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Landrieu unprincipled stand to threaten her political future

Scrambling in light of a hard political choice, four months on and Sen. Mary Landrieu still isn’t being honest with her constituents about the Constitution, Senate rules, confirmation of judges, and her record. Her latest press release on the matter does a better job of avoiding her past misstatements but, again, knowledge of fact and use of logic shows the problems in her thinking on this issue.

Her press release states:

For more than 200 years, the Senate has fulfilled our Framers' intent that it be the body of our government where the minority, and even the lone voice of one individual, is protected from the potential absolute power of the majority. This tradition has for generations empowered individual senators to stand up and fight for what they believe, even when political expediency or the will of the majority dictated otherwise.

Except that she leaves out the fact that, until Pres. George W. Bush took office, the minority party never had used actual filibusters to stop judicial nominations to appellate court positions. Policy issues were the kinds of things filibusters were used on, and the rule has been changed many times, most recently in 1974. Landrieu tries to leave the false impression that minority parties in the Senate have filibustered nominees according to rules set in stone for the past 216 years, not the past 2.

But these facts don’t deter Landrieu, who then declares that because a majority is a majority following the Constitution, it must be tyrannical:

I and other Democrats are committed to ensuring this consensus, and have recognized the president's prerogative by confirming more than 95 percent of his judicial nominees. But while our nation defends these cornerstones of freedom abroad, it is indeed ironic that the Republican leadership is willing to cast them aside here at home.
Our democracy is built on the promise that every American has a voice, and that promise is in danger of being broken. And so, I am working with some of my centrist colleagues to forge a compromise that will preserve the voice of the individual, while keeping the wheels of government turning.

Let me get this straight, because the majority is winning public policy battles because they have the votes to do so, this means it “cast[s cornerstones of freedom] aside here at home?” Is Landrieu so idiotic that she doesn’t understand that the overthrown governments in Afghanistan and Iraq to which she makes reference were (very much) minority governments supported by few, which is exactly the same tactic she is countenancing by demanding minority government by Democrats thwarting the will of the majority?

Is she also so stupid as to not realize we had elections here last November where “every American ha[d] a voice,” at least of those eligible to vote? Her problem with that is a majority of Americans rejected her party. She is right that “that promise is in danger of being broken” – by her and her party in their insistence on thwarting the democratic ideal that the majority rules in policy debates.

And she repeats the laughable implication that she and “centrists” are trying to forge a compromise – Landrieu’s record clearly shows that she is no centrist.

Of course, her views fully comport to the Democrat spin machine furiously trying to distort the issue. Witness the remarks of Louisiana’s favorite ex-convict columnist. Jim Brown has a habit of lying; first to a federal agent, and now repeating the dishonest line that “Democrats are doing the same thing as Republicans did” (with this convicted liar conveying an incredible impudence that Republicans are the ones being dishonest here).

Are you paying attention this time, Mr. “Everybody But Me Is To Blame For Me Going To Jail:” when the Senate in the 1990s bottled up some of Pres. Bill Clinton’s appointees, it’s because the Republicans were the Senate’s majority party. In a democracy, that’s what majorities get to do. A decade on, it’s the minority Democrats who using rules to prevent a vote. And the majority can change those rules whenever it sees fit, according to the Constitution. Now do you (and Landrieu) finally see why it’s not the same thing?

Landrieu should know by now that no amount of spin is going to save her from her position on this issue if she goes along with the obstructionism of her party. By her release, she hints at she may be part of a group attempting to be put together to force a measure that represents a defeat for democratic rule in the Senate by giving the weight of precedent to the Democrats’ novel use of the filibuster. Future political opponents will remind the voters of Louisiana of all of this, the majority of whom would be unsympathetic to her view on this (or the fact she is refusing to be independent and stand up for Louisiana by bowing to the party leadership on this measure), even as it appears the Democrats will go down in flames on this issue.

Time’s up for Landrieu; the Senate looks to move on nominations today. If she were politically smart, she would stop defending the indefensible and instead call for an up-or-down vote on all judicial nominees. Then she could vote against the nominees she felt unworthy. That way, she takes the high road on principle and still casts votes she thinks are best. Otherwise, she is just digging her 2008 political grave deeper and deeper.

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