Republicans Earning Grassroots’ Disfavor

May 4, 2006

When are Republican politicians going to wake up and quit playing footsie with obstructionist Democrats? Come November, how will Republicans credibly be able to make the case that they deserve to be reelected to majority status when they have unilaterally surrendered their current majority position?

Based on their repeated behavior, these Beltway politicians couldn’t possibly comprehend the degree of angst, disgust and frustration swelling in the conservative base of the Republican Party.

The tepid, feckless reaction of Republicans to the Senate Democrats’ latest assault on President Bush’s judicial nominations is a perfect illustration of their recurring abdication. More and more they think like Democrats, act like Democrats and get in bed with Democrats. And why? Democrats do not come to them bearing gifts.

Like the unmitigated minority bullies they are, Democrats are threatening to filibuster White House aide Brett Kavanaugh, President Bush’s nominee for the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals, and Judge Terrence Boyle, his nominee for the 4th Circuit.

Democrats are grossly politicizing Kavanaugh’s appointment, using it as yet another platform to paint the administration as a sadistic torturer of terrorist detainees and an enemy of the 4th amendment through its NSA wireless surveillance program. Democrats are alleging that since Kavanaugh has been a White House staff member, he must have approved of these dastardly policies and must not be allowed anywhere near the federal appellate bench, where he would vote to constrict our civil liberties.

As for Boyle, Democrats are pretending to be concerned that he is riddled with conflicts of interest and has heard cases involving companies in which he had a financial interest. Sound familiar? Remember a few months ago when they made a similarly bogus charge against Judge Alito concerning his interest in Vanguard?

Senate Judiciary Committee members have a lot of gall to be throwing around ethics charges when the very substance of those charges is unfounded and fraudulent. Which is more unethical: for a judge to hear a case involving a party in which he has a financial interest, but whose interest cannot possibly be affected by the outcome of the case — as in Vanguard? Or, for United States senators to level unfounded allegations — bearing false witness — against judicial nominees of stellar character?

Senate Democrats have proven themselves to have no credibility when it comes to assessing the character of President Bush’s judicial nominees, who they routinely slander with actual malice — that is, knowing their charges are false, or having reckless disregard for whether they are true or false. When will Republicans quit tolerating this and begin to condemn these Democratic senators for their tortious conduct, quit trying to compromise with them and plow forward full speed ahead with these nominations?

Why would the Democrats’ filibuster threats even bother Republicans? They should welcome the showdown. And if Republican members of the Gang of 14 want to continue their charade of colluding with these obstructionists, target every last one of them for defeat in the primaries, no matter how secure their seats. Make them pay for defecting in the name of collegiality.

Why do Republicans always run for the tall grass every time the “f” word is whispered rather than calling their bluff and forcing the Democrats into a real filibuster, instead of idle threats of one?

As I wrote at the time, the Gang of 14’s agreement that averted the Republicans’ invocation of the “nuclear option” was a great betrayal, because it legitimized judicial filibustering. Republican Gang members insisted the concessions they secured, such as the Democrats’ agreement to allow nominees Janice Rogers Brown, William Pryor and Priscilla Owen to get a full floor vote of the Senate — big whoop — outweighed any negatives. Plus, they boasted, Democrats agreed that henceforth they would only filibuster judicial appointees upon the existence of “extraordinary circumstances.”

Nonsense! As we knew at the time, “extraordinary circumstances” was undefined and left open to each member of the Gang to define for himself. Result: The judicial filibuster remained alive and well. And since that ignoble “bipartisan” treaty, we’ve seen the Democrats threaten the filibuster time and time again.

This cannot go on. The Republicans’ acquiescence to the Democrats’ demand for a delay on the hearings on these nominations is just another straw. When will the elephant’s back be broken? How long will Republicans continue to allow themselves to be walked on?

Whether it’s their shameless joinder with Democrats in demanding investigations of oil companies, their acute tone deafness on the growing immigration crisis, their refusal to bring discipline to spending, or their willingness to let the tail wag the dog on judicial appointments, the Republicans are begging for a drubbing in November.

Grassroots frustration is growing with a vengeance, and someone in charge better wake up and show some leadership. Yesterday.