April 26, 2005

Republicans Won't Compromise

In the most public display yet that the executive branch of government has taken total control of the legislative branch, Deputy White House chief of staff Karl Rove said today that there will be no compromise with Senate Democrats on judicial nominees. This is also yet another contradiction of President Bush's promise to the Senate Minority Leader, Sen. Harry Reid (D-NV). According to Sen. Reid, President Bush promised him that he would not become involved in the filibuster controversy, but this marks the second time since Bush made that promise that the White House has thrust itself into the debate. The first time President Bush's promise to Sen. Reid was broken came when Vice President Cheney promised that he would vote to eliminate the filibuster for judicial nominees if the vote came to a tie.

Prior to Rove's pronouncement, there was talk that the Senate Majority Leader, Sen. Bill Frist (R-TN), was working on a compromise with Sen. Reid to settle the problem of President Bush's seven judicial nominees. According to anonymous sources in the Senate, Reid was willing to allow the confirmation of Richard Griffin and David McKeague to the 6th Circuit Court of Appeals. As part of the compromise, Sen. Reid wanted Henry Saad to be replaced by a nominee more favorable to the Democrats, and Sen. Reid insisted that President Bush's most extreme nominees -- Priscilla Owen, Janice Rogers Brown, William G. Myers III, and William Pryor -- could not go through. Unfortunately, Karl Rove's pronouncement has ended any hopes for compromise.

In other news, Rove announced that, despite the fact that a clear majority of Americans oppose President Bush's interference in Social Security, the President still insists on going ahead with it anyway. He also expects the House Majority Leader, Rep. Tom DeLay (R-TX), to keep his job. Why? The whole matter would "be quickly resolved" and his name would be cleared if only the House Ethics Committee could take up an investigation. For once, Democrats agree with Rove. Democrats are saying that, in fact, Rep. DeLay's name will be cleared because the Republicans have altered the rules of the committee to protect him. That's why the Democrats are not allowing the House Ethics Committee to proceed with its non-investigation "investigation."

Finally, Rove announced that he was confident that John Bolton's confirmation would go forward. Rove even went so far as to say that Bolton's critics oppose United Nations reform, even though one of those critics has been Sen. George Voinovich (R-OH), the Republican senator from Ohio and a close ally of President Bush.

This is our new majority government, complete with its "mandate" from the 2004 election, in action. There will be no compromise with Democrats on judicial nominees, even though a majority of Americans don't think the Senate rules should be changed to put Bush's extremist nominees through. There will be no change in President Bush's rhetoric regarding Social Security, even though a clear majority of Americans don't think the President should "reform" (read: destroy) Social Security. There will be no penalty for Rep. Tom DeLay (R-TX), even though the allegations of impropriety are mounting. And there will be a confirmation for John Bolton, even though the allegations of impropriety and employee abuse have reached a pinnacle, and even though both Democrats and Republicans have begun to oppose his confirmation.

What's to be done? Well, for starters, I'd write to my senators, Democrat or Republican, and express my support for a Senate compromise on judicial nominees, my lack of support for President Bush's Social Security plans, my support for an actual investigation of Rep. DeLay, and my lack of support for John Bolton. But more importantly, I'd get out and vote in 2006 so that perhaps there will be a different majority in the Congress -- so that perhaps it will be a bit more difficult for the White House to dictate to the legistlative branch of government and injure the nation's balance of power.