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May 25, 2005
NYT Hasn't Read The Constitution

I posted yesterday about editorial-board reaction to the compromise agreement on judicial confirmations, and noted that the New York Times had failed to comment on the development -- a surprising abstention, given their previous interest. The Gray Lady apparently took a day to mull it over, and came up with an unenthusiastic endorsement whose main complaints appear to be the Republicans who joined the centrists and a typical, if stunning, misrepresentation of Constitutional structure:

If nothing else, the deal to end the Senate's "nuclear option" showdown was heartening in that it did demonstrate that moderates still exist in Washington, and actually have the capacity to work together to get things done.

On the other hand, it's not terribly encouraging to see how low the bar is for joining the moderate camp. The seven Republicans who played the critical role in brokering an agreement include several staunch conservatives whose claim to centrism lies in their desire to avoid devoting the rest of the year to procedural battles between the hamstrung Democrats and the overbearing Republican majority.

Got that? The Times first gripe about this centrists' club is the membership, not the agreement itself. In fact, they make this bold statement and then -- typically -- fail to mention who they mean, even though it can only refer to seven Senators. Who are the conservative ideologues that the Times felt the centrists should scorn -- Lindsay Graham and Mike DeWine? Probably, and if the Times considers either of them staunch conservatives, it explains why they consider all of these judicial nominees to be extremists.

Their main beef, besides the signatories, is that some of Bush's nominees get votes. If that's the problem, why does the Times endorse this compromise at all? After all, did they expect a compromise to mean that the GOP wound up with nothing at all? Someone should buy the editorial board a dictionary, with a Post-It flag on the page containing the word "compromise" on it. It's certainly one thing to complain that a compromise was reached at all, especially when one felt that the issue involved a principle that needed to be resolved. It's another to say, "We're glad that a compromise was reached, but we object to one side getting anything they wanted."

While they're reading Websters, they should try re-reading the Constitution. The Times' editorial board saves their most ignorant rant for last:

While the idea of letting the majority rule is at the heart of much in American democracy, it has little to do with the Senate, where some members represent 10 times as many people as others. There is absolutely nothing unfair about allowing a minority that actually represents more American people to veto lifetime appointments of judges who are far outside the mainstream of American thinking.

It's been hard to find a more moronic argument for the continued filibustering of judicial nominations than this idiocy, and it's telling that it originated with such mental luminaries as Barbara Boxer and Joe Biden. The Constitution set up two branches of the legislature, one which expressly represented the population, and the other which represented the states equally. The responsibility for confirming executive appointments was given to the Senate specifically because it didn't represent populations, but because the states should have equal say in forming the upper echelons of the federal government. This foolish editorial simply ignores the text and history of the Constitution. The Times argues for a Senate model whose votes should be weighted by population -- which would make the Senate simply another House of Representatives.

Besides, in case the Times, Boxer, and Biden hadn't noticed, the GOP won a majority in the House last election, too. In fact, they increased their majority in both houses of Congress. The results of the last election, where the voters gave control of all three national institutions to the GOP, show clearly that the electorate wants the GOP to pursue their agenda, a result that the New York Times hasn't yet accepted despite it happening three times in a row now.

The clear ignorance of the Times' editorial board demonstrates once again the wisdom of their publisher in hiding their future statements from bloggers behind a $50 firewall. They've made themselves irrelevant through intellectual dishonesty and incompetence, and their disappearance from the public discourse should cause nary a ripple once they lock themselves away into their financial cloister.

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Posted by Ed Morrissey at May 25, 2005 5:49 AM

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» Disarmament in the Senate from Don Singleton
Viewing things from the extreme left, as NYT usually does, I wonder if they really understand what moderate means. They certainly dont know what compromise means, or how the Founding Fathers set up the Senate [Read More]

Tracked on May 25, 2005 1:07 PM

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