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January 21, 2005
Get The Nuclear Option Ready

The Democrats in the Senate have signaled their intent on turning up the obstructionism that cost them their party leader last election, and the New York Times reports that the signal did not go unrecognized by Republicans:

Republicans in Congress seethed Thursday over Democrats' refusal to allow a quick vote on Condoleezza Rice's confirmation as secretary of state, a dispute that provided a quick reality check about the partisan divide on Capitol Hill just hours after President Bush was sworn in.

"If this is the kind of comity we can expect for the rest of the session, we are not getting off to a good start," said Senator Jon Kyl of Arizona, a member of the Republican leadership. "It is churlish."

Senator John W. Warner, Republican of Virginia, said, "You want continuity in this country, and this is a senior cabinet minister." He added, "This didn't win them any merit badges." ... "I think we ought to put the pedal to the metal," said Senator George Allen, Republican of Virginia, saying Republicans should be aggressive about using their greater numbers to overcome Democratic opposition.

The GOP knew that Harry Reid had talked about bipartisanship but remained skeptical of his true purposes. The first indication of Daschlism came during the Electoral College count, when Barbara Boxer signed onto Rep. Stephanie Tubbs' challenge to Ohio's slate, forcing a two-hour tearfest from the sensitive Californian. Reid declined to stop Boxer from issuing the first challenge in 36 years and only the second in American history, over the non-issue of Ohio's election procedures.

Now Reid has moved his chess pieces again, allowing ex-Klansman Robert Byrd, of all people, to hold up the confirmation of the first black woman to serve as Secretary of State. Byrd claims that the nomination needs further debate (sheets optional), but that's traditionally what the confirmation hearings are intended to provide. A 16-2 endorsement hardly requires further debate. It's political grandstanding of the most pathetic nature, since Rice's confirmation is assured regardless, and most Democrats will probably vote for her.

It's reminiscent of the line from Animal House, when Otter says, "I think that this situation absolutely requires a really futile and stupid gesture be done on somebody's part." Bluto answers, "We're just the guys to do it." The Democrats have become the party of stupid and useless gestures.

The GOP needs to take the gloves off now. Reid wants to turn this session of the Senate into a war, and the GOP should oblige by stripping the filibuster from all confirmation processes. Holding the majority hostage on a duty explicitly demanded of the Senate by the Constitution is unacceptable anyway, and should never have been allowed in the first place. The Republicans hesitate because of the disruptive effect the rule change will have on relations in the Senate. But with the Democrats pulling out all stops to tweak the GOP majority out of sheer sore-loser syndrome, the GOP needs to abandon the hope of mature and cooperative leadership from Reid.

Bill Frist should call the question on one of Bush's nominees as soon as possible and have Dick Cheney preside over the rule change. Let the Democrats continue their petty antics; apparently, nothing will stop them anyway.

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Posted by Ed Morrissey at January 21, 2005 6:55 AM

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» The Democrats have become the party of stupid and useless gestures from ThoughtsOnline
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Tracked on January 21, 2005 8:11 AM

» Stupid and Useless Gestures from Abstract Musings
It is commentary like this: It's reminiscent of the line from Animal House, when Otter says, "I think that this situation absolutely requires a really futile and stupid gesture be... [Read More]

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» Didn't Democrats Ever Listen to Their Mothers? from The One Star Blog
I can't quite decide whether these Democrats never listened to their mothers or whether they never grew up. Captain Ed made the point brilliantly, when he said, "It's reminiscent of the line from Animal House, when Otter says, 'I think that this s... [Read More]

Tracked on January 26, 2005 9:41 AM

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