I'm a little late on this topic, but I had to let my disbelief and anger mellow some before I posted.
As most are aware, Senate Majority leader Bill Frist attended a large convention type thing this weekend, dubbed Justice Sunday, to speak on behalf of the ever-threatened filibuster. Most people have quoted the tag line, but I'll place it here for those who haven't seen it (its time to get out of that cave!)
Justice Sunday - Stopping the Filibuster Against People of Faith
I personally don't care what Bill Frist said. I don't care that he backed away from our buddy Tom Delay's 'judges will be held responsible'. I don't care if he got up there and with his taped speech and gave everyone his recipe for meatloaf. Participating in this debacle is a disgrace for a public servant. If this event isn't meant to pander to the religious right and divide people by scaring them, I don't know what is.
You see, Bill Frist doesn't think 'its radical to ask senators to vote. I don't think its radical to expect senators to fulfill their constitutional responsibilities,".
You know whats funny? The Family Research Council, co-sponsor of the event, does think its a bit radical apparently (hat tip Media Matters):
Seven years ago, it was in favor of them. That's when Clinton and a then-Democratic plurality in the Senate wanted a man named James Hormel to become the ambassador to Luxembourg. Hormel, of the Spam-and-other-meats Hormels, was gay, as the Senate minority bottled up Hormel's nomination with filibusters and threats of filibusters, minority relative to cloture, to breaking up a filibuster.
They did that for a year and a half. The Family Research Council's senior writer, Steven Schwalm, appeared on National Public Radio at the time and explained the value, even the necessity, of the filibuster.
"The Senate," he said, "is not a majoritarian institution, like the House of Representatives is. It is a deliberative body, and it's got a number of checks and balances built into our government. The filibuster is one of those checks in which a majority cannot just sheerly force its will, even if they have a majority of votes in some cases. That's why there are things like filibusters, and other things that give minorities in the Senate some power to slow things up, to hold things up, and let things be aired properly."
But of course, in the 'nuclear option', filibusters will be allowed for gays, because they are going to hell.
But you know what else is funny? Frist doesn't know the hell he thinks either because (hat tip Center for American Progress):
In 1996 Clinton nominated Judge Richard Paez to the 9th Circuit of the United States Court of Appeals. Conservatives in Congress held up Paez's nomination for more than four years, culminating in an attempted filibuster on March 8, 2000. Bill Frist was among those who voted to filibuster Paez.
Frist was directly confronted with this vote by Bob Schieffer on Face the Nation (11/21/04). Schieffer said "Senator, a group called The American Progress Action Fund sent me a question to ask you. And here's what it says: 'Senator Frist, if you oppose the use of the filibuster for judicial nominations, why did you vote to filibuster Judge Richard Paez when President Clinton nominated him to the 9th Circuit?'" Frist replied "Filibuster, cloture, it gets confusing--as a scheduling or to get more information is legitimate. But no to kill nominees."
Oh well, then he's not a hypocrite right? Wrong!
But American Progress has obtained a document that proves Frist was not, as he suggested, voting to filibuster Paez for scheduling purposes or to get more information. He voted to filibuster Paez for the very reason he said was illegitimate – to block Paez's nomination indefinitely.
On March 9, 2000, Former Senator Bob Smith (R-NH) issued a press release describing the intent of the Paez filibuster vote the day before. The release says Senator Smith "built a coalition of several moderate and conservative Senators in an effort to block" Paez's nomination. Frist was a part of that coalition. Smith did not organize the filibuster to get more information on Paez (after all his nomination had been pending for four years). He organized the filibuster because he had already decided Paez was "out of the mainstream of political though and...should [not] be on the court"
I can't believe more Republicans (besides the moderates that are speaking out against Justice Sunday and the end of the filibuster, i.e. McCain, Graham, etc) aren't blasting Frist. No only is this wrong for America and not in any way what American need right now, we are divided enough as it is, but it is wrong politically. Frist seems to be the front runner for President in 2008, he's laying the ground work for the dreaded...you heard it here first...FLIP FLOP.
Painting people who oppose nominations as against people of faith. We have 3 1/2 years to go people, this religious labeling is only going to get worse.