They were rolled in like beds at a hurricane shelter. Cots, adorned with sheets, were placed outside of the Senate floor for a late night shut-eye.
If, like me, you actually enjoyed the callous spectacle hashed up by Republicans on Wednesday night, then we should talk, even though our reasons for enjoyment might differ.
Republicans staged an all-night “debate” to bring to light what they see as an assault by Senate Democrats on President George W. Bush’s judicial nominees.
Out of the many nominations sent down by Bush, 168 of those have been approved by the Senate, and brought to the full House for a vote. Four of those, or 2 percent, have been blocked by the threat of a filibuster by Democrats.
I have taken statistics and understand basic percentages. I may be an overachiever, but I would be happy with 98 percent passing, and so should the Republicans.
Twenty percent of former President Bill Clinton’s judicial nominees were blocked, all by threatening the use of a filibuster. Republicans apparently have acquired short-term memory loss and forgotten that many of the tactics they are admonishing today they used whole-heartedly just a few years ago.
The Democrats’ desire on Wednesday was to bring to light more frightening statistics. Numbers like 44 and 2.6 million. Numbers Republicans would rather forget.
Forty-four million Americans are uninsured, and 2.6 million Americans have lost their manufacturing jobs. Democrats proposed that the debate be held on these issues, rather than on judicial nominees that have been the subject of countless debate already.
This debate over judicial nominees is about hypocrisy. Senate Democrats, many of whom said this same thing in the “debate,” were sent to Congress to do a job. One aspect of that job is to protect their constituents by approving mainstream judges.
Along with the four judges Senate Democrats have already blocked righteously, Bush has nominated two more extreme judges, Carolyn Kuhl and Janice Rogers Brown, both from California. Democrats would be smart to continue their fight against these two ultraconservative judges.
If this debate says anything, it is that standing up for what you believe in speaks volumes — 30 straight hours, to be exact. Democrats didn’t ask for it, but they will participate in the spectacle if it means highlighting Bush’s conservative nominees. Bush should get the message. If not from newspapers, which he admits to not reading, then from Karl Rove and his clan of cronies. Sending extreme judges to the Hill won’t work.
Bush is used to getting what he wants.
Pragmatism is a quality many of our founding fathers had. Bush would be smart to brush up on his history unless he wants all of his judicial nominees blocked.
In less than a year, the American people will have a chance to look through that hypocrisy and vote a president into office who won’t turn his back on the Constitution.
Similar to the cots on Capitol Hill: Once you’re rolled in, you can be rolled right back out.
Charlie Eder is a sophomore majoring in political science and journalism.