18 November 2003

Republican Hypocrisy Part LXIII

Republican politicos are harshly decrying the Senate Democrat tactics in blocking some of President W. Bush's judicial nominees, and refuting charges that they acted in the same fashion during Clinton's terms.

Are they correct? Or were they just as committed and ruthless in their pursuit to keep many Clinton judicial nominees from taking office? Let's examine the historical record, shall we.

During the eight years of Clinton's watch, 63 Clinton judicial nominees were blocked, thus setting his approval success rate at 83%. Thus far, for W. Bush, only 6 apointees have been blocked while 168 have passed. That tallies to a 97% approval success rate for Team Bush II. If the Democrats were maintaining the same rate as Republicans they would have blocked 23 nominees by now.
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3 November 2003

Zell, the Republican Shill

Late Sunday night, while doing some studying, I ended up listening to a tape of Meet the Press with Tim Russert on MSNBC. Now I don't make a habit of watching these Sunday news shows where limp witted hosts serve up softball questions to pious politicos. And when it comes to pandering pundits of the Team Bush persuasion, none can pry the prize away from Russert. But it was on and I listened first to Mr. Rumsfeld defend the POTUS plan in Iraq, which didn't sound any different than the daily Fox News executive memos. Then Russert interviewed Zell Miller, Democrat Senator from Georgia who simply astounded me, with his outrageous remarks on his party.

First off, I have no qualm with Mr. Miller's opposition to the present day Democratic party platform, that is if there really is any coherent plan in existence. That Miller disagrees with his colleagues on matters such as Iraq invasion or runaway budget deficits really is his prerogative and an affair for voters in his home state to address. Shocking, however, was his defiance of the historical truth, in attacking his own party and endorsement of President W. Bush. In doing so, he slandered the factual record in an attempt to appease his right wing champions.

Let us tally the transgressions:

  • He invoked the conservative mythos that places John F. Kennedy into the same realm as Republicans Reagan and Bush. The upper income tax rate when JFK lowered taxes was a whopping 91%. And it was lowered to 77%. A far cry, indeed, from marks that whittled it down to a third, and despite claims from the Kennedy camp that such comparisons were ludicrous exercises.

  • He lamented Walter Mondale's pledge to raise taxes in the 1984 presidential campaign, yet does not acknowledge that taxes actually increased for the average American under Reagan's watch. For the majority of workers in the U.S. during the 1980s, taxes, as a percentage of income, went up significantly. All the while budget deficits soared to unprecedented heights.

  • In heralding Bill Clinton for welfare reform and deficit containment, he totally disregards the Clinton push for health care reform. Although it was spiked by special interests of the insurance industry kind, it was motivated by a progressive desire to amend a system that is spiraling out of control, as is plainly evident ten years hence.

  • His unquestioned acceptance of the Team Bush economic guidance, despite the fact that this administration is on target to become the first since Herbert Hoover to have its term end with a net reduction in jobs. And the recent numbers coming out of Washington are suspect. Paul Krugman has pointed out how these numbers are quietly adjusted a few weeks after. Also, the majority of the new jobs recently created are temporary jobs, many part time and most without benefits.

Finally, Miller's reasoning for why he remains a Democrat, despite totally adhering to the Republican plan, floors me:

Itís kind of like living in this old house. Youíve lived in it all of your life. Itís getting kind of run down, and itís drafty, and the commodes wonít flush. And last week a family moved in down into the basement, and you donít even know who they are or where they came from. And I would be comfortable probably in some other house much more than I am where I am, but I have been here all these years. I havenít got many more years to live in it. Itís home. Itís always been home. And Iím not leaving it.

I think the Democrats should take a page out of Zell's book and endorse a challenger in his next senatorial election campaign. Perhaps they can cozy up to a moderate Republican and accept a minus one in Georgia.