April 28, 2005

Close to Boiling

One analogy that is often used to describe situations that are steadily getting worse without active complaint is the story of the frog put into a bucket of lukewarm water and its passivity while the water is slowly heated to boiling. The frog never recognizes the danger until it is too late. The result is a boiled and dead frog who did nothing to leave the bucket. How much will it take to see that the survival of our democracy is close to boiling?

Consider the tale that Dave of Seeing the Forest tells.

Senator Reid said something that I don't think the public is being made sufficiently aware of. He said that the Senate Parliamentarian has stated that this idea the Republicans have of changing the rules of the Senate to disallow filibusters of judicial nominations is itself against the rules of the Senate! (For one thing, the rule change itself could be filibustered, so the Republican insistence that 51 votes is enough to change the rules is against the rules.)

But the Republicans are saying no, they are just going to change the rule, regardless of what the Senate rules allow or do not allow. Just because they can, and no one can stop them.

I think the implications of this are disturbing, to say the least. The Republicans are saying they just will not follow the rules of the Senate, because they have the power to say this, and that's that. Rules will no longer apply. And as I understand it the Democrats can't take this to the courts, because separation of powers prevents the courts from getting involved with the internal rules of the Senate.

Add in Bill Scher's analysis of the reasons that the Republicans decided to resurrect the Ethics Committee. (Hint, it is not to investigate DeLay, but rather to have a tool to go after Democrats in order to muddy the waters.) The Republicans including President Bush are backing DeLay and will do whatever they can to destroy the Democrats who have embarrassed them. This is *not* business as normal.

Then there is the act on the judges. On their road to consolidating power, they are attacking the independence of the courts and the undermining the constitution. And they are trying to create a religious war inside the United States by claiming the mantel of "Christian" for their side - a side that is firmly in bed with some of the more extreme hate groups. Orcinus warns that the passions unleashed in this round will not be easily calmed:

Of course, most Americans tend to take a right to privacy for granted, but little realize that it exists almost solely, according to Supreme Court rulings, as a Ninth-Amendment "natural right" not enumerated by the Constitution, or as a "penumbra" of other rights that have been written out.

Likewise, they understand that "separation of church and state" -- like "religious freedom" -- exists as a principle of the Constitution, even though the phrase doesn't appear written there. (The educated among us are even aware of the use of the phrase by founders Thomas Jefferson and James Madison in later explanatory letters.)

But what they little understand, for now, is that those rights are in the gunsights of the religious right -- and they are zeroing in even now.

The more thoughtful conservatives remaining in Republican ranks may hesitate for now. But the religious right has built up its impetus, and it seems unlikely that the GOP, in the end, will be able to resist going along for the ride.

At some point, the moderates of the GOP will wake up and see what they've helped create by their deal with the devil. And when they do, they will see how they've helped destroy the constitution and the concept of the rule of law that made this country a democratic republic. The water is getting very hot now.

Posted by Mary at April 28, 2005 06:52 AM | US Politics | Technorati links |

I don't hold out much hope for the Republican moderates. The way these things work historically, they are in the most danger of any of us.

Posted by: Dave Johnson at April 28, 2005 05:02 PM

In the wake of the issue concerning pharmacists, it is about time that the Left start educating people that the "right to privacy" was not established in the Roe abortion case but in the Griswold contraception case. How about the Left demand that the Right defend overturning Griswold every time the right advocates overturning Roe. The Left can advocate for women and the Right can advocate for pharmacists.

Seriously, I think the Left is missing an opportunity here.

Posted by: CMike at April 30, 2005 12:06 PM