Government & Politics | October 4, 2005
Douglas Drenkow, Editor of "Progressive
Posted in "GordonTalk",
From Left Field", &
am proud to be a fourth-generation Democrat. A modern Democrat. A
believe that the Democratic Party stands for something -- a lot of
things -- that the Republican Party just does not. For equal
opportunity and civil rights. For environmental protection and
international law. For all that is best about and best for
sometimes I have to wonder, to say the very least, about certain
members of the leadership
of our party.
lost control of the Presidency and both Houses of Congress as well
as a reliable majority on the Supreme Court, the Democratic Party
had but one lever of federal power left to exercise -- the
filibuster in the Senate -- which a "gang" of
"centrists" chose to trade away, in the name of
takes two to make comity; it takes only one to give
the farm away.
At least we
can still go over the heads of the political structure, by
appealing directly to the public, with a united front speaking
with one, powerful voice against all we hold objectionable and for
all we hold dear.
it seems, certain of our leaders hold nothing so dear as their power,
which ironically but unsurprisingly, is slowly slipping out of
their grasp, compromised by their compromising,
in truth giving more than they get.
failure of fatalism.
consider the current nomination of White
House Counsel Harriet Miers to be the next justice of the
Supreme Court, replacing the retiring, swing-voting Justice Sandra
advised the President to nominate this candidate with
no judicial experience or judicial paper trail? This candidate
who has been in
favor of helping victims of AIDS but opposed to repealing the laws
against sodomy? This candidate who has
worked as a lawyer pro bono for the poor but stepped down from the
Dallas city council in disgust over power-sharing agreements with
not)? This candidate who has been a
major corporate lawyer and a fierce advocate for "tort
reform", to protect corporations from lawsuits, as by
consumers who have been harmed? This candidate who has been implicated
in a cover-up of young George W.'s allegedly going AWOL from the
National Guard? This
candidate who led
the fight within the American Bar Association to withdraw its
support for the supposedly settled question of a woman's right to
an abortion; who was
a "bronze patron" of an anti-abortion group affiliated
with Rep. Henry Hyde; and who has
been a longtime member of an evangelical church, her pastor
attesting to her "conservative", "biblical"
views on such issues as marriage and abortion -- abortion
in particular an issue that Bush claims to have never discussed
with his close friend, legal advisor, and political confidante
Miers (in their many long years together)? This candidate who the
President has told the nation is one of the "strict
constructionists" he would necessarily nominate to the bench
and who has
a truly "conservative judicial philosophy",
according to the Vice President, assuring some
of his conservative supporters (as in the dark and as skittish as
activists on the Left)?
advised the President to nominate this stealthiest
of candidates, whose greatest "qualification"
appears to be her unflagging loyalty to George
W. Bush, whom she -- in her judgment allegedly appropriate for the
highest court in the land -- terms "the most brilliant man I
have ever met"?!
was none other than the Minority Leader of the Senate, Harry Reid,
of Nevada, who told Bush at a breakfast with other senators
present that Harriet Miers would make a good nominee!
Reid praised the new nominee so lavishly -- she's as much his
pick as Bush's.
is the same Senator Reid who is opposed
to a woman's right to choose, opposed to gun control, and opposed
to gay marriage.
same Senator Reid who
took money from credit card companies and voted
for the bankruptcy bill, who
voted for restricting class-action lawsuits, who voted for
both Gulf Wars [Los Angeles Times, 11/7/2004], and who
said he would vote for Antonin Scalia for Chief Justice!
same Senator Reid who often opposes environmental groups on mining
issues in the West and whose family has made millions from
lobbying or legal work on behalf of nearly every major industry in
his home state [Los Angeles Times, 11/7/2004].
Reid became leader of our party in the Senate -- behind closed
doors, without public debate, immediately after Senator Daschle's
defeat -- nearly a year ago today, I wrote party activists
nationwide about my serious reservations, warning of what might
happen when push came to shove.
fellow Democrats, Reid did fight
the good fight when it came to defending Social Security and
certain other, mostly popular causes; and as a human being, I am
sorry that he
had a mild stroke just this summer. But when Bush came to
shove, we got knocked to the ground yet again!
"No Nuclear" agreement, blessed by Harry Reid, put
the filibuster -- our last real lever of federal power --
effectively out of our grasp, except under the most
"extraordinary" of circumstances. I defy anyone to show
me anything even remotely resembling that phrase in the
"advice and consent" clause of the U.S. Constitution.
nominated by Bush following the suggestion by Reid, Ms. Miers will
by most accounts be confirmed as a Justice of the U.S. Supreme
Court unless rank-and-file Democrats stand up and shout
"No!" -- no, to putting this "unknown
quantity", a constitutionally inexperienced political crony
of Bush at best (think Michael Brown on the Supreme Court), an
ideologue of the economic and religious Right at worst, into a
lifetime position of almost unsurpassed power.
much as it pains me to say so -- as dangerous as divisiveness at
this critical juncture may be (perhaps less so than saying nothing
before irreparable harm is actually done) -- certain members of
our leadership are apparently more part of the problem than part
of the solution, more appeasers of the Right than champions of
But at least they
kept our powder dry.
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