Efficient machines have very little wasted motion. Effective politics should also have very little wasted motion.
It is now little more than a day after the infamous gang of 14 in the U.S. Senate decided that they would control the fate of President Bush’s judicial nominees. While they are being hailed as peacemakers by the mainstream media, “blessed are” is not a benediction aptly applied to folks (even Senate folk) who arbitrarily throw other folks out of a foxhole to save the foxhole.
Among political activists, confusion and anger dominated yesterday’s chatter. All confusion should now be over. Anyone who does not understand what John McCain and his merry band did is probably not reading anything we write anyway.
Trust us. We have no problem whatsoever with anger, one of the truly great emotions. But anger should be managed. Anger should have very little wasted motion.
The surest way for conservative anger to now be productive is to channel it to a productive end. That productive end is a return to the Senate’s responsibility of granting all of the President’s nominees up-or-down votes. Majority Leader Frist’s job is to just do it. Conservatives should tell him to just do it.
If the liberals try to filibuster, then the onus is on the gang of fourteen to defeat those filibusters. They said so. Themselves. While they were riding high with their temporary power, before all the ramifications of their actions sunk in. Let’s face it, not many in that bunch are all that quick.
If the filibusters are broken, then, one-by-one, the President’s nominees get their debate and get their vote. If “extraordinary circumstances” are invoked by any of the fourteen, well, then we’ll get a sense of what “extraordinary circumstances” really are. What the rest of those distinguished gentlemen and gentle ladies do then will determine their future, not what they did Monday night.
Power is always heady stuff when first assumed. It loses its luster when the really tough choices must be made. For what they did, the gang of fourteen deserves a lot of anger. But the most productive use of that anger is to put them in the box of their own pledges. As we said earlier this week, forget them…for a while. By pressing ahead with the mission, instead of being sidetracked with payback, the payback will come much faster and be all the more powerful. Make them vote. And vote. And vote.
They wanted visibility. Now they have it. Through managed anger, they can be forced to live with it.May 25, 2005
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