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11/08/2004

They Still Don't Get It

During the 2000 Presidential campaign George W Bush billed himself as "The Great Uniter". After 9/11 it seemed he would have the chance to unite not only America, but the world. The entire planet was behind us after we where brutally attacked. Not only that, but he was presented with an opportunity to heal a nation after a bitterly contested election. I mean even Tom Daschle hugged the President in public.

Instead of taking advantage of all this "political capital" and goodwill both here and internationally, Bush proceeded to alienate nearly every traditional ally this country has while simultaneously pushing away the Democrat party in this country. His "go it alone" attitude in Iraq has made us an international pariah. His zeal to attack Iraq as part of a larger war on terror, even while all signs pointed to no connection between Iraq and Al-Queda, made him a lightning rod for criticism here in America and at a time when America should have come together, the "Great Uniter" became instead the "Great Divider".

One would think that the radical right would have learned their lesson, but sadly it seems they haven't. Last week Bush won re-election and the Republicans made gains in the House and the Senate. They now enjoy a 55-45 majority in the latter. As everyone is quick to remind us however, 55 doesn't mean much in the senate where 60 votes are needed to end filibusters and get legislation and judicial nominations passed.

Once again, Bush has been presented with an opportunity to be a real leader, a uniter. There is a possibility that as many as four Supreme Court Justices will step down during the next four years. Now as we know the Republicans theoretically have 55 of the 60 votes required to get a justice confirmed, and all they would need to do is send up a nominee who would be acceptable to five moderate or conservative Democrats. That's all, just meet five out 45 half way and you get your man or woman on the court for the next 40 years. Alas, it seems the Republican leadership and their policy makers on talk radio seem determined to insist on radical nominees to the High Court.

The man in line to take over the Senate Judiciary committee is Arlen Specter, a moderate Republican from Pennsylvania. The day after the election he reminded the President that the chances of getting a strictly Pro-Life nominee confirmed by the entire Senate are slim. Ever since then the Right has been going crazy, trying to get Specter canned as Judiciary Committee Chairman. They don't want somebody chairing that committee who might actually work with Democrats and Republicans both to get good solid people confirmed, they want radical appointees to be rubber stamped by the committee and sent to a full vote where, as Specter has already reminded us, they are doomed for failure. These idealogues are more interested in the appearance that they are trying to get radical right wing judges on the court than in actually finding qualified candidates both sides can live with. They are more interested in blaming the Democrats in the next election and the one after that than they are in building a consensus and actually accomplishing something.

Not only will this keep moderate Democrats from supporting Supreme Court nominees, but it may even drive moderate Republicans like Lincoln Chaffee, Olympia Snowe, John McCain, Susan Collins and even Specter himself to defect and vote with Democrats, thus making a 50-50 tie and nothing gets done. It seems they won't even try to work with Democrats, they only want to ram their radical conservative agenda down everyone's throats even though only 52% of the electorate voted for them.

The Right Wing propaganda machine is calling for Specter to lose his committee chairmanship. They are writing and calling committee members telling them to dump Specter. We need to match them. Click here to email the committee members and click here to contact your senator. We have to stand up now before it's too late.

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