Singing the Bite Me Song

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May 23, 2005

Armageddon averted?

Link: U.S. Senate Group Reaches Agreement to Avert Showdown (Update3)

I love this bit:

McCain and 13 other smiling members of the negotiating group attended the evening news conference. The agreement ensures that three of Bush's most hotly disputed federal appeals courts nominees -- and two others -- will get up-or-down votes in the Senate that Republicans control 55-45. Future nominees, including anyone named to a possible Supreme Court vacancy, would face a filibuster only under ``extraordinary circumstances,'' McCain said.

Chief Justice William H. Rehnquist, 80, is ailing with thyroid cancer and there has been widespread speculation he may step down next month when the Supreme Court concludes its term.

Tonight's agreement is ``based on trust,'' said Senator Mark Pryor, an Arkansas Democrat.


Democrats used the filibuster to block 10 of Bush's judicial appointments in his first term. He resubmitted the names of seven of them this year.

Tonight's agreement leaves the Democrats free to use the filibuster to block the nominations of William G. Meyers III and Henry Saad to appellate court judgeships.

"Armageddon has been averted, and thank God,'' said Senator Charles Schumer, a New York Democrat.

Trust? I think that means Frist pulls the entire "nuclear" show back out of his ass the second a Supreme Court justice is on the table. What is the significance of Frist being absent from the "marathon session," the intense negotiating today? Was he hustled out of the way? Strategized out of the way? Defanged? Trumped by McCain?

His absence is conspicuous, but it does leave the door enticingly open for him to break with the negotiated terms any time he gets a hair up his butt the right way, to be able to say "Well, I didn't agree to those terms."

He should be hooted out of the Senate if he ever dares venture to say such a thing, but even then, the extremist "scorched Earth" Republicans, perhaps even channeling Newt Gingrich himself, wouldn't bat an eye at letting the Dems play their cards, let some odious judicial nominees through, and then once the majority of their bargaining chips had been pissed away, to turn with a wink and crossed fingers and say "Psych!"

And on an idiotic tangent, WOULD SOMEBODY PUT A SOCK DOWN THE THROAT OF THE PHRASE "an up-or-down vote"??!!

It is a pre-selected PR soundbite, people! Every time you mouth it, parrot it, chant it, even journalists, you are chanting, "I'm on message. I have no mind of my own. I'm on message..."

Why? Gimmie a break! What other kind of fucking vote is there?! An up-or-up vote? A down-or-sideways vote? It's just a damn vote.

It's like the other day, when I heard Wolf Blitzer breathlessly announce, "Coming up after the break, we're going give you the pros... and the cons." Love that significant pause. What else would you give us? Just the pros? Just the cons? NOBODY EVER talks about giving pros without giving cons. It's like shave and a haircut... two bits. Who doesn't know it's coming? Don't hold us in suspense, Wolf. Are you going to add those cons in to go along with the pros, or not? In the words of Frank Furter in "Rocky Horror Picture Show, "Anti-ci.... "

Back on the vote, obviously the "up-or-down" thing is a reference to the Greek democracy, and also to the Roman Colosseum, the use of thumbs up or thumbs down.

Which is part of the irony of Karl Rove's brilliance, to invoke both democratic ideals and mob rule, not to mention imperialist pandering and brutality, as the surface to provide a hypnotic chant diversion to exactly what that "up-or-down vote" is code for. It is not a vote on the judicial nominees. Once they reach the Senate floor, they are a lock for goose-stepping Republicans.

IF they reach the floor, a democratic process does not miraculously take place. We are not transported back to the Greek agora, nor are we turning anyone over to the lions. They can chant about the "up-or-down vote" until they're blue in the face, but the vote itself is a whitewash, an affirmation of the DEFEAT of democracy by reducing a once-proud legislative body to the rubble of a rubber stamp it has become for the Bush administration.

You know, the Nazi party was voted into ascendancy in Germany too. And rubber stamp votes were created in the remnants of the Reichstag to VOTE Germany into a full-on dictatorship. Do you suppose they were singing a song about up-or-down votes on the eve of their conversion to voting themselves out of power and under the thumb of an absolute dictator? Were they chanting about the wonders of the DEMOCRATIC PROCESS while each person voting was choosing to destroy their democracy?

That would be the difference between the surface and the reality of the stridency behind the Bush administration intransigence of the "up-or-down vote." They can chant all they want because they got the lock and are downright antsy to preside over the unraveling of the shreds of U.S. democracy.

May 23, 2005 at 10:31 PM in Best Essays, Democracy, News to Note, Politics, Singing the Bite Me Song | Permalink


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