February 12, 2003
Message to Tom Daschle: Continue the Filibuster Until Estrada's Nomination is Withdrawn -- Or Resign
A BUZZFLASH EDITORIAL
Right now the Democrats in the senate are doing something unprecedented for them: showing that they have some spine.
After much hand wringing, they have decided to temporarily filibuster the nomination of Miguel Estrada, Bush's extreme right wing affirmative action nominee to the federal appellate court. Everyone knows that Estrada is being groomed to join Tony "the Fixer" Scalia and Clarence "Mini-me" Thomas on the far right side of the Supreme Court Bench.
Estrada adopted much of the recent Bush Cartel strategy for nominees testifying before Congress: pretend you have no opinions about any major issue, parse your words to avoid legally committing perjury, and admit "forgetfulness" if a troubling question about your past comes up.
Up until now, the Democrats have let the Bush nominees get away with this ruse. Now, surprisingly, the Democrats in the Senate are temporarily standing up for justice by filibustering.
But will they stay the course? Will Daschle lead a "Mr. Smith Goes to Washington" filibuster until the Estrada nomination is withdrawn? BuzzFlash doubts it.
In the past, Daschle has traded off major votes for minor parliamentary concessions. Then he never did anything of particular importance for democracy and justice with the additional power he gained. You can bet there are talks right now between Bill Frist's office and Daschle's on what the Democrats would get as an "inducement" to drop the filibuster. Larger office space perhaps?
We don't mean to be cynical, but look at Daschle's record. It is marked by a consistent failure to carry any challenge to the Bush Cartel through to the end. Daschle is constantly grabbing defeat from the jaws of victory.
Everyone with a pea for a brain knows that if Daschle and the Democrats cave in on the Estrada nomination, we will continue to have one party rule for the next two years at least. Indeed, given the Bush Cartel plans to further ravage our Constitutional civil liberties, we may be stuck with one party rule for the foreseeable future.
Daschle has to make a decision whether he is going to be the leader of some inside-the-beltway power clique -- while also representing the overwhelmingly pro-Bush voters of his home state (South Dakota had a higher percentage vote for Bush in 2000 than Trent Lott's Mississippi) -- or whether he is going to be a national leader defending democracy and justice.
The Democrats in the senate continue to -- for the most part -- call Bush's nominees to the courts "conservatives." That does a disservice to true conservatives who have integrity and believe in judicial restraint. The likes of Miguel Estrada are right wing judicial activists who see their role as Bush loyalists, using the bench as a means of advancing an extremist agenda. As we have seen with the Supreme Court, this means overriding legislation that they might disagree with from a philosophical perspective, riding roughshod on states' rights when it suits their purposes, and protecting the administration and right wing Republicans.
BuzzFlash wants to alert our readers to the possibility that Daschle might pull the plug on the filibuster and then announce that he will ensure that Charles Pickering won't be nominated. The Bush Cartel doesn't even care if Pickering is nominated at this point. They re-nominated him just so the Democrats could have an easy target and devote their resources fighting one judicial nominee, while the stealth partisans sailed through the confirmation process. The Bush Cartel will get credit from the Neo-Confederacy movement for sticking by Pickering, even though the Democrats will make a show of defeating him. It will be a Pyrrhic victory, to say the least.
Daschle says he wants Estrada to answer more questions and to have the Justice Department release some papers that might shed some light on Estrada's opinions. Watch out for some agreement being struck where Estrada answers a few more questions and some DOJ papers are released. Then Daschle, if this scenario unfolds, would say something like, "I don't agree with all of his answers, but he did comply with our request, and we believe that for the good of the country -- given the threats from Iraq -- that we end the filibuster and move on."
The battle over Estrada transcends his individual nomination. It is the watershed confrontation between the senate Democrats and the Bush administration for the next two years. If the Democrats get Bush to withdraw the nomination, they will show that they are willing to fight tooth and nail for justice and democracy. In the weird world of Bush Cartel politics, the White House will actually respect the Democrats a bit more, even though they will try to ruthlessly punish them.
If Daschle caves in, in return for an extra Democrat on each senate committee or something like that, the Democrats won't even need to show up for work for the next two years. The Bush Cartel will know that they have nothing more than a paper tiger to contend with. Every time that the Democrats in the senate "misbehave," Dick Cheney will be sent out of his lair to bark at them -- and the Democratic senators will cower and quickly retreat to their corners, whimpering in apology.
If Miguel Estrada, the Bush Cartel's poster boy for affirmative action, is voted on to the federal bench, Tom Daschle should resign as minority leader. It's that simple.
Tom, either show that you can fight for justice -- or step down.
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BuzzFlash Note: Call your Democratic senators now and tell them to keep filibustering until the Estrada nomination is withdrawn. Also call Tom Daschle's office to thank him for filibustering and telling him not to end the filibuster until Miguel Estrada's nomination is withdrawn from consideration. No other outcome is acceptable.
can find all the senate office phone numbers at:
Unless you have the e-mail address of a specific senate staffer, it is probably not worth e-mailing a general address at a senate office.
A BUZZFLASH EDITORIAL
otherwise noted, all original