Friday, April 22, 2005

John McCain and the Nuclear Option.
One Rational Voice.

I thought Arizona Senator John McCain was a bit of a loose canon, independent yes, but somewhat erratic and no doubt grossly affected by his years as a prisoner of war. However, lately the chatter about “nuclear option” and the possibility of it being exercised in the senate, has brought some interesting, appropriate and sober comments from the senator.

The “nuclear option” has nothing to do with terrorists or missing plutonium. It is a technical parliamentary maneuver promoted by Senate majority leader Frist. If enacted by the republicans in the senate, it could stop the democrats from filibustering, and halting, the nomination of certain judges whom they consider too conservative, and too religious-right oriented, to be acceptable. The core values in the controversy have more to do with the pro- or anti-abortion bias of the judicial nominee, but that blunt honesty is mostly skirted by the debaters and the media. They all hide under the softer wording of “faith” orientation, because they are hypocrites and assume the public is not paying close attention to the details. Orwell would be taking notes—“Are you pro choice for women regarding the right to have an abortion?” “Hell, I’m a man of faith.”

The main problem is that if the republicans succeed in ending the necessity of a 60-40 vote to end filibusters in the senate instead of a simple majority, the 200-year–old parliamentary tradition of filibuster would end. Then the democrats threaten to cease cooperation with their republican colleagues, except on votes relating to national emergency or national security. Once again, the polarized attitudes of this country’s citizens are reflected in the halls of congress.

Well, not entirely—the citizens are really interested in what affects them personally. Their elected representatives apparently really are concerned with who bought their election through campaign contributions, and other perks. Forgive me for generalizing, but our “public servants” are far from serving the public. How else can be explained our ridiculous expensive corrupt medical care system in our country, oil company profits amidst huge gas price increases, several hundred billion dollars, not to mention precious blood, being spent on foreign wars of no merit by our self-proclaimed “wartime president,” with the full blessings from congress?

This serves as an introduction to the comments of John McCain, a public servant who abides by his oath of office, as he answered some questions from Chris Matthews on Hardball recently:

MATTHEWS: We‘re not far from the nation‘s Capitol, where you work and fight. Do you think it‘s fair for the Democrats to stop all government business if the Republicans get rid of the filibuster in judgeships?
MCCAIN: No, I don‘t. And I think that they
MATTHEWS: Is it fair for the Republicans to get rid of the... filibuster?
MCCAIN: No. And why is it that after 200 years we now cannot settle the issue of judges? Well, it‘s a symptom of the problems we have with the bitter partisanship here in Washington...And, by the way, when Bill Clinton was president, we effectively, in the Judiciary Committee, blocked a number of his nominees.
MATTHEWS: ...bottom line, would you
vote with the people for the nuke—what is called the nuclear option, to get rid of the filibuster rule on judgeships?
MCCAIN: No, I will not... I will vote against the nuclear option.
MATTHEWS: So, you will vote with the Democrats?
MCCAIN: Yes, because I think we have got to sit down and work this thing out. Look, we won‘t always be in the majority. I
say to my conservative friends, some day there will be a liberal Democrat president and a liberal Democrat Congress. Why? Because history shows it goes back and forth.
MCCAIN: I hope it‘s 100 years from now, but it will happen. And do we want a bunch of liberal judges approved by the Senate of the United States with 51 votes if the Democrats are in the majority?
Second of all, we ought to be able to work it out. Third of all, I don‘t want to shut down the Senate.
MCCAIN: We‘re in a war. We‘re in a war. Shouldn‘t we be doing the people‘s business?

Shouldn’t they? With these all-too-rational remarks, I couldn’t agree more.

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