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March 02, 2005

Comments

Wouldn't it be great if, instead of wasting your ire on a Democrat who filibustered the Civil Rights Act in 1964, which had the primary intention of "enforcing the constitutional right to vote" you were ireful against Republicans who, today, oppose minorities making use of their contitutional right to vote? I have never seen you write in anger against the way Jeb Bush ensured so many black people were not permitted to vote in Florida in the 2000 election, nor your objections to his delaying those illegally removed from the electoral roll for 2000 past his own gubernational election in 2002.

Supporting the 1964 Civil Rights Act in 2005 is a very safe course of action. It's kind of like declaring yourself unambiguously opposed to the Dred Scott decision, a hundred and fifty years after it happened.

What would take guts would be standing up to your party's opposition to minority voting today.

I thought this was Bird Dog. That's not a compliment.

I'm with my Senator Byrd on this one. Bush already has had more cooperation from Democrats than Clinton.

Maybe he should just settle for moderate conservative judges, instead of constitution in exile types who want to make the New Deal unconstitutional.

Nice to see a democrat with a spine!!!

I have never seen you write in anger against the way Jeb Bush ensured so many black people were not permitted to vote in Florida in the 2000 election, nor your objections to his delaying those illegally removed from the electoral roll for 2000 past his own gubernational election in 2002.

Despite repeated requests from me for you to substantiate this claim, you still have not done so. Please cough up something (ANYTHING would be nice) that in some way backs up this claim.

something ANYTHING

I thought this was Bird Dog

ditto

Despite repeated requests from me for you to substantiate this claim, you still have not done so.

I've repeatedly posted links to sites substantiating this claim, all of which you have asserted don't prove a thing.

Like convincing you that there were no WMD in Iraq: when you're determined to believe otherwise, Slarti, it's evident that no facts will persuade you, and there's no point me running around finding you the facts to have you ignore them. Repeatedly.

Comparing modification of the filibuster rule for judicial nominations to Hitler is a bit much.

We are all capable of selective outrage, but it does seem to have become a specialty of the Right these days (e.g. compare reactions to Eason Jordan and Condi "historical document" Rice).

In this case, why single out Byrd ("..former....used to..." - no second acts allowed I guess), when there are conservatives calling the state of the Union proto-fascist? I can look up sources if you want, but I assume you might have heard this too.

I will get my second cup of coffee and try to think of other examples of bare majorities using legality as a means of suppressing dissent. Robespierre, initiating the Terror? You like that better?

Believe it or not, our founders did not intend a "winner-take-all" system where 51% of the votes gives absolute and unbridled power. "The consent of the governed" when the majority are the "governors" is not to be dismissed as the whining of losers.

Comparing modification of the filibuster rule for judicial nominations to Hitler is a bit much.

Why?

We are talking about selecting the people who in the future will have the opportunity of selecting the President despite the fact that the plurality of the people voted for the other guy!

I've repeatedly posted links to sites substantiating this claim, all of which you have asserted don't prove a thing.

This is what you keep saying, yes. So far, though, you've managed to sustain several dozen replies (elsewhere, for those who don't know what the hell I'm talking about) to this request for links without providing anything more than a link to the USCCR report, which doesn't say what you seem to think it does.

The USCCR doesn't actually even MAKE the claim that deliberate disenfranchisement was even attempted, never mind accomplished. Unless you've got something more substantial than you've supplied to date, you've built this claim on quicksand.

As for Byrd, the only sign I can see that anyone, anywhere takes him seriously is that he continues to be reelected by his constituency. Anyone here going to stand up for Byrd?

I thought this was Bird Dog. That's not a compliment.

If you can't find anything mildly humorous or even amusingly ironic about a former Klan kleagle warning about the perils of fascism, I suggest that perhaps baggage claim has misplaced your sense of humor.

Two things need to happen:

Senator Byrd must move to the Republican Party to complete Nixon's southern strategy. Now, that would be funny!

If Cheney's filibuster jihad is enacted, and these activist judges, who will over the coming years declare much of the federal government unconstitutional, are thereby seated, then "nuclear options" should become the province of both parties. Why should republicans have all the fun?

After all, Robespierre was able to operate for only a few years with his head intact.

You want irony? How about the State Department criticizing Canada on human rights? Yum, full of irony goodness.

http://www.thestar.com/NASApp/cs/ContentServer?pagename=thestar/Layout/Article_Type1&call_pageid=971358637177&c=Article&cid=1109589540410

Well, I guess by your standards you must consider that bush is still a cokehead and his conversion to born again status is laughable, right?

If you can't find anything mildly humorous or even amusingly ironic about a former Klan kleagle warning about the perils of fascism, I suggest that perhaps baggage claim has misplaced your sense of humor.

i see you use the word "former". we all agree it means "at one time, but not now", right ?

hmmm....

folks, let's bring it down a notch, shall we. Thank you.

It's entirely correct, if uncharitable, for those aligned with the party of Lincoln to point out the irony in this instance. However they would do well to note the equal irony that this comes from the party of the 'Southern Strategery'.

If you can't find anything mildly humorous or even amusingly ironic about a former Klan kleagle warning about the perils of fascism, I suggest that perhaps baggage claim has misplaced your sense of humor.

Well, like everyone thinks they are a good driver, I think I have a good sense of humor. If you think Seb should start working the standup circuit, do let him know, but I would urge him to keep his day job. My feeling that if this was meant to be 'mildly humorous or even amusingly ironic', he should check the sledgehammer at the door.

For me, the big laugh line is 'trying to limit fillibusters in a very specific case.' Hey, it's only for judges, we republicans wouldn't do that for something important, right?'

I would be very interested in discussing exactly what people feel about the notion of filibuster, perhaps some educated observations about the blue slip process (if I have my colors correct), where we need to limit minority ability to slow up the decisions of majority (maybe we should just have the Dems sit outside the chamber and when they hear something they don't like, shout out 'veto', a la the Romans) I realize that it wouldn't been a yuk fest, but it would be interesting. Maybe I'm missing the purpose of the exercise here.

As for laughs, while cleek brought a smile to my face, regina gets my vote. You go, girl!

Byrd's language? over the top.

A post that mocks hyperbolic language on a serious issue, while ignoring the issue -- trivial.

"A post that mocks hyperbolic language on a serious issue, while ignoring the issue -- trivial."

A poster who is capable of realizing the difference and not getting sidetracked by such trivia -- priceless.

It is not completely out of line to inject Byrd's history here, tho partly for reasons Slart may not recognize( or might). Over on another thread we are indirectly discussing Texas's federalist right to define for itself the proper age for minority execution.

Byrd, with his racist history, does understand the purpose of the filibuster in protecting the political rights of minority states from domination by the majority. Was his purpose then (or if not him, then Thurmond) the perpetuation of discrimination and Jim Crow, or was the filibuster used to protect federalism?

If you can't find anything mildly humorous or even amusingly ironic about a former Klan kleagle warning about the perils of fascism

I do, actually (and Alanis Morrisette does too, I'll bet).

Now does the irony of this situation depend on the assumption that Byrd was once a bad guy who, knowing better now, fights against what he once was; or the assumption that Byrd is still a Klan kleagle in hiding, who now merely mouths hypocritical words? Any one care to elaborate?

"There has got to be some sort of irony god laughing when a former member of the Klan...."

People who look for something to bash Democrats with find themselves unable to mention Byrd without mentioning this. The fact that it was sixty years ago, and that he long since repented is, of course, irrelevant.

A similar tack would be to never, ever, ever, mention Bill Frist without mentioning his killing kittens he obtained by fraud, or to never, ever, ever, mention Trent Lott without first stating that he said that we'd all be better off if Strom Thurmond had been elected President in 1948, or to never, ever, ever, mention President Bush without referring to him as "the formerly drunk driver Bush," or to refer to Laura Bush as a killer (she killed someone, you know).

Except, of course, that those are all far more recent than sixty years ago, so there's vastly more reason to mention these things.

But, let's be clear: either there's no statute of limitations in what we should be haranguing people about, or there is. There's no way a fair person can apply one set of time limitations for Republicans and another for Democrats.

Unless, of course, they're being intellectually dishonest. And, of course, no one wants to deliberately engage in that, right?

Otherwise, be sure never to refer to Ted Kennedy without reference to drowning and bridges. And never refer to George W. Bush except as "that drunk."

Alternatively, recognize that this is a cheap and dishonest rhetorical device which might conceivably make anyone who uses it look childish and foolish.

"...for trying to limit fillibusters in a very specific case."

"Judicial nominations" is not "a very specific case." (And, of course, the Democrats blocked all of ten Bush judicial nominations out of hundreds, while the Republicans blocked over ten times as many Clinton judicial nominations, but that was Republicans doing their duty in a strictly nonpartisan way, of course.)

Well, I guess by your standards you must consider that bush is still a cokehead and his conversion to born again status is laughable, right?

Well, if him being a cokehead was more of a fact than a meme, yes.

His language is probably unhelpful and maybe even unhinged. But on the issue of the nuclear option, anything less than physical attacks on the Senate floor is the height of moderation.

I just want to see them pull out the canes again. I'll bring the popcorn.

He is not comparing Republicans to Hitler, precisely. He is comparing the change in the rules governing the filibuster--using the ridiculous argument that filibustering judicial nominations is unconstitutional--to the Reichstag's change in the Enabling Law in 1933. It is still a psilly and offensive comparison, but it is not quite the same thing, because there are be cases where someone's actions have a real historical parallel in 1930s Germany and pointing out that parallel is legitimate. When someone says, "read a speech and substitute 'Jew' for 'Homosexual activists'; does it remind you of anything?"--they probably have 1930s Germany, among other things, in mind. And that's perfectly legitimate, and it's not a suggestion that James Dobson is plotting genocide.

This certainly isn't one of the situations where it is legitimate, but dude, I could have predicted that Robert Byrd would see it as one. He's 89 years old and has an unusually personal relationship with the rules of the Senate.

And I don't believe for a second that this won't be extended to other filibusters. You guys do NOT exactly have an impressive track record as far as abusing your power and have given us exactly no reason to trust you. Frist's constitutional argument is that the founders knew how to require a supermajority and they didn't require it in the "advice and consent" provision. Well, they didn't require it in the ordinary provisions about passing laws either.

And just a fact I like to throw out to those who argue that the filibuster must be changed because it is undemocratic:

the Democratic Senatorial candidates received more votes than the Republican Senatorial candidates last November. The 44 + 1 Democratic Senators represent more people than the 55 Republican Senators.

The Senate is undemocratic. So is the electoral college. So is the house (ultra-partisan redistricting and underrepresentation of the large states--California has 70something times as many people as Wyoming but 50something times as many representatives.) So is the Constitutional amendment process. (every state has an equal vote). Right now, all of them are undemocratic in a way that harms the same people. That those people should use the filibuster to defend themselves--I really don't lose any sleep over it. The filibuster is undemocratic in a way that can protect black people or white people, Democrats or Republicans, just and unjust laws, alike. The other things are not only undemocratic, but ALWAYS aid residents of small population states at the expense of residents of large population states.

Surprised there's been no comment on this site about the recent terrorist act in Chicago directed against a judge.

Oh my God. I hadn't seen that.

I thought about writing about that yesterday, but (a) I was busy with Turkmenistan, and (b) there didn't seem to be any hard evidence as to who the killers were, which made much of what I felt like saying seem premature.

I saw it and felt the same way as hilzoy. Until there's evidence the white supremist had anything to do with it, I'd rather not comment.

Surprised there's been no comment on this site about the recent terrorist act in Chicago directed against a judge.

I'm a little puzzled that this is the first time I've seen the T word used in connection with this case. It's not like the media is being shy about drawing the connection to white supremacists.

What gives?

People who look for something to bash Democrats with find themselves unable to mention Byrd without mentioning this. The fact that it was sixty years ago, and that he long since repented is, of course, irrelevant.

Am I the only one that considers being a member of the Klan to be a pretty good reason to completely write off a politican as an honorable and respectable figure, even if they've "repented?" Nothing short of completely dedicating themselves to the opposite of their Klan behavior is going to make me want to defend them from the well-earned shame of their previous behavior.

I'm a little puzzled that this is the first time I've seen the T word used in connection with this case.

Americans aren't terrorists.

Until there's evidence the white supremist had anything to do with it, I'd rather not comment.

Come on, guys, I mean, if Bird Dog is going to post stuff about families getting murdered and then blaming Islamic radicals (and subsequently use the "fact" to buttress the argument in a completely different context), while studiously avoiding developments like this most recent one, you guys are definitely going to have to pick up your game and start the rumors flowing at the first opportunity.
/sarcasm

Am I the only one that considers being a member of the Klan to be a pretty good reason to completely write off a politican as an honorable and respectable figure, even if they've "repented?"

If the scare quotes around "repented" are removed, then I for one wouldn't automatically write them off. I certainly believe that people can change their minds over time, sometimes in radical ways. The trick is in being able to distinguish true repentance from political maneuvering.

I certainly believe that people can change their minds over time, sometimes in radical ways.

I believe that as well. However, I'm not seeing any reason why we shouldn't let membership in the KKK be a more or less automatic disqualification from public service. Not by law, but rather I would have thought that others would have shared my view that involvement in this sort of thing is such a profound lapse of judgement and morality that I would never give them my vote or support under any circumstances.

Americans aren't terrorists.

Except for the high-school students.

I believe that as well. However, I'm not seeing any reason why we shouldn't let membership in the KKK be a more or less automatic disqualification from public service.

Perhaps being a southerner colors my view of these things, but down here we are neck deep in such moral ambiguities. I live two streets from "Confederate" avenue in a state where the last governor's race was pretty much decided by folks who were angered that Roy Barnes demoted -- not even removed, but merely reduced in prominence -- the secessionist battle emblem on the state flag. If someone genuinely repents his past sins, and works to undo the damage he has done, then I'm inclined to offer forgiveness. Support for the Klan requires quite a bit of penance as these things go, of course. How this applies to Byrd, the people of West Virginia are better qualified to say than am I.

"Nothing short of completely dedicating themselves to the opposite of their Klan behavior is going to make me want to defend them from the well-earned shame of their previous behavior."

If sixty years passing isn't sufficient, I simply don't know what is. If Byrd making defending the Constitution his priority for his entire Senate career isn't such dedication, I don't know what is.

If we're not holding against people what they said and did thirty years ago -- and if they've changed, I don't see why we should -- I can't see trying to pin something from sixty years ago against someone -- who conveniently happens to be in the opposing political party, as other than partisan convenience.

Of course, many other motives for such reasoning are possible, and I can't know what they are until my mind-scanning helmet comes back from the shop. Any day now!

"However, I'm not seeing any reason why we shouldn't let membership in the KKK be a more or less automatic disqualification from public service."

Sixty. Years. Re-election by the majority of minority voters.

However, if you'd like to argue that anyone who ever voted against one of the Civil Rights bills that is now law, or argued against them, should resign, you might have a more consistent argument. How about rhetorically supporting a policy of segregation? Trent Lott spoke his piece about how much better off we'd be today if we'd elected a segregation President in 1948; is he, also, disqualified from his Senate seat, or is it only Democrats who should be disqualified? Are we actually concerned about the issue of racism, or political party?

A post that mocks hyperbolic language on a serious issue, while ignoring the issue -- trivial.

The issue? You mean that the Senate Democrats--who are facing virtual irrelevance if the nuclear option is invoked--have chosen to let a borderline senile fool with a checkered past and a tendency to stick his foot in his mouth be their most visible spokesperson in opposition to the plan that threatens them? This is like letting that nutty Republican Congressman who wants to nuke Syria have control of the Republican floor time for a debate about the defense budget. Good grief, you've got eloquent speakers on your side--Biden or Obama could easily go out there and make their point without sounding like a deranged escapee from a rest home. If this was my party being this ill-served by its elected representatives on an important issue, I'd be rather ticked off.

Of course, this is the age of Dean--perhaps Robert "KKK" Byrd is considered the kinder and gentler voice for the new order of the Democratic Party.

Scott has no objections to the use of "George 'Drunkard' Bush" and "Laura 'Killer' Bush" and "Trent 'Segregationist' Lott." Noted.

This is like letting that nutty Republican Congressman who wants to nuke Syria have control of the Republican floor time for a debate about the defense budget. Good grief, you've got eloquent speakers on your side--Biden or Obama could easily go out there and make their point without sounding like a deranged escapee from a rest home.

Given Byrd's seniority and the way the Senate works, it probably would have been impossible to stop him from speaking. On the other hand, in the House, there is much less respect for seniority, which is why the Republicans can keep their crazies under wraps and why it was the House that moved to impeach Clinton and why it was the Republican leadership of the Senate that neutered that.

If we're not holding against people what they said and did thirty years ago -- and if they've changed, I don't see why we should

I'm not advocating holding any old thing someone did thirty years ago against any person - I'm simply stating that I think that any term of membership in racist terrorist organizations is something we shouldn't have to accept in our politicians. Period.

However, if you'd like to argue that anyone who ever voted against one of the Civil Rights bills that is now law, or argued against them, should resign, you might have a more consistent argument.

Now that Strom Thurman is gone, another one for whom I tire of excuses being made, I'm not sure how many of these contemptable dinosaurs we've got kicking around. And I'll be happy to see them all gone.

Are we actually concerned about the issue of racism, or political party?

I can't speak for anyone else, but I'm concerned about racism. And I'm sad to see my fellow Democrats making excuses and heaping praise on him because Byrd is getting it right on Senate rules for filibustering - but not concerned at all about the fact that he's been completely wrong on one of the biggest moral issues of the 20th century.

On the other hand, in the House, there is much less respect for seniority, which is why the Republicans can keep their crazies under wraps and why it was the House that moved to impeach Clinton and why it was the Republican leadership of the Senate that neutered that.

I'd say that the two-thirds requirement for removal did the neutering--there was a lot less incentive to vote for removal when the Democrats had decided en masse to play at being the O.J. jury.

Given Byrd's seniority and the way the Senate works, it probably would have been impossible to stop him from speaking.

There's no evidence that Reid even tried to, and a more sedate speech from one of the more eloquent Democrats that explicitly rejected such rhetoric would have been a reasonable response. The Republicans have the power to impose the change being objected to--having "crazy old man babbling about Nazis" being the point man in opposition isn't going to gin up public support for the Democrats.

I'm simply stating that I think that any term of membership in racist terrorist organizations is something we shouldn't have to accept in our politicians.

agreed.

i'll vote against him, as soon as i move to WV.

Scott has no objections to the use of "George 'Drunkard' Bush"

Who am I to question what has been a popular Democratic meme for five years? Carry on--it's worked *so* well for you.

and "Laura 'Killer' Bush"

Feel free--and encourage all of your Democratic friends to so refer to her in public. Better yet, have Senator Byrd do so on the floor of the Senate. I'm sure you'll love the results.

and "Trent 'Segregationist' Lott."

Who?

Noted.

Me too--only I'm giggling as I do it.

A defense of Hitler/Nazi analogies: Everyone knows at least a little about Hitler. Using his career as parallel to current events merely evokes a worst-case scenario. That's completely reasonable if the analogy is a good one. It would make no sense for Byrd to talk about analogies to Kenneth Kaunda, since very few people know who he is. It's not like Byrd is comparing Chaplin to Hitler because they had similar mustaches, or Ghandi to Hitler because they were both short. Comparing an action taken by the Nazis to ensure their power with an action taken to ensure power by one or other of the two parties is reasonable, if a bit hyperbolic.

On the Judicial nominations issue: The bar for judges should be set very high. These people serve for life, and decide questions of life and death. Ensuring that they represent the people they serve in the absolute widest sense possible is not just a good idea, it's fundamental to the administration of justice. Frankly I'd like to see a 75% majority required for all judges. It's not like there's a huge shortage of qualified candidates, and if a few qualified candidates aren't able to muster enough votes, so be it. Better to exclude a few good candidates than to confirm a few bad ones.

Me too--only I'm giggling as I do it.

i always assumed as much

Surprised there's been no comment on this site about the recent terrorist act in Chicago directed against a judge.

I've got one percolating.

"I've got one percolating."

Ask and ye shall.

"Ghandi."

Perennial: Gandhi. Gandhi. Gandhi. It's not hard. It's six letters.

"These people serve for life, and decide questions of life and death."

Judges on senior status rarely decide life and death.

Scott, you aren't under the misimpression that I vote Democrat, are you? I'd love the opportunity to disabuse you of that notion.

No, scratch that -- I prefer to watch you make dumb assumptions. It's more amusing, if only because it reveals the limits of your thinking, which appear to be rather profound. As is the double standard, in that you appear to think that "Robert 'KKK' Byrd" will accomplish something that "George 'Drunkard' Bush" will not.

M. Scott, good substantive comment at 1:07 PM that no one's really responded to in a serious manner. Personally, I think that with Byrd, Reid and Dean the Dems have hit the trifecta if their aim is alienating a majority of voters. Which it seems to be -- watch how the judicial selection filibuster by the Dems (assuming there is one) gets national attention this time around.

Funny how Byrd has so many supporters here for his odious Hitler comparisons, but if someone here were to make the same comment about another poster they'd risk getting banned.

"M. Scott, good substantive comment at 1:07 PM that no one's really responded to in a serious manner."

That would be because there's no serious point to address. Speaking on the floor of the Senate isn't determined by the leadership of either party, and neither leader can do anything at all to stop a Senator from speaking. That's not how the Senate works, and it's not possible.

As a trivial note, Obama isn't going to be stepping up as a major spokesperson in the Senate for years, and isn't going to be put forth by the party as a senior leader. He isn't, and that's also not how the Senate works. (Biden, on the other hand, of course, is a senior Democrat in the Senate, and a leading voice for the party on foreign affairs, although Reid remains the closest thing to an official voice the Democratic Party currently has, along with, yes, Nancy Pelosi (it's somewhat arguable in either direction as to how significant the voice of the party chair ever is; it's somewhat subjective, really, as well as variable depending upon the specific person and the times).

Actually, it isn't funny at all, since neither Robert Byrd, Adolf Hitler not Senate Republicans are ObWi posters here, and the posting rules apply only to people who are. Unless you meant "funny" as in "something I don't like."

So, in all of this, I take it that the lesson to be learned from Sebastian, Scott and tomsyl is that Hitler's place in history was so sui generis that it has nothing to teach us at all and can never be mentioned in any context remotely comparable to anything going on in the United States?

Scott, you aren't under the misimpression that I vote Democrat, are you? I'd love the opportunity to disabuse you of that notion.

How you vote is between you, your conscience, and God, Phil. It's been my experience when I hear riffs like yours, it's coming from a Democrat, but if you're not, that's certainly all right.

As for the effect of bringing up Byrd's past (and recent past at that, if we include such indiscretions as his "white n###er" comments a few years back), I don't know if it will stick. Calling GWB a drunk certainly hasn't done much good, calling Laura Bush a killer will boomerang on the offenders rather spectacularly if done in a widespread forum, and no one really cares about Trent Lott any more except obsessive lefties looking for an easy target.

Yes, dismantling the system of governance via the laws themselves is quite possible and can lead to horrible things, things even so horrible as Hitler's Germany. He didn't say the Republicans were sizing their jackboots. He said 'there but for the grace of sense and reason go we'. Good point. What's the problem?

"As for the effect of bringing up Byrd's past ...I don't know if it will stick."

So the only question to you is whether it's politically effective or not? It hasn't occured to you that it might be morally right or wrong?

M. Scott Eiland said: "...I don't know if it will stick."

It's interesting that the points made to you have been in regard to the logic and consistency of such usages (or lack thereof), and thus their legitimacy (or lack) and your responses have all been in regard to effect.

OK, but just so we're all clear, your intent in doing so is to imply that he currently harbors the same racial feelings he did 60 years ago, right?

I take it that the lesson to be learned from Sebastian, Scott and tomsyl is that Hitler's place in history was so sui generis that it has nothing to teach us at all and can never be mentioned in any context remotely comparable to anything going on in the United States?

Phil, I don't recall ever seeing a point made using the H-word that couldn't have been expressed as effectively in a less offensive way. Byrd is an embarrassment to Congress in general, and has been for several years. Though personally I find him "funny", and I mean that in an unintentionally humorous way, I've never considered him a representative of the Dem Party at all, and no one on the Left should be tarred with the same brush just because Byrd's a loon.

And for symmetry's sake, I find the pro-gun lobby's comparison of gun control to conditions in Nazi Germany in the 1930's to be equally offensive.

Scott takes full advantage of the ObWi posting rules distinctions to sling ad hominems against public figures that would get him banned if he applied them to other posters.

Scott: Sen. Robert Byrd is old, yes. He has tremors in his hands and voice, yes. He is not "borderline senile", and he is no fool. I would trade my Senators for West Virginia's in a heartbeat.

I would trade my Senators for West Virginia's in a heartbeat.

Well yeah, if you like mountains of pork with "Byrd" stamped on it, and a minor league Ted Kennedy wannabe, then West Virginia is defnitely the stop of choice for senators.

Scott takes full advantage of the ObWi posting rules distinctions to sling ad hominems against public figures that would get him banned if he applied them to other posters.

Yes, how diabolical of me. For my next trick, I will twirl my waxed moustache and foreclose on an elderly widow's mortgage.

M. Scott: Calling GWB a drunk certainly hasn't done much good

You're right: I think George "AWOL" Bush is much funnier, besides. ;-)

calling Laura Bush a killer will boomerang on the offenders rather spectacularly if done in a widespread forum

I gather she did kill someone. Like Robert Byrd was a member of the KKK. Laura "Killer" Bush may be very sorry for having killed someone and have not killed anyone else for years, but after all, the same is true of Robert Byrd's membership in the KKK, so presumably...

and no one really cares about Trent Lott any more except obsessive lefties looking for an easy target

Hee. This is funny, given how this thread started.

Yep, very Bird Dog-like (and, to repeat others, *not* a compliment). I don't even get the irony part of it; he used the filibuster in the past (for a wrong cause), he is in favor of the filibuster in the future. A former Klansman, "insults" people. Surprise? Explanation welcome.

Now, Republicans who bottled up Clinton's judicial nominees for years righteously claiming that every nominee deserves a full vote on the floor... *that* seems like there's some irony present.

I will agree, it is somewhat over-the-top. But every reference to Nazis will be somewhat over-the-top, until the concentration camps actually go up. But that's not sufficient to dismiss the argument, when you're talking about national government here.

This isn't talking about selecting chairs for the PTA bakesale. This is talking about the structural realignment of the United States government. Byrd's point is then quite apt; if the state's governing apparatus is being manipulated, then the awesome coercive power of the state is being manipulated. This *is* a matter of life and death.

It's not just one issue; the filibuster has been an integral part of the Senate structure of government since the beginning. If you eliminate it for one "issue" (really, an entire family of issues related to judicial nomination), there is no reason not to eliminate it for other issues.

Phil, I don't recall ever seeing a point made using the H-word that couldn't have been expressed as effectively in a less offensive way.

That's not actually the question I asked.

More to the point, were I a member of the Democratic party, I'd probably be manifestly uninterested in a lecture on the appropriate way to make a point from the party who sent out campaing mailings prior to the Presidential election which claimed that the Democrats were trying to ban the Bible, and which has an affiliated group targeting the AARP as a bunch of army-hating fag hags.

Contrary to popular belief, I am not the Republican Party. Your response to my comments is hyperbolic.

That's not actually the question I asked.

No, it's the comment I made. But who cares about increasing the civility of political dialogue, anyway?

I admire Robert Byrd as a scholar of parliamentary procedures, a historian of the Senate, and for his understanding of the principles and practices of small-r republicanism. I admire him without reservation for his opposition to the war resolution on the grounds that the Senate was abdicating its Constitutional responsibilities. As one of many such occasions. There has been, to my knowledge, no more articulate defender of the Constitution as an regulative and restrictive document on the Senate floor in my lifetime. He certainly has served his state to their satisfaction, and the envy of others.

There are things about Robert Byrd I do not admire.

This mix of admiration and its opposite also applies to Calhoun, Robert E Lee, and Erwin Rommel.

It's not just one issue; the filibuster has been an integral part of the Senate structure of government since the beginning. If you eliminate it for one "issue" (really, an entire family of issues related to judicial nomination), there is no reason not to eliminate it for other issues.

I would settle for eliminating the rule that allows the Senate to conduct other business while a particular issue is being filibustered. Therefore, it gets used less often and then (hopefully) for truly egregious overreaching by the majority (which, under issues currently under consideration, I would include private social security accounts, but exclude most if not all of the filibustered judicial nominations).

For my next trick, I will twirl my waxed moustache and foreclose on an elderly widow's mortgage.

Do not threadjack this into a Social Security thread!

"I gather she did kill someone."

Would I have said it otherwise?

Italics off!As you might guess, I don't preview the one liners.

"This mix of admiration and its opposite also applies to Calhoun, Robert E Lee, and Erwin Rommel."

All very well, but if Lee fought Rommel, who would win?

I'd say Lee. Unless Rommel used his tanks.

I'm surprised by this thread. This seems to encapsulate much of what is wrong with the responses: "Well, I guess by your standards you must consider that bush is still a cokehead and his conversion to born again status is laughable, right?"

If George Bush gave a speech calling his opponents crack-heads for disagreeing with him on drug policy I would think it was incredibly funny once you remembered that he probably used cocaine.

When I posted this, I thought we could all laugh about it. I see we won't.

This leads to another irony. Compare the comments in the present thread to the comments in this thread from less than a week ago.

A further irony is that while Byrd is comparing Republicans to Nazis for wanting to reduce the filibuster threshold below 60, when the Senate wanted to stop Byrd's filibuster against the Civil Rights Act, it required 67 votes to shut him up. Back at the time of the first Congress, a single senator could filibuster even if everyone else wanted to stop him. The filibuster rule is not an unchanging part of the Senate.

Also, please note that I did not attack Byrd as a present racist. Who knows? Who cares? The irony is that a man who was a member of the KKK not long after the Nazis actually held power--and who at the time shared some of their more racist beliefs--is calling his opponents Nazis for fighting against an institution which he most famously used to try to stop the Civil Rights Act.

That isn't calling him a racist. That is calling him tone-deaf to symbolism.

Sebastian, you're still sounding rather like Charles Bird.

I'm still not sure what Seb's point was, if he had one.

So Byrd now uses the filibuster to defend a political point of view he once used the filibuster to oppose?

Uh huh.

Hey, have you noticed that Senator Byrd now uses the English language to criticize conservatives - yet, 60 years ago, he also used the English language to criticize civil rights advocates!! How ironic!!

"Sebastian, you're still sounding rather like Charles Bird."

Thanks. You often sound like Chomsky. So now we can both take as compliments that which was intended as insults.

As always, irony-hunting and hypocrisy-hunting go over like a lead balloon in bipartisan conversations. Hilarious at Red State and Kos, though.

Your point is apt, Sebastian, that the exact nature of the filibuster has changed. But there has always been some form of minority obstructionism available. (Reid says that there are all sorts of things he can do to make things unpleasant in the Senate, if the filibuster is removed; but frankly, I don't see why each technique that gets in the way of the radical revolutionaries wouldn't then be promptly eliminated).

Thanks for the explanation, but I still just don't see it as being ironic. (Symbol tone-deaf? Maybe).

As for people's reactions to it:
I didn't read that previous thread until now. I agreed with you that Byrd's historical analogy seemed needlessly over-the-top. But he's drawing a measured, fairly specific analogy on a well defined and appropriately sized group of people for a specific set of actions. How does that compare with Hindrocket's vast denunciation (or denunciation with no specifics) of the majority of the US as being anti-American?

I'm not talking about the levels of condemnation required. I'm talking about the ability to actually discuss the point. When someone says, 51% of the country are traitors. (And when pressed on any particular one of them, they can say, "Oh, that's one of the handful of exceptions"), you can't debate it; you shouldn't even try. The only appropriate response can be ridicule.

If someone were to say, "Bill Clinton's political tactics in the Senate resembled those of Stalin dealing with the Politburo when he pressed for X", that could easily be over the top. But it's a debateable argument.

If George Bush gave a speech calling his opponents crack-heads for disagreeing with him on drug policy I would think it was incredibly funny once you remembered that he probably used cocaine.

How about if his administration jailed thousands of people for using it? Wouldn't that be a laugh?

By your logic Bill Clinton is a hypocrite because he smoked pot, yet during his tenure the Feds jailed thousands of pot dealers, smugglers and users.

Looks like the ADL tends towards CB's point of view.

Dang! I meant SH's point of view. Sorry.

Kudos to Senator Byrd...

I made the mistake of bookmarking Obsidian Wings before I saw this lame attempt at commentary. I am remedying that error now. There is not enough time in this world to waste on reading drivel by ignorami.

There is not enough time in this world to waste on reading drivel by ignorami.

QED

As far as I can gather, M Scott Eiland's responses to the "killer" and "drunk" posts can be summarised: "do what you like, losers, we won because this works for us but it won't work for you, you losers."

It must be nice to know that 200,000 people in Ohio won't change their minds in a whole four years. Where would we be without certitude of political stasis, after all?

Sadly he may be right. The MSM is terrified of offending the right wing. They have no fear of us.

UPDATE: Hahahahaha. Maybe Seb is just hurt that Byrd stole a GOP trick?

On Byrd, the nuclear option and

"For example, the very procedure which he now decries as nuking free speech, he himself championed in 1977, in 1979, in 1980, in 1987. Hardly can it be true that today trying to reinstate majority rule as he himself did on those four occasions on the dates of the years mentioned, hardly can that be nuking free speech. In fairness, he ought to concede what we are doing is nothing radical. Indeed, it is doing the same thing he himself did four times earlier."

Sen. Cornyn on Byrd, rank comes to mind but...

Katherine, just a reminder we are a constitutional republic.

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