Republicans are enraged because Democrats this year have sustained filibusters against four of Bush’s most right wing federal court nominees. The other 168 candidates have been approved resulting in a 98 percent rate of confirmation; however, because Democrats have refused to approve four, Republicans have decided to demonstrate a marathon diatribe hissy fit. The four nominees who have not been confirmed have controversial records on rulings regarding race, guns, and abortion. After long and rancerous deliberation, Democrats are exercising their right to withhold consent under the Constitution’s “advise and consent” clause. They have been advised by Bush but they are not giving consent. Republicans used the same Senatorial power during President Clinton’s tenure to block a total of 63 judicial nominees. After capturing the majority in Congress, they suddenly began to stress stridently that the nation was in a crisis and the need for judges was urgent. Perhaps is was, but they refused to explain which party had created the crisis; now that Democrats have refused to confirm only four nominess out of 168, the Republicans are apoplectic. Talk about rank hypocrisy! So after all the stunts and flips are orchestrated for FOX news - after all the bellicose carping and whining - after all the angry name calling and arguing is over, what will happen? Republicans will seek a vote on Friday on a proposed rule change to effectively end fillibusters on nominations. Democrats probably have the votes to block it. The bloodshed in Iraq will go on. Millions of jobs will still be gone. Nothing will change. So turn on C-Span, get out the peanuts and bring in the clowns. The folly has begun. Trust me, you won’t be laughing.


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