Wowie Zowie, Democratic “It isn’t what it is” grandstanding is reaching record heights faster than I can comment on them!
Sen. Kyrsten Sinema (D-Ariz.), cementing her Ethics Hero credentials that (I admit) I doubted would stand up in June) delivered a speech yesterday in which she reiterated her support for the filibuster, pretty much killing Democrat Party efforts to unilaterally change the rules to enable the party to ram through legislation that would federalize elections and permanently weaken their integrity. The filibuster is a long-standing procedural device that requires three-fifths of Senators to agree in order to advance toward a vote. It is very much a pro-democracy measure, instituted to prevent a bare Senate majority from passing important and controversial legislation without bi-partisan support. You can’t have a smaller Senate majority than Democrats do now, with a 50-50 split only enhanced by the Vice-President’s tie-breaking vote.
Sinema said that she personally supports both the Freedom to Vote Act and the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act, but does not believe it is wise to kill the filibuster. “And while I continue to support these bills, I will not support separate actions that worsen the underlying disease of division infecting our country,” Sinema said. “There’s no need for me to restate my longstanding support for the 60-vote threshold to pass legislation.”
She did this despite President Biden’s disgraceful speech this week claiming that anyone who continues to support a filibuster to stop his party’s voting rights legislation is choosing to “stand on the side of George Wallace over Dr. King, Bull Connor over John Lewis, and Jefferson Davis over Abraham Lincoln.” It had to be one of the worst examples of race-baiting as an illicit political tool of recent memory, particularly since the claims that the legislation has any connection to race is fictional. It is not discriminatory to require voters to prove who they are at the polls. It is not “racist” to limit early voting. I would eliminate it entirely: the procedure encourages blind, knee-jerk, fact-free partisan voting over voter consideration of all relevant information during the campaign. It supports incompetent democracy. It is not racist to place limits on mail-in voting, vote-harvesting, or drop-boxes. It is responsible. Moreover, allowing such easily manipulated weaknesses in election controls encourages distrust in the final results.
It is profoundly disturbing that all but two Democratic Senators have the courage and respect for democracy to oppose the filibuster rule change, and apparently none will stand up for the integrity of elections. Meanwhile, Sinema is being called a racist and a foe of democracy for doing the right thing.
“@SenatorSinema just put a knife in the heart of Democracy. My heart breaks how easily she was bought to support the Republican coup,” tweeted MSNBC terrorism analyst Malcolm Nance. Sinema defending the filibuster, which has been used in the Senate since 1837 without being accused of being a blight on democracy and intrinsically racist except by crackpots, inspired Keith Olberman to rail that she “needs to resign or be removed from office immediately.” How democratic: remove an elected Senator because she doesn’t follow the mob! In another tweet he added, “For whatever reason, @SenatorSinema has become a menace to the continuation of American democracy.”
Political consultant and Columbia lecturer Tom Watson erupted, “I‘m not kidding about [Sinema}– it’s all about race. If you’re wondering what the “Sinema secret” is, that’s it. Black people. There’s no real mystery here. Plain old bigot. Occam’s razor. The mask is off…To be blunt: @SenatorSinema chose her side – and that side is white supremacy. That’s who she is. That’s what defines her now.”
More democracy, Democratic-style! Demonize any dissenters. Tar them as racists.
The hypocrisy Democrats are displaying in this episode is staggering. Biden’s Presidency desperately needs to rally the far left base (which would be happy if Republican opposition could be outlawed outright), so he and his party’s leaders have literally turned 180 degrees regarding the filibuster. On May 18, 2005, Sen. Chuck Schumer, pleaded with Republicans to keep the filibuster option in place while Democrats were blocking President Bush’s agenda, saying in part,
“Right now, we are on the precipice of a constitutional crisis. We are about to step into the abyss. I want to talk for a few minutes why we are on that precipice and why we are looking into that abyss. Constitutional scholars will tell us that the reason we have these rules in the Senate — unlimited debate, two-thirds to change the rules, the idea that 60 have to close off debate — is embodied in the spirit and rule of the Constitution. That is what the Constitution is all about, and we all know it….It is the Senate where the Founding Fathers established a repository of checks and balances. It is not like the House of Representatives where the Majority Leader or the Speaker can snap his fingers and get what he wants. On important issues, the Founding Fathers wanted—and they were correct in my judgment—that the slimmest majority should not always govern…The Senate is not a majoritarian body.”
But now that Schumer is leading a filament-thin majority, while the Democrats have a small advantage in the House and a stunningly unpopular President in the White House, he thinks he should “snap his fingers and get what he wants,” and that its an attack on democracy for anyone to stop him.
Then there’s that unpopular President. In 2005, Senator Biden said eliminating the filibuster would be an “arrogance of power” and a “fundamental power grab by the majority party.” In 2019, he called ending it “dangerous.” The spiritual leader of the Democrats, meanwhile, has also reversed himself. Barack Obama, when he was a Senator in 2005 (this was a big year for Democratic paeans to the filibuster), stood up to protest “one party, be it Republican or Democrat … chang[ing] the rules in the middle of the game so they can make all the decisions while the other party is told to sit down and keep quiet.” He celebrated the 6o-vote requirement in the Senate for protecting the rights of the minority party: “If the right of free and open debate is taken away from the minority party and the millions of Americans who ask us to be their voice, I fear the partisan atmosphere in Washington will be poisoned to the point where no one will be able to agree on anything.”
Never mind: once the Republicans gained control, Obama called for the elimination of the Senate filibuster as “another Jim Crow relic” … a Jim Crow relic that Obama as Senator used on two dozen occasions to block the Republican bills. Democrats used the device over 300 times against Trump-supported measures. To be fair, when they do it, it isn’t racist.
Obama is such a phony, and a shameless one. I wonder how long it will take for a courageous biographer to expose him.
But I digress. Just as I was completing this post, Glenn Greenwald was heard from in his bunker at substack as he released, in evident disgust, a thorough essay on the same topic. Of the Democrats he wrote in part,
[The] filibuster has been transformed by them from a sacred guardian of minoritarian rights into the tell-tale sign of white nationalism and fascist contempt for democratic values.
Thus have Democrats, being Democrats, made this about so much more than hypocrisy. They have somehow managed to infuse a racial component into this long-standing and pedestrian parliamentary tactic, and converted the routine side-switching each party has done for years based on whether they are in the majority or the minority into some overarching test of moral character. Under the rubric Democrats have now created, using a filibuster is not merely an unfair and obstructionist weapon used by the minority — the standard claim invoked by each party whenever they are in the majority and their will is thwarted by it — but instead it has now become proof that whoever uses it is a racist.
Now don’t forget “insurrectionist,” Glenn.
Greenwald was also stunned by the flashing neon hypocrisy demonstrated by the party just this week by Democrats employing the supposedly racist, white supremacy device themselves:
That the filibuster is an inherently racist tool, a relic of Jim Crow, is an odd position for Democrats to take given that just yesterday, they used the filibuster to block legislation proposed by Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX). Indeed, Sen. Cruz’s bill not only attracted the votes of forty-nine out of fifty Republican Senators (the only exception was Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY)), but also six Democratic Senators who face close races in 2022 and/or are from purple states: Senators Tammy Baldwin (D-WI), Catherine Cortez-Masto (D-NV), Mark Kelly (D-AZ), Jacky Rosen (D-NV), Maggie Hassan (D-NH) and Raphael Warnock (D-GA). That meant that Cruz had 55 votes for his bill — a clear majority. So why did it not pass? Because Senate Democrats invoked the racist Jim Crow relic in order to refuse to allow a vote on that bill unless it first attained 60 votes to close the debate. In other words, Democrats — on Thursday— used the filibuster to block Cruz’s bill despite its having the support of the majority of the Senate.
Now that’s pretty audacious, no? While they are calling the filibuster a white supremacy tool, during a week when Biden and others condemned support for keeping the rule, they used it themselves!
Well, I have to write this, though readers here must be getting as tired of reading it as I am of pointing it out. A democracy-supporting, ethical, trustworthy news media would be exposing the Democratic Party’s astoundingly brazen dishonesty, hypocrisy, and dirty, divisive political tactics so the public could properly assess how they were being deceived and divided by unethical con-artists like Schumer, Obama and Biden. Normal Americans don’t have long memories or historical perspective; it is the news media’s job to supply them, to keep the inattentive public informed, to provide essential perspective and context. That is the only way a democracy can function. Instead, journalists are supporting a cynical narrative labeling what bolsters democracy as a threat to democracy.
“It isn’t what it is.”