Richard Cohen Loves The Filibuster (For Now)
In his piece Mr. Smith's Lost Cause, Richard Cohen clings dearly to an elitist democratic conceit - that when liberal ideals are faced with foreclosure, extreme defensive measures are not just possible, but necessary. Liberal ideas are so necessary, so lofty, so noble and shining with goodness, that extreme measures to defend them are not only excused, but are expected and should be cheered by all americans. Thus he lauds the filibuster of judicial nominees, so as to block 'odious' judges.
Get over yourself Cohen. One thing liberals need to learn (and may need to learn quickly) is that the republic does not depend upon the survival of the democratic party or liberal policies. We will get along just fine without them, I assure you. A single article of the Constitution contains more genius and wisdom than an entire library of the collected 'wisdom' of liberalism. The Constitution trumps the liberal cause du jour, I am sorry to say. Liberalism, through the fiat of liberal judges, has done more harm to the Constitution than all of our foreign enemies throughout history put together. You might even begin to think that liberalism and the Constitution are mutually exclusive ideas.
Cohen describes the filibuster as a 'wonderful parliamentary procedure'. However, Cohen later admits that he was not always a fan of the filibuster, because it was "used to thwart civil rights legislation and other legislative acts of basic decency."
Ah I get it. The filibuster is 'wonderful' when democrats are in the minority, and terrible when the democrats are in the majority. This echoes Democrat Playbook Rule One: heads we win, tails you lose. Consistency and core beliefs be damned, expediency now trumps all.
Cohen calls removing the filibuster the 'nuclear option', and says it is 'a bit of mutually assured destruction for American politics.' So, removing the filibuster will 'destroy' American politics? Or will it merely rein in liberalism from the bench? To Cohen they are probably one and the same.
And a bit of advice: when you make extravagant claims, such as claiming that removing the filibuster will destroy American politics, be prepared to look like a fool when of course it does not happen. We live in the Age of Blogs now, Richard, and we can keep a record of how many times you cried wolf.
Cohen then locks into liberal ad hominem attack mode, saying that the 'Odious Seven' nominees have views "so extreme they suggest severe vitamin deficiencies in childhood or early trauma to the head." What, would you guess, are the chances that Cohen has actually read a single opinion by one of these brain-damaged judges? Well, he doesn't need to. He doesn't need to know anything about these judges other than the fact that democrats are seeking to destroy them, and that is good enough, facts be damned. This isn't about defeating nominees, ultimately, it is really about handing Bush a defeat, and trying to show the american public that George W. Bush is against Mr. Smith going to Washington. If Bush were nominating Thurgood Marshall himself, Cohen would be against him, if the DNC says so.
Cohen also mentions that Bush did not achieve a mandate in the last election. Even if this were true, and it is not, it would still be utterly irrelevant to the argument. Bush is entitled to have 100% of his nominees go to the floor for an up or down vote, regardless of whether he won by one vote, or by 10 million votes. There is no elasticity in the Constitution that gives or takes away a president's powers based upon his margin of victory. He might not have the political capital to enact changes, but the rules themselves do not somehow change.
If the nominees are as odious as Cohen describes them, they will not survive an up or down vote. If they do survive the vote, perhaps they are not quite as odious as Cohen thinks they are. And if they are, the Constitution can survive one bad judge here, one bad judge there. What the Constitution might not survive is a minority (or majority) bent on ignoring or destroying it, or letting it atrophy.
Surely Mr. Smith would agree.