Skip to comments.Democrats sing in the 'abuse of power' chorus
Posted on 08/04/2005 12:30:04 PM PDT by Kaslin
Quick: What do you call President Bushs decision to recess-appoint John Bolton as U.S. ambassador to the United Nations?
Abuse of power, says Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.).
Abuse of power, says Sen. Edward Kennedy (D-Mass.).
Abuse of power, says Democratic National Committee Chairman Howard Dean. The Democrats one-note response to the Bolton appointment brings to mind an article that appeared recently in The New York Times Magazine. Reporter Matt Bai looked into the partys efforts to frame the political debate in Washington that is, to come up with a new vocabulary to make Democratic positions seem more attractive to voters.
As Bai tells it, party leaders were looking for ways to make the case for their unprecedented use of the filibuster to stop Bush judicial nominees. They asked pollster Geoff Garin to look into it.
Garin conducted polls to test the argument that Democrats were simply trying to keep extremist judges off the bench. But that idea a staple of Democratic campaigns for years didnt test too well. Voters far preferred the argument that, in using the filibuster, Democrats were trying to preserve the basic checks-and-balances fairness of the system. (It wasnt actually true, but it sounded good.)
But what words would best make that argument? Garin assembled focus groups to look for just the right phrase.
He heard voters call the majority party arrogant, Bai writes of Garins research. They said they feared abuse of power.
This phrase struck Garin. ... [He] shared his polling with a group of Democratic senators that included Harry Reid.
On the basis of Garins research, Bai continues, Reid set up a Democratic war room on judges. He assigned John Kerrys old campaign spokeswoman, Stephanie Cutter, to put together talking points based on Garins research.
Cutters war room began churning out mountains of news releases hammering daily at the GOPs abuse of power, Bai writes. In an unusual show of discipline, Democrats in the Senate and House carried laminated, pocket-size message cards DEMOCRATS FIGHTING FOR DEMOCRACY, AGAINST ABUSE OF POWER. ...
Soon, Reid was talking about Republican abuse of power. Sen. Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) was talking about abuse of power. House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) was talking about abuse of power. Everybody was talking about abuse of power.
Democrats even held a STOP ABUSE OF POWER rally.
So what did they do when George W. Bush, facing a Democratic filibuster of his nominee for U.N. ambassador, circumvented the Senate and appointed Bolton?
Why, they cried, abuse of power.
The abuse of power and the cloak of secrecy from the White House continues, Kennedy said Monday. Its a devious maneuver that evades the constitutional requirement of Senate consent. ...
The funny thing is, for all the talk today, defying the opposition wasnt an abuse of power much less a devious maneuver back in 1997, when Bill Clinton used his presidential authority to evade the constitutional requirement of Senate consent and install Bill Lann Lee in a top Justice Department job. Back then, Kennedy didnt protest. He didnt make angry speeches. He didnt even peep. In fact, he praised Clinton for going around the Senate.
And when Lee was sworn in, Kennedy posed for pictures with Clinton, Vice President Al Gore and Attorney General Janet Reno. Yes, the remarkably unangry senator from Massachusetts showed up at the White House to celebrate a devious maneuver that evaded the constitutional requirement of Senate consent.
(There was, by the way, one small difference in the Lee and Bolton cases: Clinton ignored the wishes of the majority party in the Senate, while Bush ignored the wishes of the minority.)
Whatever. To hear Kennedy tell it, Clinton had saved the country from the forces of evil. I think its unfortunate that we have an outstanding Asian-American recommended for this position and that the majority Republican Party which is basically anti-civil rights, anti-immigrant, anti-women, anti-worker is utilizing the procedures of the United States Senate to block an outstanding individual from serving all Americans, Kennedy said on Meet the Press on Dec. 14, 1997.
We ought to be able to take this [nomination] to the floor of the United States Senate and let the Senate decide.
But that was then. Now, eight years later, Kennedy is not so receptive to the let the Senate decide argument. As a matter of fact, hes downright hostile to it.
Of course, its all moot as far as Bolton is concerned. Which means its time for Democrats to move on to the next opportunity to shout abuse of power.
The fight over Supreme Court nominee John Roberts is rapidly approaching, and at the first moment the White House does not give opposition senators every shred of paper they want, a cry will arise from Reid, Kennedy, Schumer, and all their allies.
And what will they say?
You guessed it.
York is a White House correspondent for National Review. His column appears in The Hill each week. E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
Abuse of power is using elected office to coerce interns and other job-seekers to have sex with you.
"Gentlemen, we've gotta protect our phony-baloney jobs!"
-Mel Brooks in "Blazing Saddles"
Do you think Senator Reid has seen this film?
Here's hoping the Donks never again have power to abuse...
One would hope the Democrats would some day hunt up a thesaurus, and broaden their vocabulary, if not their field of thought. As it is, the spectacle is rather like watching a bunch of Oompa-Loompas reciting in unison.
It isn't true because checks-and-balances is about separation of powers between the branches of government, not about balance of power between the parties.
I prefer the term "Recognition of the majority".
Did any of these dimbots cry "Abuse of Power" over Clinton's massive pardon party? ...then they can just shut up, mmm kaaaay?
I'll show the RATS "abuse of power".
Didn't Clintoon sign in more Executive Orders than any other president except maybe Lincoln? The land-grab in Utah being a biggy.
Often, Republicans fight political battles with logic and rationale, while the Democrats are blasting away with spin, PR, and emotionalism. Too frequently, the Republicans think that because they've obsessively made a "logical rebuttal" to a Democrat attack, that they've carried the day - case closed. There is nothing wrong with a logical rebuttal. It's a terrific advantage over the Dems since they're largely incapable of such. But for the Republicans to be as effective as they can be, they need to stop complaining about the silly, emotional, illogical PR tantrums from the Dems and get into the same game. Follow up their logical rebuttals with the same level of intensity as the Dems on talking points, catch phrases, buzz words, emotional appeals, accusations, etc. Go toe to toe with PR. That part's easy. It's just a matter of having the will to engage. The harder part is the logical and effective governing plan - which the Dems lack. Exploit it. And the only way to fully exploit this Republican advantage is to stop complaining about the Dem tactics and play the same game just as strongly and proactively.
I believe filibustering judges is "an abuse of power." It is certainly not in the Constitution.
Good thing these folks have NO POWER!! BWAHAHAHAHAHA!!
(Let's keep it that way, OK?)
everytime I read something about the Dems screaming about Abuse of power, I think pro wrestling and Ric Flair in WCW.
Eric Bischoff started walking down the aisle, saying "You're finished Flair!" Flair responded, "Bischoff, whatever you think...no, you're an overbearing ass****! That's right! You're obnoxious, you're an obnoxious, overbearing ass! Abuse of power! You! Abuse of power! Cut me off! Come on! It's called abuse of power! (Flair threw down his jacket) You suck! You, I hate your guts. I hate your guts. You are a liar, you're a cheat, you're a scam, you are a no good son of a b****. Fire me? I'm already fired! Fire me! I'm already fired!"
These are the same dumb-dumbs that lauded Bill Clinton when he exercised his option of recess appointmentS.
Didn't the Democrats do that tactic many times too when Clinton was in power???
Pubs bring knives to gun fights
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