The modern Democrat Party has a bad problem with whining and weaseling. They’ve called Republicans every kind of evil wickedness in wildly inappropriate ways. Thus they’ve gotten to the point that they don’t have any credibility the times when Republican congressional leadership really do act like dirtbags.
The classic current example comes in Democrat demagoguery about judicial filibusters and the constitutional nuclear option. [Note how I incorporated both sides names in a fair and balanced manner- like Fox News.] The Democratic Grand Wizard of Constitutional Scholarship Robert Byrd [how do you like that title?) set the talking point repeated ad nauseum: Republican threats to make a perhaps questionable parliamentary move to change cloture from a super majority to a simple majority vote for judicial confirmations would constitute the end of free speech and open debate. The frickin’ sky is falling.
This argument is transparently dishonest. These filibusters are not about people getting to say their piece. They represent instead simple parliamentary obstructionism. Actual filibusters generally devolve into reading the phone book or some such non-productive waste of effort.
Yet HERE is a case where Democrats would have at least a half reasonable beef with House Judiciary Committee Chairman James Sensenbrenner, and his recent heavy handed behavior.
The Republican chairman walked off with the gavel, leaving Democrats shouting into turned-off microphones at a raucous hearing Friday on the Patriot Act.
The House Judiciary Committee hearing, with the two sides accusing each other of being irresponsible and undemocratic, came as President Bush was urging Congress to renew those sections of the post-Sept. 11 counterterrorism law set to expire in September.
Rep. James Sensenbrenner, R-Wis., chairman of the panel, abruptly gaveled the meeting to an end and walked out, followed by other Republicans. Sensenbrenner declared that much of the testimony, which veered into debate over the detainees at Guantanamo Bay, was irrelevant.
Now see, THIS is stifling reasonable free debate on particularly critical public policy issues. The Democrats wanted to bring in some critics of the Patriot Act to testify, and Chairman Sensenbrenner was having none of it. Meeting adjourned! Very clever.
Yet the Democrats will not get much mileage out of this, cause they’ve already screamed their lungs out about evil Republicans to such an extent that no one’s going to hear when something really is whack like this.
To give the Republicans some credit though, my local congressman Mike Pence made a strong but valid complaint against Amnesty International.
Tempers flared when Rep. Mike Pence, R-Ind., accused Amnesty International of endangering the lives of Americans in uniform by referring to the prison at Guantanamo Bay as a “gulag.” Sensenbrenner didn’t allow the Amnesty representative, Chip Pitts, to respond until Nadler raised a “point of decency.”
Again Sensenbrenner being ridiculously heavy handed, but Pence makes a good point. When they talk stuff like this gulag nonsense, Amnesty International is willfully inflaming the well known violent pathologies of Arab and Muslim cultures with obviously baseless claims. This faked up gulag nonsense does nothing but give the borderline schmucks an excuse.