No To Democratic Neuterality!

3 comments May 10th, 2005at 12:07pm Posted by Eli

E.J. Dionne explains why the Democrats are being such bad sports by not letting the Republicans have absolutely everything they want.

“The Republican Party is a permanent majority for the future of this country,” DeLay declared. “We’re going to be able to lead this country in the direction we’ve been dreaming of for years.”

Grover Norquist, the president of Americans for Tax Reform and a leading figure in both the DeLay and Bush political operations, chose more colorful post-election language to describe the future. “Once the minority of House and Senate are comfortable in their minority status, they will have no problem socializing with the Republicans,” he told Richard Leiby of The Post. “Any farmer will tell you that certain animals run around and are unpleasant. But when they’ve been ‘fixed,’ then they are happy and sedate. They are contented and cheerful.”

If you wonder in the coming weeks why Democrats are so reluctant to give ground, remember Norquist’s jocular reference to neutering the opposition party. Democrats are neither contented nor cheerful over the prospect of being “fixed.” Should that surprise anyone?”

Some thoughts on Dionne’s piece, which also addresses tit-for-tat over judges and Social Security/Hillarycare:

1. Even assuming that the Republicans can’t maintain a permanent majority, eliminating the filibuster’s requirement for broad consensus would lead to courts composed entirely of far-left and far-right judges, with court rulings determined solely by which side holds majorities on which courts. Does anyone in their right mind really want this? Would it really be such a tragedy to “stack” the courts with moderates who are excellent jurists, trust their judgment, and let the chips fall where they may? I know it’ll never happen, but I would love to see the judiciary excluded from the obsessive struggle for partisan advantage – it’s too important, and its membership is too permanent.

2. I hope the Democrats are as determined to fight for their political relevance as Dionne seems to think they are. I think they’re still pulling a lot of punches, and I have the sense that most of them still have no idea what’s at stake here. Even supposedly wild & crazy loose cannon screamer Dean has been alarmingly quiet since being elected DNC chair.

3. Has anyone noticed that Norquist has a really disturbingly creepy way with words? First he talks about drowning government in a bathtub, then he compares bipartisanship to date rape, now he gleefully talks about neutering Democrats. This is a man with some serious unresolved issues, and he’s leading the charge to reshape our country into, well, I’m not entirely sure what – somesort of laissez-faire social darwinist theocracy, I think.

Entry Filed under: Democrats,Judiciary,Politics,Republicans,Wankers


  • 1. Aquaria  |  May 11th, 2005 at 10:57 pm

    I keep telling people that they wouldn’t want the filibuster to go away if we had a Senate full of Clintons Not that the Clintons are remotely liberal, but when you want to make Republicans respond the way you need them to (removing filibuster = bad), they’re a good example to use. Because you know they’d be screaming to the rafters to keep the filibuster if their party was out of favor.

  • 2. Aquaria  |  May 11th, 2005 at 10:58 pm

    Oh, and they’d really be screaming if a Clinton party was in charge of things.

  • 3. Eli  |  May 11th, 2005 at 11:23 pm

    Well, a few Atriots have pointed out that the Republicans would only push to eliminate the filibuster if they were absolutely certain that they would never relinquish the Senate.

    I’m not sure I agree with that 100%, I think it’s possible that:

    A) They have an ace in the hole they think they can use to either circumvent the need for a filibuster, or to conveniently restore the filibuster, or

    B) They have confidence in the *other* leg of their plan, which is to make the judiciary irrelevant, either by intimidating judges or eliminating judicial review. So they just need to hang onto a judicial majority until they can phase out the judiciary’s relevance.

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