Wednesday, June 11, 2003

So, let me get this straight. The Republicans are talking about effectively eliminating the filibuster rule in the Senate, in order to get party-line votes on Dubya's most extreme nominees. (And if you don't think a judge or two more or less matters, bear in mind that these are appellate appointments, to courts where judges demonstrably do follow party lines).

But, on other matters, they are clinging to the even more antidemocratic "hold rule", which allows any Senator to put a "hold" on just about any action at all, often kidnapping some needed action for a ransom of unrelated pork. That's the case right now with Senator Larry Craig, who is holding up promotions for hundreds of air force officers to try to get four C-130s transferred to the Idaho National Guard.

Then again, this could be defended as adherence to the two longest-lasting traditions of Congress -- military pork, as by the several Republican Senators who have blessed the Navy with ships built in their states which it didn't even want, and, well, pork in general, as by the Republican Senators who are trying to get loan guarantees for another generation of nuclear plants, the Republican whip who very nearly got new regulations on cigarette sales into a homeland security bill at the behest of Philip Morris, and the still-unacknowledged parties who convinced Dick Armey to get giveaways to Eli Lilly into the same bill.

All this, of course, from the party that favors small government. But, these actions all spent taxpayer money on politically connected corporations (private shipyards and coffin nail merchants), not on the operations of government itself. So hey, it's all good.

(Some links via The Agonist).

Note: corrected Larry Craig's home state. Apologies to all offended Iowans...


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