You have undoubtedly seen by now that Senator Dick Durbin is now ready to try to kill the filibuster, not five years after praising the practice to the skies. You are also undoubtedly not surprised. But this particular bit below from Durbin is really quite interesting as an example of defiance against the tyranny of the majority: it’s an absolute pity that the senior Senator from Illinois has just demonstrated that he never actually meant a word of it.
I don’t believe I was elected to the Senate to be a rubber stamp. I believe I was elected and took the oath of office to uphold this Constitution, to stand up for the precedents and values of Congress and our Nation. We need to have, in our judiciary, independence and fairness. We need to have men and women on the bench who will work to protect our individual rights, despite the intimidation of special interest groups, despite the intimidation of Members of Congress. They need to have the courage to stand up for what they believe, in good conscience, to be the rights and freedoms of Americans.
I speak, as a Senator on the Democratic side, and tell you that our 45 Members will not be intimidated. We will stand together. We understand these lifetime appointments to the bench should be subject to close scrutiny, to evaluation, and to a decision as to why they are prepared to serve and serve in a way to protect the rights and aspirations of ordinary Americans.
The filibuster, which requires that 60 Senators come together to resolve the most controversial issues, that rule in the Senate, forces compromise. It forces the Republicans to reach across the aisle and bring in some Democrats when they have very controversial legislation or controversial nominees. It forces bipartisanship–something that tells us, at the end of the day, we will have more moderate men and women who will serve us in the judiciary. Those who would attack and destroy the institution of the filibuster are attacking the very force within the Senate that creates compromise and bipartisanship.
Those who are forcing this nuclear option on the Senate are not just breaking the rules to win, but they want to break the rules to win every time.
Mind you, Durbin’s hypocrisy on the filibuster is mostly about trying to look good – for given values of ‘good’ – when it comes time to pick the next Senate Majority Leader. The odds of Harry Reid holding that position in 2011 are currently not so much ‘slim’ as they are ‘withered.’
The leaders of D.C.’s school choice movement, Kevin P. Chavous (former D.C. Councilman) and Virginia Walden Ford (executive director of D.C. Parents for School Choice), today issued the following statement:
“House and Senate Appropriators this week ignored the wishes of D.C.’s mayor, D.C.’s public schools chancellor, a majority of D.C.’s city council, and more than 70 percent of D.C. residents and have mandated the slow death of the D.C. Opportunity Scholarship Program. This successful school voucher program—for D.C.’s poorest families—has allowed more than 3,300 children to attend the best schools they have ever known.
Via Big Government. You know, there’s a part of me that would almost prefer that this was evidence of some sort of long term payback – one that would have been in the works for about 150 years at this point – against African-Americans by the Democratic party. At least that would be a reason to wreck school choice. It would be a conscious decision. Instead, though, I’m faced with the tawdry reality that the Democratic Party simply just doesn’t care.
Senate Majority Whip Richard Durbin admitted Friday that he is “in the dark” about the national health care bill currently under construction by Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid. In an exchange on the Senate floor, Republican Sen. John McCain asked Durbin, “Should we not at least be informed as to what the proposal is that the Senate Majority Leader is going to propose to the entire Senate?” Durbin’s answer: “I would say to the senator from Arizona that I am in the dark almost as much as he is, and I am in the leadership.” Durbin explained that during a Democratic caucus, Reid and the small group of senators involved in crafting the bill turned to their fellow Democrats and “basically stood and said, ‘We are sorry, we can’t tell you in detail what was involved.'”
I can say nothing else except that while this is not enough to persuade me to show some sympathy to Dick Durbin (whom I despise for his attacks on minority students), this is still no way to run a railroad. Or a Congress.
[UPDATE]: Welcome, Hot Air readers. I agree with Allahpundit that this was probably legal of Durbin, but I still think that he really should have mentioned it to somebody when the indictments started piling up.
This would only be a bombshell if it had been unexpected.
CHICAGO (AP) – Just two weeks before his arrest on corruption charges, then-Gov. Rod Blagojevich floated a plan to nominate to the U.S. Senate the daughter of his biggest political rival in return for concessions on his pet projects, people familiar with the plan told The Associated Press.
Blagojevich told fellow Democratic Sen. Dick Durbin he was thinking of naming Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan to the seat vacated when Barack Obama won the presidential election, according to two Durbin aides who spoke on condition of anonymity.
The aides said the concessions Blagojevich wanted in return were progress on capital spending projects and a health care bill that were stalled in the Legislature.
I hope that you’re enjoying the White House, by the way.
It’s a pretty cool place for people your age, from what I’m told.
Anyway, I just thought that you should know: do you know Sarah & James Parker? They go to your school.
Yeah, them. Are they nice? I’ve never met them, so I don’t know. I do know that their parents really can’t afford to send them to your school without assistance; it’s called the DC Opportunity Scholarship Program, and it lets over 1,700 poor kids in DC get scholarships every year. It’s often called a “voucher” program, although people who like school choice wouldn’t agree: they want everybody to have the chance to pick the best schools for their kid, instead of just a small number. Still, this program is helping people who are usually making about half of much as the federal poverty level; it’s hard to dispute that it’s a good one. I’m sure that Sarah & James think that it’s a good program.