The 2005 Theocracy Comeback Tour
With the Republicans' election wins in November, the United States now has the rough equivalent of a parliamentary majority. The party in power -- assuming it holds ranks -- can do pretty much whatever it wants. Leaving aside partisanship for a moment -- and only for a moment -- I find it curious that the Republicans seem to be focused on the powers they don't have instead of the powers they do:
Senator Bill Frist, the majority leader, has agreed to join a handful of prominent Christian conservatives in a telecast portraying Democrats as "against people of faith" for blocking President Bush's [judicial] nominees.Found here in the New York Times, via OxBlog.
Fliers for the telecast, organized by the Family Research Council and scheduled to originate at a Kentucky megachurch the evening of April 24, call the day "Justice Sunday" and depict a young man holding a Bible in one hand and a gavel in the other. The flier does not name participants, but under the heading "the filibuster against people of faith," it reads: "The filibuster was once abused to protect racial bias, and it is now being used against people of faith."
Why spend one's political capital to get 10 blocked judicial nominees through the Senate? Is there some larger purpose at work here? Some deft, subtle strategy that eludes me? Because from where I sit, I can't see it. From where I sit, it looks like the Republicans are like a spoiled child on his birthday, looking at the tower of gifts and throwing a tantrum over the one gift he didn't get.
It's worse than that. As far as I can tell, whatever the Republicans may wish their post-election message to be, in reality, based on their actions to date, it has been the following:
- Social Security reform is a great idea.
- Bankruptcy reform is going to help the average person.
- It was urgent that Congress intervene in the Schiavo case.
- That Tom DeLay, he's one fine, upstanding character.
Social Security reform is a good idea in theory, but the President has never actually advanced a plan, and the plans advanced by his vassals have been incompetent at best. Bankruptcy reform is a reasonable idea in theory, but the bill passed was so one-sided against consumers, it could have come straight out of the Middle Ages.
And then we come to the Schiavo case and the filibuster. In the former, the Republicans (and some Democrats), disagreeing with years and years of consistent judicial decisions, many (if not most) by judges appointed by their own party, tried to overrule the judiciary by legislative fiat, all to preserve a life when it was impossible to find anyone who could say that they would want their own life preserved in such a state, and all in the name of God. In the latter, the Republicans are now invoking the name of God again, saying that the removal of a longstanding Senate rule, used quite often by themselves when they were the minority party, is somehow against God's will.
It's not just disgusting. It's frightening. It's the attempted comeback of the theocracy. I suppose that's the larger purpose at work. The Republicans want to use their expanded powers to remove -- or at least minimize -- secular influences in government.