Saturday, April 16, 2005

What Goes Around Come Around....

Back in the 90's, Republicans used the filibuster to block President Clinton's judicial appointments about 60 times. They also used it against him on his economic stimulus package; health care reform; campaign finance reform; and other legislative initiatives. But if you listen to Republicans, the filibuster, around almost as long as our Constitution, seems to have been established in 2000 by the Democrats to unreasonably obstruct the Bush agenda. Of course this is not the case. But it would be a gross abuse of power for the Republicans, led by Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist, to push through radical rules changes that would strip the Democrats--or perhaps even the Republicans should they ever find themselves the minority party again--of this 200-year-old necessary political weapon. The Republicans also love to play the poor victim these days of the fierce partisan rhetoric of the "Liberal elite" and the virtually non-existent "Liberal media." Led by embattled House Leader Tom Delay, they claim there's a vast Left-Wing conspiracy out to get them. They whine about how nasty politics has become, and they blame that on the Democrats. Well, let's not forget how vicious and relentless the attacks on the Clinton's were in the 90's. It was the Republicans who started the modern nastiness in Washington politics. Much has been said about the apparent friendship between former president Ronald Reagan and then-former House Speaker Tip O'Neil. As legend goes, they'd fight during the day, then set aside their swords and share a drink and some friendly conversation afterwards. Back then, the "aisle" was just a symbolic divider in a Senate or House chamber, and not emblematic of how our elected leaders on both sides of it generally treated each other. But those were not the same Republicans we have today. Today's breed consists of graduates of Newt University, the adult education Mecca for nastiness. And their professors were stalwart conservatives like former Rep. Bob Barr (GA), hellbent on taking down a Democratic president and sparing no cost in the process . I said it back then, and I'm saying it again, the political landscape changed in the 90's. No longer was the terrain one of general respect and courtesies across the aisle. The intense hatred for Bill and Hillary Clinton served to turn Republicans, and the party, into a venomous attack machine capable of doing anything, anything, to win. So it utterly amazes me now to see and hear Republicans crying 'foul.' My friends, you reap what you sow. And what we have now is one giant crop of rhetorical partisan crap born from the Right. The game of politics has been changed forever. Andy

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