« "The answer to wingnuttery is not equal and opposite wingnuttery." | Main | Hilzoy Hearts Barney Frank »

May 15, 2005

Comments

"Brilliantly stated, very compelling case. I'll note that you did not resort to calling Charles "dishonest" per se either."

Sure he did Edward. Read the last paragraph again;

"In short: your argument is groundless and without merit. As you know, because it's been pointed out time and time again how bankrupt it is"

Dress it up however you want, he just called Charles a liar. I have much respect for you Edward, for your patience and moderation, but all your doing is making yourself look foolish in trying to have an honest arguement with someone that is tremendously dishonest in most everything he posts here. If someone can come here once a week and post that 2+2=3, repeatively, over the protests of the commentariat and known repeated facts, what is the point of having any discussion if that constant and purposeful misinformation is not called out for what it is, a lie?

"I think Charles is spinning this, and is, as noted, perhaps a bit too fond of his own wordmanship at times,"

I think your being naive. Charles didn't think up any of this, it is simply the latest GOP talking point that he is filtering down to ObWi, as he always does.

BSR,

I know what you're saying, but you're not recognizing that the truth as you see it is hardly worth the damage your willing to inflict to assert it. Civility demands compromise.

Let me make this clearer. Chasing Charles off this site will result in me leaving too. The experiment will have failed as far as I was interested in it. I'm fighting for my own place here. There are plenty of sites where we lefties can pat ourselves on the back and reassure ourselves we're superior. There are very few places where left and right attempt to share their beliefs in a central forum and make allowances for each other as the price we pay to co-exist reasonably peacefully. I don't see Charles as dishonest. Honestly, I don't. I see him as a warrior in the battle I'm happy to be a warrior in too. Spinning his arguments to hopefully get his point across in an entertaining and, yes, provacative way. This isn't life or death here folks.

Why on earth those not interested in battling him don't just ignore him mystifies me.

if the Dems were doing what's necessary to get their ideas out, it wouldn't even be possible for Charles to complain they're not doing it.

I agree that Democrats could be doing a better job of selling their ideas, but since when has reality had anything to do with Bush supporters' ability to make statements? You might as well say it's not possible to portray people wounded in Vietnam as cowards, or not possible to say that you're for smaller government when you're presiding over gigantic increases in government spending, or not possible to say you're opposed to torture while rewarding those who promoted it.

FTR, I don't think Charles is being dishonest, I think he's refusing to acknowledge certain truths that don't mesh with his current idee fixe.* There's a fundamental difference between believing A while saying B, and believing B despite all the evidence for A.

That said, I think this...

Edward: I think Charles is spinning this, and is, as noted, perhaps a bit too fond of his own wordmanship at times, but overall he has made a valid point...

...is false. Contained within Charles' post is a valid point, one which I and numerous others have already ceded -- the Democratic marketing mechanism is thoroughly broken, and part of fixing it will be to render our ideals down to a few pithy phrases you can fit on a postage stamp -- but that's neither the premise nor the purpose of the post. Rather than constructively addressing this problem by suggesting ways in which the Democrats can promulgate their ideas (and thus hopefully renew some of the Hegelian dialectic of which we're both fond) he's only giving the appearance of constructivity while essentially saying that the way for the Democrats to market their ideas is to buy into the Republican ideology wholesale; indeed, I'm not even convinced he's acknowledged the existence of Democratic policies with anything more than lip service. And, of course, he's ignoring the fact that the breaking of the dialectic has come almost completely from the Republican leadership in the Congress and, to a lesser extent, the Republican leadership in the White House.

To be clear: I think Charles' argument is bunk and he should be called on it whenever he makes it. [See, e.g., above.] I don't, however, think that it originates from a place of dishonesty, nor do I believe that he is making these arguments in bad faith. I would, in fact, be very interested to hear what he has to say about how the Democrats should market their ideas... provided he is willing to acknowledge that a) those ideas exist, b) they're not a priori stupid, c) they reflect a differing of priorities, not an absence of thought (see, e.g., the UN), and d) this is not even remotely a level playing field at the moment. Charles himself may never agree with our proposals, but I think we all agree that the country will only be strengthened by a real, serious discussion amongst the people of the United States in which all people listen to all arguments from all around the political realm, even if they never agree.

But for that to happen, we must call him to task for the bankruptcy of the original post and spur him to do better. Others have done so; my effort simply happens to be longer and more pointed.

* And just so we don't go around giving ourselves airs, this is a flaw we're all prone to on occasion.

Anarch,

I guess you weren't here for the election in 2004. The Dem's lost for the exact reasons that Charles posted. Please continue to ignore that fact. It bodes well for the Republicans.

I guess you weren't here for the election in 2004. The Dem's lost for the exact reasons that Charles posted.

No they didn't, as I expanded upon at great -- some might say inordinate -- length. None of which, I note, you acknowledge or address.

I realize that you want to engage everyone who takes up what you write (which is an honorable notion) and time is limited, but the primal notion of your post that 'salesmanship' is more important that 'representation' deserves a little closer examination.

First, I do not respond nor do I want to engage with everyone. You should know better. My comment on salemanship was merely a response to yours, LJ. Let's not over-intellectualize it. Representing constituents and deciding the course of big picture party strategy are distinct issues.

He said that those ideas do not exist.

No, I didn't write that, Anarch. Re-read the 3rd paragraph in the post. Read my response to hilzoy. What you're not getting is my point that giving voters something vote for should be given higher priority. The implication is that said ideas do exist.

This statement makes none of the usual arguments about "unprecedented," etc. It just says the fight over the filibuster is a waste of time. It suggests, pretty clearly, that this waste could be avoided if the Democrats just didn't filibuster, and let the nominees in question be confirmed.

But the waste could just as easily be avoided if Republicans quit worrying about it, let these nominees go, and accepted a 90% confirmation rate, or better still if Bush simply avoided nominating extremists.

I know what I wrote in the post, Bernard, but you asked me an off-topic question in comments and I answered it. You can broaden definition of obstructionism to include Republicans, but it doesn't take away the from the fact that when the choice comes to blockage v. better alternatives, the former is the chosen course. Yes, I know it's hard for the minority to chose the latter. That's why I gave the Contract With America example.

What Anarch said.

There may be a core of (somewhat unoriginal) insight in this post, but it is buried beneath layers of unecessarily inflammatory language, a subtext implying that opposition is immoral, a bizarre assertion that bloggers shouldn't criticize Bolton without giving equal time to bashing Kofi Annan, and so on.

I'd love to find a blogger that could well articulate contemporary Republican positions and engage in thoughtful, honest discussion. So far, Charles isn't he.

With that, I just realized this whole thing could be turned on its head. If it's clear that Democrats haven't been doing particularly well of late at getting their message across, it's equally clear that Republicans have been doing a pretty crappy job of making the *justification* for most of their policies clear to me, 49% of America, and most of the rest of the world.

The stated rationales for Social Security "Reform", War in Iraq, nomination of Bolton (or at least continued support of Bolton after problems came to light), extraordinary rendition, crippling of stem cell research, gutting of environmental regulation, banning of gay marriage, etc., etc., mostly just don't make any sense. I'm left to decide for myself whether Republican leaders are actually insane, or whether there is just some sinister hidden agenda. Why would Democrats in Congress, 49% America, and ~90% of the rest of the world, oppose these policies if they're so great? What are the Republicans going to do about their own image problem? Charles? Anybody?

Well, Jack,one answer to your last question might be simply "nothing" - since it is arguable that most Republican officeholders and officials in Washington today simply don't give a rat's *ss about any "image problem" - since, to them, their "image" is, in any way that might matter, irrelevant. As I pointed out above, the current GOP leadership, including most pointedly the Executive Branch, is a clique of self-referential ideologues who have "gamed the system" to the point where as long as 50%-plus-one of the voters/Congressmen/Senators/Justices can be relied on to carry out or support their agenda, they have absolutely no need to pay attention to any Opposition whatsoever - even if they had any inclination to. For evidence, check out the commentary following the 2000 election - especially the frothful sneering from GOP/RW sources at any and everyone who might have dared even suggest that George W. might have even the least blot on his "mandate". Nothing has changed.

but you asked me an off-topic question in comments and I answered it.

I don't think it was off-topic. You raised the issue of the waste caused by the filibuster in the context of complaining about Democrats' obstructionism. My point is that Republicans are just as responsible for the situation as Democrats. And if you're talking only about the effort put in by bloggers, well, I bet I can find a lot of equally wasteful repetition on conservative blogs.

You can broaden definition of obstructionism to include Republicans, but it doesn't take away the from the fact that when the choice comes to blockage v. better alternatives, the former is the chosen course.

Have you read the comments here? If you're simply saying Democrats have been ineffective at salesmanship, I'll buy it. if you're saying they haven't tried to put forth ideas, you are simply mistaken. In fact, Democratic ideas have generally been blocked by, guess who, Republicans. Why aren't they the Party of No?

Let's just pick one little thing. No transporting a minor across state lines for an abortion without parental approval. You think maybe bus drivers should be exempt? Democrats do. I don't think a bus driver ought to go to jail for not checking to see if any passengers are pregnant. Is that an idea? Yes. But it was blocked, in a particularly idiotic and offensive way, by Sensenbrenner. Just an example, Charles. Not all such blockage is done in quite so insulting a fashion, but an awful lot of it happens.

So CB's gripe is, basically, that the Dems are standing athwart history yelling "Stop!" :-)

If only more Republicans could recapture the spirit of H.L. Mencken, who said of Coolidge that "he had no ideas, and was not a nuisance," and meant it as a great compliment, and was entirely right to mean it that way.

One more thing:

...when the choice comes to blockage v. better alternatives...

Today's show is brought to you by the letter Q, the number 9 and the phrase FALSE DILEMMA.

My comment on salemanship was merely a response to yours, LJ. Let's not over-intellectualize it.

This is a small nit, and I think that others have pointed out some other valuable things, so I don't want to detract from that, but please note that I did post at 4:01 AM specifically about the point you address _before you addressed it_. If you had posted it immediately after the earlier post, fine, but doing it in a 'let's give a wrap up to all the comments' kind of post creates the illusion that you are responding when you are, in fact, going over ground that has already been worked over. The illusion of response is precisely the opposite of a true discussion (or what Anarch refers to as the 'dialectic") and doesn't really do anyone any good. I will assume, given that your response is dated at 10:53, that you just missed my further comment and felt I hadn't said anything further. But it would be nice if you acknowledged that rather than accuse me of over-intellectualizing things.

Thanks Charles for doing your bit to present your point of view to a fairly hostile crowd here.

I think obstructionism is good if done in moderation. I would agree with you that there is an excess of it at this time.

If you're going to call me a liar, Charles, grow some balls and do it directly.

I didn't call you a liar, directly or indirectly. The Karnak Award is, descriptively, a prize for mindreading by liberals. I merely acknowledged that you don't consider yourself a liberal, as you've so oft stated.

Second point. You crossed the line when you went beyond the issues and chose personal attack. I reserve the right to defend myself (or not) whenever that happens and to defend myself as forcefully as I see fit. I would expect any front-page writer to do the same.

OK, Charles, since you're incapable of taking the logical step, I'll do it for you:

There you go again. Personal attack. Fine, Phil, if that's the way you want it. I used judicial nominations as an example for the central theme of the post. Since judicial nominations are not central theme, I'm not obligated or compelled to write a separate post or subpost on the issue, expounding on the history or the ins and outs of it. Because I choose not to write about a particular aspect of a segued conversation or didn't answer in sufficient detail by Philian standards, does not mean that the issue has not been contemplated. But to answer a couple of points:

a) arguing that we have too many judges anyway, and why do we need all these judges?

I'm not aware that Republicans argued that back in the 1990s, and if they did, they would've been wrong.

b) blue-slipping nominees before they could even get out of committee

I've always been against blue-slipping and have said so repeatedly in multiple venues. The fact of the matter is that, yes, Republicans behaved less than honorably when they were in power during the Clinton presidency, and so did Democrats when they were in power during the Bush I presidency, and so did Democrats when they were in power during the Bush II presidency. The filibustering, however, raised the ante. Democrats have now chosen a tactic never before done in American history for circuit court nominees. They launched a series of tactical nukes. Frist & Co. may have called it a nuclear option, it's really a nuclear response.

I know your not that stupid, so I'll call you what you are, extremely dishonest.

More personal attacks. Pathetic, BSR. No, I'm not pretending that Democrats control the agenda. Of course they don't. You're not getting what I'm saying.

But why is it Hilzoy has to bring up the Blue slip rules, something you are very well aware of. Instead of honestly addressing the blue slip and other rule changes that prompted teh Democratic action you simply state...

Because the history of judicial nominations isn't germane to the central theme in this thread.

I'm quite fond of the idea of Bill Clinton getting that position.

We actually agree on that, too, Edward.

Chas
I am not sure who you are responding to, and I don't think you do either. I understand that you feel personally insulted by some of the comments, and I'm sorry you feel that way. But clipping out a bunch of comments from different people and responding to them as a set really doesn't do much good. If you feel that some points were too personal, mark those off, and either as the hivemind to decide, or ask the person to apologize or just ignore them. If you are going to deal with multiple commentators in one post, at lesat say who is saying what. If 'defending yourself' means increasing the level and frequency of personal attacks, Edward might as well turn out the lights now.

For what it's worth, I don't think I did bring up blue slips.

Also, fwiw, I think personal attacks are out of bounds. It is not worth it.

lj: careful what you wish for.

Rather than constructively addressing this problem by suggesting ways in which the Democrats can promulgate their ideas (and thus hopefully renew some of the Hegelian dialectic of which we're both fond) he's only giving the appearance of constructivity while essentially saying that the way for the Democrats to market their ideas is to buy into the Republican ideology wholesale; indeed, I'm not even convinced he's acknowledged the existence of Democratic policies with anything more than lip service.

No, I don't believe Democrats should buy into "Republican ideology wholesale", Anarch. Consider this. Back in 1993-1994, Republicans didn't control the agenda. Far from it. In the House, they were treated like second class citizens, or perhaps illegal immigrants. There were all kinds of maneuvers by the leadership that kept the minority from influencing legislation. So how did it all change in 1994? The atmosphere was not much less polarized back then. It wasn't just attacking the opponent that turned the tides.

if you're saying they haven't tried to put forth ideas, you are simply mistaken. In fact, Democratic ideas have generally been blocked by, guess who, Republicans.

No, I didn't write that, Bernard. The issue prioritizing, not that they didn't put forth any ideas at all. Again, how did it happen in '94? When Republican ideas were rebuffed repeatedly by the Democrats back then, how did they do it? They made a concrete 10-point plan to effect change. They didn't go through Congress. They couldn't. They went national and appealed directly to American voters. They used other avenues such as talk radio. Yes, they attacked, but they also offered something. Just because one party holds power doesn't mean there's a muzzle on the minority party.

One comment, LJ. Sometimes I read a whole thread before I write comments, but sometimes when there's a whole host of adversarial comments I answer them as I go. I'm a little outnumbered here.

"I'm a little outnumbered here."

True. And a bad bad thing. I'm thinking about not posting comments of a political nature here in future to do my small part to even the balance.

Edward Let me make this clearer. Chasing Charles off this site will result in me leaving too.

...rather than trying to find a right-winger who's prepared to argue as honestly as you do, and face up to the consequences?

One comment, LJ. Sometimes I read a whole thread before I write comments, but sometimes when there's a whole host of adversarial comments I answer them as I go. I'm a little outnumbered here.

I understand, but by not acknowledging restatements and discussion, it is just going to make the adversarial comments increase rather than decrease. I think there is a very interesting discussion lurking here about how much 'salesmanship' is appropriate to public policy as well as how much 'salesmanship' is demanded on the part of the minority party. But you seem to come from the notion that the Republicans have the ideas and the Dems don't and several have pointed out that this is problematic. Yet rather than deal with this, you pick up the thrown gauntlet because you have to "defend yourself'.

Like Anarch, I have no doubt that you are coming from an honestly held position. But I believe that you let your rhetoric carry you away. I look at the title or the rather tasteless comment about Pelosi, and wonder 'is it really worth engaging?' If we break it down and try to point out where we have problems, you claim it is 'over-intellectualizing'.

There certainly isn't a panacea to solving all this, but as the front-page poster on this, you are basically the prime mover, so I do believe that the ball is in your court.

rilkefan: True. And a bad bad thing. I'm thinking about not posting comments of a political nature here in future to do my small part to even the balance.

In lieu of a response to Charles (for the duration, at least) can I ask you to expand on that? I've certainly refrained from posting on political threads when I felt that my piece had already been said and that anything further would merely be piling on; I haven't, however, felt any need to abstain from political discourse altogether.

You really, really seem to be missing my point on this judicial nominations thing, Charles. Yes, I know it's just an "example" of whatever it is you think you're trying to say, but it's an important example, because you're aware that the Republican leadership in Congress is lying about this issue, and you're willing to spin it into "simple Democrat obstructionism" anyway. The vast majority of Bush court nominees have sailed right through; the Democrats concentrate on a few nominees that they feel are beyond the pale, and this is "obstructionism?" Give me a break.

Secondly, you (and other conservatives who are willing to roll over and spin the talking points) keep bringing up this "unprecedented" crap, without an explanation as to why it would be wrong? In what situations, exactly, is it OK and not OK? I suspect the answer is "When it keeps the party I support from getting something it wants," which is not a princpled answer.

Finally, if there's ever a time when I would expect the minority party to use filibusters, it's the issue of judicial appointments, if they feel that some candidates are so far beyond the bounds of reasonable jurisprudence that they cannot be permitted to sit on the Federal bench. These are lifetime appointments, and if the only way to stop them is the filibuster, so be it.

To try and distill all of that down into "simple obstructionism" just boggles the mind.

The Karnak Award is, descriptively, a prize for mindreading by liberals. I merely acknowledged that you don't consider yourself a liberal, as you've so oft stated.

In that case, I award you the Simpleminded Reductionism Award for Fascists. What's that? You're not a fascist? Well, I know you don't consider yourself one, anyway.

The Karnak Award is, descriptively, a prize for mindreading by liberals

Why is it only for liberals? It can't be that conservatives never mind read. Do they have better reasons to make inferences about the mental states of liberals?

My reading of CB's post went kind of like this:

Blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah back to 1993-1994 when the Democrats had the presidency and both houses of Congress. While Republicans had previous success on the presidential and Senate levels, it ran up against the 40-year long brick wall of a seemingly insurmountable Democratic majority in the House. There was plenty of dissatisfaction with Clinton and the Democrats in 1994, and there was clearly plenty of ammunition for politicking against the party in power. But the tipping point was the Contract With America, which gave American voters enough reason to vote for Republicans as against Democrats, a strategy which changed blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah.
And my reaction was - "You know what? He's right. That was a really effective tactic."

The rest of it? Garden variety rightist "I disagree with your ideas, therefore they don't exist" yammer, easily disregarded.

Oh, and as for the hair-pulling and soul-searching about personal attacks and tone, I'm pretty sure that this post was not intended to provoke a peaceful, contented response from the lefty posters here ("asbestos suit" and all that). I mean, the point of the post is "Democrats are a rudderless party of knee-jerk obstructionists with no ideas beyond standing in the way of the Republican future, and they should cut it out, or win more elections, or something." Tut-tutting at the lefties for flaming CB in response to a post like this is . . . well, lets just say its a little disingenuous. CB is, if nothing else, extremely good at distilling everything that lefties find absolutely maddening about those on the right into a very pure essence, and he revels in it. Mr. Bird is 151 proof, and I guess I mean that as a compliment.

But c'mon. Of course there was/is a firefight in the comments to this one.

And as for the dishonesty foofaraw, CB did pretty clearly imply that Phil was lying about being a bipartisan, so dinging Phil and not Charles was a bit off. Charles should explicitly state his disbelief in Phil's political self-identification, or retract the implication.

Well, more importantly, st, Charles needs to learn that there are more than two categories of people in the world; to wit, "people who believe everything that I do" and "liberals," and to stop sorting people who disagree with him about something into the latter group reflexively, especially when I'm fairly certain that he means the word "liberal" as an insult.

It isn't my fault that he can't conceptualize a category for someone who supports gay rights, abortion rights, property rights, gun rights, broad free speech rights, and all kinds of other things; but all the same, I'm not going to sit and be on the receiving end of his cutesy-poo award names and uninformed miscategorizations without biting back.

lj, Charles has claimed that conservatives don't mind-read. Pretty funny, considering.

gay rights, abortion rights, property rights, gun rights, broad free speech rights
Amen, brother. Where is our party? I mean, the democrats are deeply flawed, but the current GOP, so far as I can tell, are just crazy. And don't say libertarian, 'cause I've heard that pitch, and I'm not buying.

Charles,

I'm having a hard time seeing what we disagree about. You seem to agree that the Democrats do have ideas. I agree with you that the Democrats are doing a poor job selling them.

So what's all the business about obstructionism, etc.?

BTW, I can't resist adding one small point about the Contract with America:

It called for a rule requiring a three-fifths majority to pass tax increases. No straight up or down votes there. No sir.

LJ and Anarch

Sorry I couldn't respond, I was busy, you know...selling ;)

But you seem to come from the notion that the Republicans have the ideas and the Dems don't and several have pointed out that this is problematic. Yet rather than deal with this, you pick up the thrown gauntlet because you have to "defend yourself'.

LJ, I wrote in the post and repeatedly in comments that it's not that Democrats don't have ideas, but that they should place higher priority on giving something that Americans should vote for, a better balancing of the negative and the positive. I believe the focus of the party's strategy is misplaced. I brought up the UN as an example because, by opposing Bolton but paying practically no attention to the serious fundamental problems at the UN, it leaves the tacit impression that the Democrats are not only pro UN but pro status quo. Kos has been veritably silent on the issue except for Bolton, and it gets close to half a million hits a day. Because of that, I think their emphasis misguided, considering the time and energy and money expended. Others disagree, and some think I'm dishonest for saying so. Sigh. I didn't intend to inflame anyone in my responses here, but there's been some misconstruing going on, apparently including from yourself. Again, the issue is not that Democrats don't have ideas, it's a matter of giving higher prioritization to ideas. To me, the setbacks in 2002 and 2004 were a clear sign that perhaps other tacks should be taken. I fully accept that Anarch (and perhaps yourself) thinks I'm out to lunch on the matter, and I'll just say that we respectfully disagree.

I also think further discussion on salesmanship is worthy, and I didn't intend to shut you down on that. My apologies.

Why is it only for liberals? It can't be that conservatives never mind read.

Because in my experience, mindreading has come from a massive majority of liberals. The rest has come from Phil and a few conservatives. Phil is a prolific repeat offender, which is why I initially thought he was a liberal. He has strenuously objected to being called such, and I recognized his objection to that. Mindreading is a lazy and counterproductive practice because it diverts discussion from the topic at hand and veers into claiming certain intentions and thoughts in my head that were never there in the first place. It changes the conversation from the issue to the person, and I object to that form of dialogue. I call people on it because I'm trying to steer back to the topic and away from speculation and ESP. If someone wants to know more about my thinking or agenda or what have you, the polite thing to do is ask.

me: True. And a bad bad thing. I'm thinking about not posting comments of a political nature here in future to do my small part to even the balance.

Anarch: "In lieu of a response to Charles (for the duration, at least) can I ask you to expand on that?"

I would not feel comfortable being the lone liberal commenting at a blog inhabited by a broad spectrum of conservatives. Lately I've been commenting some over at John Cole's blog Balloon Juice so I can interact with a wider range of views. My self-centered impression of this thread is:
my comment
some comments seconding me
several dozen comments of varying politeness and pointedness before CB can respond to any of the above.
Some strife.
Your well-written but extremely pointed comment.
More strife.
A continued lack of conservatives chiming in.
The above exchange.

Maybe the strife would have been less likely if just a few comments (say, Bernard's from 11:11) had been posted for CB to respond to at a time. I can't in good conscience call e.g. hilzoy's first comment "piling on", but I don't think this site is a multi-spectrum place any more. And perhaps one way to steer things back is for some of us liberals to hold our tongues on occasion - which I propose to try, esp. since you speak for me 95% on political matters.

Charles: Because in my experience, mindreading has come from a massive majority of liberals.

Having missed the opportunity the last time Charles posted this, I'd be remiss if I didn't do so now:

"Slave is an Ephebian word. In Om we have no word for slave," said Vorbis.
"So I understand," said the Tyrant. "I imagine that fish have no word for water."

And with that, and pace rilkefan's (very flattering) 4:28pm post, I'll withdraw from this thread.

Yes, I know it's just an "example" of whatever it is you think you're trying to say, but it's an important example, because you're aware that the Republican leadership in Congress is lying about this issue, and you're willing to spin it into "simple Democrat obstructionism" anyway. The vast majority of Bush court nominees have sailed right through; the Democrats concentrate on a few nominees that they feel are beyond the pale, and this is "obstructionism?" Give me a break.

I understand Democrats have their reasons for opposing certain judicial nominees, but the pesky facts remain, Phil. They have chosen to employ a tactic never before used on circuit court nominees to obstruct their even being voted upon. I understand that the original intent of the filibuster was to extend debate, giving an opportunity for the minority party to add amendments and influence legislation. In practice, the history of it has been for purposes of blockage, and quite a few filibusters have been less than noble. In the case of judicial nominees, there is no opportunity to amend or tweak, it boils down to aye or nay, so filibustering is expressly obstructionistic. There are 26 examples in the Senate where filibusters cannot be put into action. Adding a 27th will not end the republic. If the nominees were as extreme as they're being portrayed, it shouldn't be that difficult to pluck off six moderate/liberal Republican Senators and vote 'em down.

Secondly, you (and other conservatives who are willing to roll over and spin the talking points) keep bringing up this "unprecedented" crap, without an explanation as to why it would be wrong? In what situations, exactly, is it OK and not OK?

Far as I'm concerned, the Constitution trumps Senate rules. The phrase "advise and consent" is right there in black and white, so the Senate is abdicating its responsibility when it stops at at "advise". It doesn't matter which party is responsible for denying the "consent" part of the clause, it's still an abuse of the Constitution.

I suspect the answer is "When it keeps the party I support from getting something it wants," which is not a princpled answer.

Mindreading again, Phil. Why do you keep doing that? I don't care which party does it, obstructing and delaying nominees is wrong. Nominees should be moved through the Judiciary Committee without undue delay, and if they pass muster in committee, then the Senate should vote on them. There's your principle, Phil, one that's worked just fine for over 200 years. That's why I was against my own party when they obstructed and delayed Clinton's nominees, and it's why I'm against the Democrats and their tactics against Bush's nominees. Blue slipping became a travesty when it transformed from a guideline in the late 1980s to something completely different in 1990s and onward.

In that case, I award you the Simpleminded Reductionism Award for Fascists.

Consider this a posting rules warning.

Charles needs to learn that there are more than two categories of people in the world; to wit, "people who believe everything that I do" and "liberals," and to stop sorting people who disagree with him about something into the latter group reflexively, especially when I'm fairly certain that he means the word "liberal" as an insult.

There you go again. Liberal or no, the fact is that you have the unpleasant and frustrating habit of mindreading and misconstruing what you think I believe. FTR, when I call Edward or hilzoy a liberal, for example, I'm not insulting them nor do I consider the term "liberal" an insult. As far as I'm concerned, "liberal" and "progressive" are interchangeable. I also don't consider liberals or liberalism the enemy, I just oppose politically a good chunk of liberal ideology.

Nor do I believe that there are two categories of people in the world, Phil, but thanks for distorting and, yes, mindreading yet again.

Charles Bird wrote:

"Far as I'm concerned, the Constitution trumps Senate rules. The phrase "advise and consent" is right there in black and white, so the Senate is abdicating its responsibility when it stops at at "advise". It doesn't matter which party is responsible for denying the "consent" part of the clause, it's still an abuse of the Constitution."

I'm not sure I understand what Mr. Bird is saying here, it appears to be that he's saying the phrase "advise and consent" means the Senate can advise the President on judicial appointments, but must consent to them? Which is clearly not the meaning, otherwise what would be the point of having the Senate consider judges at all?

And has been mentioned many times, the only reason these judges are being fillibustered is because the Senate Republicans have removed every other option for the minority to prevent extremist judges from being appointed. The blue slips, holds, and various other boring parlimentary mechanisms that had been used for many many years. That would seem to be to be more unprecedented than the minority using the only tool left to them to block the judges. Especially as, IIRC, at least a couple of the 7 (out of 200some) judges being fought over were ones that had been blocked the first time Bush tried to appoint them. Bush re-nominated them after the Republicans won a couple of seats. And others have spelled out the reasons why several of the judges are utterly inappropriate, including on the front page here.

And color me confused, but what sort of "positive alternative" are the Democrats supposed to offer to people like Janice Brown? Offer up their own suggestions for judges? They could, I suppose, but they don't have the power to do anything like that, and I have no belief that Bush or the Republicans in Congress would do anything other than laugh. Spell out why they're bad nominees? It's been done, numerous times. There is no "positive alternative" that can be offered up on judicial nominations.

it appears to be that he's saying the phrase "advise and consent" means the Senate can advise the President on judicial appointments, but must consent to them?

I'd say he probably means something like "must not be prevented from consenting to them", rather than "must consent".

Far as I'm concerned, the Constitution trumps Senate rules. The phrase "advise and consent" is right there in black and white, so the Senate is abdicating its responsibility when it stops at at "advise".

Nominees should be moved through the Judiciary Committee without undue delay, and if they pass muster in committee, then the Senate should vote on them.

The Constitution says no more about committees than it does about filibusters. Nominees blocked in committee are denied a vote just like those who are filibustered. In fact, it takes far fewer Senators to do this than it does to filibuster. So this business about the Constitution requiring a vote is nonsense. Or are you prepared to argue that killing nominations in committee is unconstitutional?

Slartibarfast wrote:
"I'd say he probably means something like "must not be prevented from consenting to them", rather than "must consent"."

Well, if by consenting to them, you mean having the full senate vote on if they consent to them being a judge or not then I can sort of understand, except I don't think it's right. It seems obvious to me that many things can and have prevented the Senate from "consenting" to quite a lot of judges. Leaving aside the blue slips and state holds and other assorted methods that Mr. Bird acknowledges were abused in the 90s, wouldn't the Judicial Comittee itself be keeping the Senate from "consenting" by not passing judges out? And pre-90s, the other parlimentary methods of keeping a judge from reaching a full vote. Or the old informal rules that kept either side from nominating judges unless they could get 60 votes (usually)? I don't see how "advise and consent" means "must have a full floor vote on" every judge. Completely leaving aside the issues of whose fault anything is or who's "obstructing" or not. Wouldn't it be up to the Senate to determine what "advise and consent" means, and to do it by their floor rules and tradition? Which is what the whole nuclear option comes down to, as I understand it.

And sorry for dragging things off on this tangent, but it's been mentioned numerous times, and it's in the news lately.

Leaving aside the blue slips and state holds and other assorted methods that Mr. Bird acknowledges were abused in the 90s, wouldn't the Judicial Comittee itself be keeping the Senate from "consenting" by not passing judges out?

Certainly. But I found I've stepped far beyond my nominal mind-reading abilities, so...Charles?

Oh, and public announcement: I don't really care all that much about this issue. What we have now is the result of setting up branches of government so that political maneuvering takes priority over the actual running of the government. To me, this is the most jsut about the most boring thing imaginable.

I understand Democrats have their reasons for opposing certain judicial nominees, but the pesky facts remain, Phil. They have chosen to employ a tactic never before used on circuit court nominees to obstruct their even being voted upon.

And? Seriously -- the first time that anything is done is, well, the first time. Should nobody ever do anything just because it's "never before [been] used?"

In the case of judicial nominees, there is no opportunity to amend or tweak, it boils down to aye or nay, so filibustering is expressly obstructionistic.

Yes, it is, and there are cases where that's appropriate. I'd expect the Republicans, were they in the minority, to do the same thing if a Democratic president nominated, say, an unreconstructed Marxist or something to the Federal bench.

If the nominees were as extreme as they're being portrayed, it shouldn't be that difficult to pluck off six moderate/liberal Republican Senators and vote 'em down.

>>>snort<<< Right. If there's one thing the moderate Republicans have shown, it's a willingness to break ranks on the big partisan fights. I'll say this -- the Republicans have the best party whips in history. Big time.

Far as I'm concerned, the Constitution trumps Senate rules. The phrase "advise and consent" is right there in black and white, so the Senate is abdicating its responsibility when it stops at at "advise". It doesn't matter which party is responsible for denying the "consent" part of the clause, it's still an abuse of the Constitution.

You have got to be farking kidding me. Implicit in the power to consent is the power to withhold consent, Charles. You think that "consent" devolves to up-or-down. Fine. I think it's more than that, and I think the minority party has a special responsiblity to keep the kooks out. If it takes a filibuster, that's what it takes.

Consider this a posting rules warning.

Gee, suddenly you're all concerned about sorting people into categories in which they don't belong. And getting juvenile "awards" for things that have nothing to do with you. Imagine.

Nor do I believe that there are two categories of people in the world, Phil, but thanks for distorting and, yes, mindreading yet again.

Then maybe you should remember that the next time you decide to slot me into one, eh?

and I think the minority party has a special responsiblity to keep the kooks out

Actually, I think both parties bear a special responsibility to keep the kooks out. But then it doesn't sound quite so special.

I can assert the most ludicrous idea without wanting to be dishonest and without realizing why it might strike someone else that I'm intentionally lying.

I understand, Edward_, but why assert ludicrous ideas so often ? ;^)

You're right, Slarti, they both do carry that responsibility. But when the majority decides to abdicate, someone's gotta carry the burden.

"...it's not that Democrats don't have ideas, but that they should place higher priority on giving something that Americans should vote for, a better balancing of the negative and the positive. I believe the focus of the party's strategy is misplaced. I brought up the UN as an example because, by opposing Bolton but paying practically no attention to the serious fundamental problems at the UN, it leaves the tacit impression that the Democrats are not only pro UN but pro status quo."

I do believe that, right or wrong, being "pro UN" and "pro status quo" are both examples of being "for" something. What you want is for them to be "positive" by being "anti status quo." And to prove they are "pro" by not being "pro UN" -- in your own words -- presumably, the opposite of being "pro UN" is to be "anti-UN." So they should prove the're being "positive," by being anti-UN. (By sheer coincidence, that works out to, apparently, your position.) That's -- regardless of the merits -- a curious formulation, isn't it, Charles?

(Naturally, anyone who thinks of the UN so simply as to be simply "pro" or "anti" it is, uh, not expressing much depth of understanding of its strengths and weaknesses, its praiseworthy aspects and its problems.)

"I would not feel comfortable being the lone liberal commenting at a blog inhabited by a broad spectrum of conservatives."

Notice it's been a while since I posted at Winds of Change (although I very well might start again at some time).

"I understand Democrats have their reasons for opposing certain judicial nominees, but the pesky facts remain, Phil. They have chosen to employ a tactic never before used on circuit court nominees to obstruct their even being voted upon."

Etc. This is very noble of you to defend the rights of the majority, Charles. For the sake of strengthening your credibility on the fairness of your analysis, could you help some of us out with a cite or two from you during the Clinton Administration, when you perhaps protested the way the Republican Senate refused to have up or down votes on some sixty-odd Clinton judicial nominees, both by "holds" the Republicans now find unConstitutionally objectionable, and by simply refusing to hold a committee vote? Where was "up or down! Up or down!" then, and what did you have to say about it? Did, in fact, the Republicans block votes on over six times as many judicial nominees as Democrats have under President George W. Bush?

"Adding a 27th will not end the republic."

I do agree. And if the Senate decides to do so now, it shall be interesting to see the results when, however sooner or later, the Democrats are eventually in the Senate majority again.

"Far as I'm concerned, the Constitution trumps Senate rules. The phrase "advise and consent" is right there in black and white, so the Senate is abdicating its responsibility when it stops at at 'advise'. It doesn't matter which party is responsible for denying the 'consent' part of the clause, it's still an abuse of the Constitution."

This paragraph, however, I literally don't follow. In either party's case, "consent" obviously also means "or does not consent," or it has no meaning at all. And since I'm sure we don't believe in a "living Constitution" where things that aren't written there are read into them by activist interpreters, could you cite the words in the Constitution that disallow filibusters, please?

"I'll say this -- the Republicans have the best party whips in history."

Possibly you just want to argue "in U.S. history," Phil? (Or not?)

And color me confused, but what sort of "positive alternative" are the Democrats supposed to offer to people like Janice Brown?

A fair question, Nate. My suggestion would be to fight like hell against her on the Senate floor and try to peel off six Republican Senators and, longer term, work to win a Democratic majority in 2006, which is pretty much how it used to be before the Democrats ratcheted up the ante. The bottom line is, if the nominee is really that extreme, then there should be enough moderate/liberal Senators out there who will vote nay. If you can't persuade enough from the other side, then maybe that person isn't that extreme and the real issue to do with power politics and denying potential supreme court contenders a seat in the circuit court. With the filibustering, you've lost the moral high ground because of the excessively obstructionist tactics. I repeat again, the strategy failed in 2002 and 2004, yet here you are doing the same thing all over, and its giving me a bad case of deja vu. By filibustering, you've can't use confirmed appointees as political ammunition in the next election cycle. Taking another page from history, the 1995 budget impasse was a major Republican failure because Americans aren't that keen on excessive gridlock, and voters penalize those who are seen as causing the shutdown. But if you want an expressly "positive alternative", how about lobbying for reform of blue-slipping and for adding more fairness to the rules? How about reasonable time limits for consideration of nominees?

I take the meaning of advise and consent as: the president appoints (with or without recommendations from Senators) and the Senate votes up or down. If a nominee is voted down in committee, the consent provision is still fulfilled. After all, given the composition of the committee, why waste the rest of the Senate's time with a floor vote when he or she's already been shot down?

Gee, suddenly you're all concerned about sorting people into categories in which they don't belong.

If you will recall, I expressly recognized your non-liberal status. I took pains to not call you a liberal. So what sorting? What slotting? The Karnak Award is based on behavior, not personality. If a conservative tries it on me, I'll call him or her on it. I called Thorley on it at least once in a thread on Redstate. You have consistently delved into mindreading in this thread, not to mention in past threads on multiple occasions. I'm sorry you feel the need to stoop to it, but if you continue to debase the conversation with your imaginings, I will call you on it. The posting rules warning is also based on behavior, specifically your consistent abuse and vilification for its own sake.

If you will recall, I expressly recognized your non-liberal status

OK, Charles. "Yes, I know you claim not to be a liberal" is "explicit recognition." Whatever. As long as we're both in agreement that that's the new standard for "explicit recognition", I hope you're willing to live by it.

"...and, longer term, work to win a Democratic majority in 2006, which is pretty much how it used to be before the Democrats ratcheted up the ante."

So you have no problem with the majority not allowing votes via the use of holds, and committee chair perogative, then?

"The bottom line is, if the nominee is really that extreme, then there should be enough moderate/liberal Senators out there who will vote nay."

How do you derive "should" in this context, Charles? Are you suggesting that reason, not partisanship, is largely how the Senate does work? This really does -- and I'm not trying to be rude, so help me understand, if you would, how I might be wrong in this suggestion -- seem to be question-begging, adopting your premise to prove it. Why is it not simply equally true that "The bottom line is, if the nominee is really that moderate, then there should be enough moderate/liberal Senators out there who will vote yea?" Beyond, assuming, of course, that one's own side is reasonable, whereas Those Other Guys are simply all extremists?

"If you can't persuade enough from the other side, then maybe that person isn't that extreme and the real issue to do with power politics and denying potential supreme court contenders a seat in the circuit court."

Alternatively, perhaps the Democratic position "isn't that extreme and the real issue is to do with power politics and prempting a fight over a seat on the Supreme Court." Perhaps not, but how would you prove one version or another is the correct one without assuming either the answer or that, gosh, my party is the voice of reason, but that other party is led by crazy extremists? (Myself, I wouldn't attempt to argue with you simply by assertion, so my question is what other argument are you offering?)

"With the filibustering, you've lost the moral high ground because of the excessively obstructionist tactics."

How is blocking 7 whole nominees (10 if you count the three who withdrew) more of a morally "higher ground" and less "excessively obstructionist" than blocking 65? How were the filibusters of H. Lee Sarokin in 1994 and Abe Fortas in 1968 not filibusters, and "excessively obstructionist"? Surely not simply because they were Republican? How was the filibuster of 14 Republican Bob Smith trying to block a vote on 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals nominee Richard Paez in 1999 not a filibuster? Because it failed, and cloture invoked? Does winning provide the "moral high ground"?

"By filibustering, you've can't use confirmed appointees as political ammunition in the next election cycle."

What's the difference in effect here between the successful filibuster, and using holds or committee chair perogatives? (And we both know that, generally speaking, appointments are of little effect in swaying national elections in the following cycle; if not you're making an argument as to why the Senate should never oppose an appointee from a President of the opposing Party, aren't you?

"Taking another page from history, the 1995 budget impasse was a major Republican failure because Americans aren't that keen on excessive gridlock...."

Yes, blocking 7 or 10 judicial nominees is just like shutting down the federal government. That's why the former has always been treated by the public as identical to the latter.

Or possibly not even remotely. Right?

"If a nominee is voted down in committee, the consent provision is still fulfilled."

If the Senate is required to provide a committee vote, I'm sure you can provide some historical cites for this "requirement," can you not?

If a nominee is voted down in committee, the consent provision is still fulfilled. After all, given the composition of the committee, why waste the rest of the Senate's time with a floor vote when he or she's already been shot down?

Wow. That's weak. Opposition from, what is it, ten or so, Senators in committee is good enough to satisfy the alleged constitutional requirement and send the nominee packing, but opposition from forty-one who filibuster isn't. Quite a theory.

Of course, you might be saying that the committee vote is just a reflection of the final vote. Considering the phrase "given the composition of the committee" I suppose that is what you are saying. But then all the business about peeling off votes from the other side really doesn't work.

Let's try. Assume a Democratic President and Republican Senate. President submits nomination, which is voted down in committee. But according to your argument #1, if it's a good nomination, the Democrats might well be able to get enough votes on the floor to confirm. But according to your argument #2, the rejection in committee means they can't, presumably because the votes are strictly on party lines.

You're getting pretty tangled up here. Let's simplify. Either the Constitution mandates a floor vote or it doesn't. Which do yopu think it is?

And to prove they are "pro" by not being "pro UN" -- in your own words -- presumably, the opposite of being "pro UN" is to be "anti-UN." So they should prove the're being "positive," by being anti-UN.

Well, look at it another way, Gary. If there is stone silence from the Left on the current condition of the UN, yet high decibel levels on John Bolton, what exactly is the message the Democrats are sending? To me, the message is that reforming the UN comes a distant second to fighting political proxy battles on Bush's foreign policy. I know that Bolton is an imperfect person for the job and he's a well documented hardass. But the fact is that he is there to do the bidding of the president, and his performance will be measured on how well he does that bidding. This is a failed opportunity for the Democrats because instead standing strongly on the side of reform, instead of clamoring for UN to clean house, instead of pushing for a larger Democracy Caucus, instead of demanding that a clueless leader be replaced, instead of calling for immediate action on Darfur--all of which are eminently positive proposals and in our interests--the "no" route was chosen. You guys picked the wrong battle.

For the sake of strengthening your credibility on the fairness of your analysis, could you help some of us out with a cite or two from you during the Clinton Administration, when you perhaps protested the way the Republican Senate refused to have up or down votes on some sixty-odd Clinton judicial nominees...

Well, Gary, since I didn't start writing any sort of political commentary until after 9/11, I can't help you with cites. Either you believe me or you don't. Your call.

In either party's case, "consent" obviously also means "or does not consent," or it has no meaning at all.

Then the filibuster is an abjection of "consent" or "does not consent". I take the meaning of the clause as being a decision one way or the other. So when the Democrats deny even getting to that decision point, it still falls short of the Constitution. That is why I support a timely process, a reworking of the blue slips, etc., no matter the party in power.

To answer your final query, as you know, there are no words in the Constitution expressly allow or disallow filibusters.

I like the idea of working to win a Senate majority on the basis of Justice Brown's confirmation to the DC Circuit. I mean, I'm sure the voters of DC will be energized to throw out their Republican Senators for allowing this to happen . . .

"You guys picked the wrong battle."

Me guys? I take it you need cites for my on the record opinions about the UN, and you've read nothing whatever I've written about Darfur? (And if you're seriously claiming "the Left" [who do you mean? Communists? Readers of the Nation?; bloggers who were for John Kerry?] has been silent and not called for "immediate action" on Darfur, what would you take as a reasonable falsification?)

"Well, Gary, since I didn't start writing any sort of political commentary until after 9/11, I can't help you with cites. Either you believe me or you don't. Your call."

I'll take your word as an honest commentator, then, Charles. Tell me that you spoke up in personal conversation during the Nineties, objecting to the Republican methodology in not confirming 65 of Bill Clinton's judicial nominees, and your position here is based upon your non-partisan sense of fairness, and not simply on a partisan position.

"Then the filibuster is an abjection of 'consent' or 'does not consent'. I take the meaning of the clause as being a decision one way or the other. So when the Democrats deny even getting to that decision point, it still falls short of the Constitution. That is why I support a timely process, a reworking of the blue slips, etc., no matter the party in power."

So are you or are you not saying that the Republicans non-confirmation of 65 judicial nominees was or was not just as much something to be condemned? Please forgive me if I'm being repetitive, but I'm still unclear what your position is. (What does "support... reworking blue slips, etc." work out to in what your position is? Rework with what end result?)

"To answer your final query, as you know, there are no words in the Constitution expressly allow or disallow filibusters."

Yes, indeed. So what the heck are you talking about when you say "So when the Democrats deny even getting to that decision point, it still falls short of the Constitution" two sentences prior? It falls short of the no-relevant-words in the Constitution? What the hey? Is it in a penumbra somewhere?

Oh, and incidentally, Charles? "You guys picked the wrong battle."

Mind-reading. Tsk, tsk, tsk, tsk. (Or, go on, tell me I've never the UN. Or Darfur, Darfur, Darfur, Darfur, or the UN on Darfur, or Darfur, or Darfur, or the UN, or or the UN, or ... need I go on? There are dozens and dozens of other posts on my blog critiquing the UN, and about Darfur (let alone my literally hundreds of comments on other blogs and on Usenet).

"You guys." Right.

"Mindreading is a lazy and counterproductive practice because it diverts discussion from the topic at hand and veers into claiming certain intentions and thoughts in my head that were never there in the first place. It changes the conversation from the issue to the person, and I object to that form of dialogue. I call people on it because I'm trying to steer back to the topic and away from speculation and ESP. If someone wants to know more about my thinking or agenda or what have you, the polite thing to do is ask."

Gary,
I misspoke with the "you guys" reference. I should have been more specific and made reference to the movers and shakers in the Democratic Party, not including yourself (if I may make the dangerous assumption that you're not a mover and shaker within the party).

So are you or are you not saying that the Republicans non-confirmation of 65 judicial nominees was or was not just as much something to be condemned? Please forgive me if I'm being repetitive, but I'm still unclear what your position is.

My position is that I'm in favor of an expeditious judicial confirmation process, no matter which party holds power. If the president nominates, then the Senate is responsible for working through the slate without unreasonable delays.

Tell me that you spoke up in personal conversation during the Nineties, objecting to the Republican methodology in not confirming 65 of Bill Clinton's judicial nominees, and your position here is based upon your non-partisan sense of fairness, and not simply on a partisan position.

I may or may not have. Probably not. I wasn't politically active before 9/11, and conversations involving politics were far and few between. Except for posting and commenting on various weblogs, I'm not politically active now.

"...(if I may make the dangerous assumption that you're not a mover and shaker within the party)."

That's a fair and undangerous, or at least correct, assumption; my political activities, beyond writing, have been entirely minor.

Thank you for acknowledging your "misspeaking."

"My position is that I'm in favor of an expeditious judicial confirmation process, no matter which party holds power. If the president nominates, then the Senate is responsible for working through the slate without unreasonable delays."

I'm going to, I think, give up for now attempting to press you for your views on what processes you specifically favor or disfavor, unless you encourage me otherwise, since I don't see a lot of room for optimism that you'll soon make clear what your views are, but instead seem likely to continue to respond with utter vagueness such as this. I'd love for you to prove my pessimism unfounded, though, and see you actually make clear whether, say, you favor any sort of Senatorial holds, or not, or allowing committee chairs to not bring a nomination to a vote, or not, and how you, if you do, reason as to how the rules should be more restrictive of minority rights on judicial nominations than other executive nominations, or bills in general.

As it is, your lack of specificity leaves me simply unable to tell how much I might agree or disagree with you, let alone where.

"I wasn't politically active before 9/11, and conversations involving politics were far and few between."

I have a question about this, but I'm trying to figure out how to ask it in a way that doesn't suggest rudeness, which I neither desire here nor is necessary. I'll try this, tentatively: if you've only been political active, and participated in political conversation for approximately three and a half years -- and I'm assuming you're somewhere over the age of, say, 23, though perhaps I'm all wrong on that -- what strengths would you say that perspective brings to contemporary political discussion? Weakness? (Mind, I'm not suggesting that it's other than good for people to take up a political interest at any time in their life, however recent or late; I do ask from the perspective of someone who started becoming acutely politically conscious and a voracious reader on the subject at about age 9-10 (1968), which means your POV, regardless of politics, is apt to be a bit alien to me.)

However, I'm not dropping, for now, this:

"To answer your final query, as you know, there are no words in the Constitution expressly allow or disallow filibusters."

Yes, indeed. So what the heck are you talking about when you say "So when the Democrats deny even getting to that decision point, it still falls short of the Constitution" two sentences prior? It falls short of the no-relevant-words in the Constitution? What the hey? Is it in a penumbra somewhere?

Possibly you could respond on this please? And are you still maintaining that "Democrats have now chosen a tactic never before done in American history for circuit court nominees"? Or are you willing to acknowledge that you were misinformed on that? (I presume it's even more unlikely that even if you dropped that claim, you'd drop arguing that the distinction you're making between such a dreadful tactic, and Republican tactics on Clinton nominees is in any way significant, although I suspect -- perhaps unfairly! -- that you would be unlikely to maintain the same position were the names "Clinton" and "Bush" reversed in the actual fact.)

I forgot:

Tell me that you spoke up in personal conversation during the Nineties, objecting to the Republican methodology in not confirming 65 of Bill Clinton's judicial nominees, and your position here is based upon your non-partisan sense of fairness, and not simply on a partisan position.
Thank you for answering the first part of the question. Could you possibly also respond to the second part?

rilkefan, Anarch, praktike,

CB is right. Single Dems (Kerry, Clark, Edwards) do have various good ideas, but the Party has too many of them and has therefore no Main Idea.

The Dems still think their Party is a debating club, where everybody is entitled to an own opinion. Sure, he is, but that's before the party decides what it's position is.

The Republicans are much better at speaking in unison, either through consensus or enforcement. They are distributing talking points to unify the message.

The most effective way to create the Party's message is to let he leaders craft it and get the rest of the party to repeat it. The Dems wouldn't do that because that would be 'authoritarian'.

ideas = products. When I say 'Main Idea' in fact I mean to say 'total product', including marketing.

After reading the rest of the comments I agree that the problem can be as well described as lack of "marketing campaign so potent it can bore its way into your skull".

It's the lack of coordination, lack of talking points repetition. Do you remember when the Daily Show made a feature in which they lined up all the talking heads saying "out of the mainstream" about Kerry and Edwards? It looked funny, but that's what I call excellent coordination.

The comments to this entry are closed.

Blog powered by Typepad