I've decided to post an article about hypocrisy. *grin*
A while back, I mentioned that one of the reasons I left political journalism was that I was sick of all the rampant hypocrisy, the pretend hatreds and ridiculous, valueless partisanship: people who pretended to hold these enormous, sweeping, moral opinions but in reality were just wearing them for the benefit of their "votes." This attitude was prevalent not only among politicians but among aides and journalists; people like Ann Coulter, for example, didn't ACTUALLY believe half of what they wrote, but did it just to get reactions.
I later mentioned, in another thread, how Brock's Blinded by the Right appealed to me as a book that perfectly detailed my own experience with this culture: the closely-knit, largely apolitical "teams" that divide up along partisan lines for no purpose other than attacking each other.
This excerpt -- especially the last page -- from Sidney Blumenthal's latest contains pretty much the same thing, including descriptions of post-impeachment parties where Lindsey Graham and Bill Bennett, politics be damned, sit around and gossip about how annoying Christopher Hitchens has been lately. http://www.salon.com/news/feature/2003/05/09/blumenthal5/index3.html
THAT'S the kind of hypocrisy that bothers me about Washington: pretending to whip yourself up into a frenzy of loathing, when in reality it's just good for the cameras.
[This message has been edited by TomDavidson (edited May 09, 2003).]
Of course not, Jeff. I just sat at home and made stuff up.
Look, man, I keep telling you that you don't know crap about my life. Why should you be surprised to discover that, given the number of times I've told you this, you actually DON'T?
Just because I'm mature enough to not respond to ALL of your attempts to slander and insult me, including the ones that have called me a two-bit, unambitious hack writer who covers local school board meetings, doesn't mean that you should assume I'm vouching for their technical accuracy.
Now, I don't claim to have hopped the globe as much as YOU say you have, but perhaps it's possible for you to understand why your consistent reference to my lack of life experience is rather galling when, in fact, I've lived a fair bit already. *grin*
quote:Of course not, Jeff. I just sat at home and made stuff up.
You usually do, that is why I ask. I am honestly surprised you have been to Washington given your dearth of real life. If you worry about my bringing up your consistently short life experiences, you may consider the fact that you act as if you do when upon closer examination you are often only writing vicariously in hopes that no one looks behind the curtain.
quote:Just because I'm mature enough to not respond to ALL of your attempts to slander and insult me, including the ones that have called me a two-bit, unambitious hack writer who covers local school board meetings, doesn't mean that you should assume I'm vouching for their technical accuracy.
I don't think I ever said that, but the sentiment is accurate.
Actually Paul has requested I tone it down and give Tom a chance. In deference to Paul I will, however any goading will set me off. I will be interested in what Tom has to say.
Posts: 3834 | Registered: Apr 2002
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While I claim no great personal friendship to any politicians, this idea hardly surprises me. It is fairly similar to the idea of "differentiation" in the business world wherein any difference which can be made to appear to exist, whether real or not, between my product and a competitor's product gives my product a higher perceived value. I think that the principle is the same- whether a politician actually believes a given platform, standard etc or not is immaterial compared to the public's perception of where he stands and the resultant votes.
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From my own selfish perspective, the difficulty here is one that ties into the media: when the pundits don't even pretend to be fair or accurate, and partisanship is a matter of teams rather than philosophies, and the politicians themselves are only loosely committed to the principles about which they gesticulate -- how is it possible to report anything resembling real news? What can we realistically expect to know about our politicians? Should the media start reporting on things that have traditionally been out of line -- like affairs, personal friendships, and so on -- to clear up this hypocrisy, or is it actually doing no harm by remaining quietly complicit in these performances? Posts: 22935 | Registered: Nov 2000
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I see what you mean. First off, I think that the pursuit of NEWS rather than news (wherein I mean the search for sensationalism rather than reality) is the source of many skewed perceptions, this one of politicians included. Personally I would prefer that the media report on the stances of the politicians as they really are rather than as the politicians would like to portray them to be. Otherwise all that we have in office is a passel of apathetic playactors. I would not be surprised if such is the case, but I would certainly like to know about it to the extent possible so that I can do my part to replace these pretenders, hopefully with someone who has a bit of passion.
However, reporting on such things would likely have no effect as the pretenders would simply move their playacting to a different level and the lack of sensationalist reporting would likely result in a loss of viewers (or equivalent) and so nothing would have been accomplished.
TV and cable news are useful for disaster reporting, that's pretty much it. For any other current event stories blogs, OpEd pieces, news magazines, and News websites give a decent tone; and they usually do a decent job linking to interesting news stories. That combined with raw data where available usually provides a useable image of an event over time. At least on national/international news. Local news is a bit harder, but it also tends to be a bit better reported, as long as it doesn't draw national attention.
Posts: 160 | Registered: Apr 2003
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I believe most people exist under the illusion that at one time in this country the media was somehow unbiased (regardless of venue), it has never been that way. What bothers me more is the attempt to hide bias that developed in the early part of the last century, which created the myth we have regarding the media today.
Being objective is an admirable goal, but don't try to tell me you are being objective when you aren't, thats the party that hypocritical to me.
How much of the emphasis on "NEWS rather than news" (great line, Adjudicator) is based on expedience? Reporting on what happened, scratching the surface, is far easier than researching the backstory and developing plausible explanations. It takes WORK to dig deep into, say, a politician's record to uncover votes that contradict stated opinions or contributions deposited prior to key votes, and work takes TIME--but in the cutthroat world of "outscooping" the competition, few are willing to invest that sort of effort and time. I don't know if it's corporate pressure, editorial inattention, or journalistic laziness--or a combination of the three.
I now return you to your regularly scheduled program, G
Your first post in this thread is basically an attack on Tom; the guy SAID he was formerly a political writer, and you're essentially saying he doesn't know anything about Washington by suggesting he's never been there.
In your second post you continue your attack on him personally and more specifically by saying that he makes stuff up and things like: "your dearth of real life" "your consistently short life experiences" "you are often only writing vicariously in hopes that no one looks behind the curtain"
Frankly, I don't know why the Moderator bothers to allow you to post when you so obviously and continuously attack people rather than opinions, but that's the Mod's choice.
You, Baldar, are one of those people who simply cannot grasp the notion that you do not have to attack the person to attack their opinions.
You're a smart guy and could regularly demolish someone's facts and opinions without saying a single word about them personally, but you NEVER do that.
It's sad, really, because it's that atmosphere that's exactly what Tom's talking about.
Take, for example, the hubbub over Hilary's Health Care Plan. It was a pretty crappy plan, in my opinion, but rather than simply demolishing the plan her opponents chose to vilify HER.
Why? Why bother to slag on the person? Weren't they satisfied with killing the plan? Why must politics and political discourse be such a bloodsport?
And the press... they're just as bad, because they feed into the culture. By giving huge import to the personal, negative attacks, they only feed the flames.
They could simply report the facts about the issues, but "Daschle Slams The President!!!" is a much more compelling headline than "Daschle Details Technical Problems With Corporate Tax Laws!!!!".
PS-Anyway, don't bother being "nice" on my account. Your posts are occasionally quite interesting and informative; it's sad that because your personal attacks are so continual that people can't talk about the issues with you.
Just go ahead and be you, and with luck sooner or later the Mod and/or the rest of the Ornerites will wake up and either ban or shun you completely.
(Of course, I'm breaking my own suggestion, making me a hypocrite; no doubt I'll receive more vicious email from you like last time, despite me asking/telling you three separate times to NOT send me any email. Sigh. I hate non-moderated online posting boards sometimes.)
Enumclaw, man I wanred you in the other thread: Baldar has a history of insulting people and being condescending. He gets threads locked regularly and almost always instigates any negative posts on threads. You're wasting time typing about it. Also, I wouldn't bother worrying about the moderator, no matter how many times you complain to the moderator it won't matter. The moderator even tries to explain Baldar's rude behavior and excuse it somewhat by suggesting people provoke it by not "thinking their posts through correctly." I have several emails like this. This leads me to believe the moderator either IS Baldar or one of his appologists on the board.
[This message has been edited by Celestial Mechanic (edited May 09, 2003).]
A little off topic (not that that seems to matter) but I was reading another post and Baldar says how Tom pisses him off, or words to that effect. And who among us hasn't been mad at someone here (or somewhere)? It made me think of this. I don't know who said it, but I think it is very deep and apropoS;
"Being angry/hating is like taking poison and hoping the other guy dies."
on the same line
"My health is in the hands of every idiot I meet."
I try to think of these when I get mad. Sometimes it even works. Especially in traffic.
[This message has been edited by KnightEnder (edited May 09, 2003).]
My theory is that Baldar and Tom are brother and sister, and that they created their mutually antagonistic net personas to influence and direct world opinion on various issues, in order to pave the way for planetary government.
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Enumclaw spare me, Tom has a habit of knowing exactly how to provoke me so I get provoked, its as simple as that. We have had this converstation before so I suggest you "I hate Baldar" guys develop some testicles and move on.
Posts: 3834 | Registered: Apr 2002
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Perhaps because I was still upset at his needling me on another post.
As to ignoring facts, I try real hard not to. Perhaps you should apply the same effort. Generally when you and I have an agreement you accuse me of everything but not using the facts which I find gratifying in a way.
No seriously, you guys notice how Baldar makes comments about removing our genitals, what color hair we have, that our ass muscles control our brains, and that we are but poor attempts at thought and the moderator doesn't really DO anything to him? Then when people get even mildly defensive the moderator pops into the thread and says 'ok stop fighting both of you,' even though its really just Baldar's vitriol and usually a justified defense? (well, except the REALLY nasty Tom-Baldar drudge matches). I seriously think the moderator must have to be someone like Ken Bean or Chiu or Seagull to let Baldar pull this much stuff.
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Can we PLEASE move any "is the Mod doing his/her job" and "who is the Mod" discussions to another thread? Please? I'm still kind of interested in this actual topic, and I'd hate to see it die -- either through being choked with irrelevancies or locked when it gets too nasty.
Posts: 22935 | Registered: Nov 2000
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I'd like to clarify a very important point: I don't consider political compromise, the actual give and take of opinions and principles that wind up settling for something balanced in the middle, to be hypocrisy. It is, at worst, waffling.
Hypocrisy, as far as I'm concerned, is a far greater crime: it's NOT CARING about your principles, but pretending that you do in front of the cameras. It's not actually hating your enemies, but frothing at the mouth about them for the press. It's not actually respecting your friends and colleagues, but praising them to the heavens at the same time you betray them.
I think the danger is that political compromise -- a perfectly reasonable and natural thing -- can ultimately lead to hypocrisy. It's the same in the corporate world; people often know, for example, that they have to exaggerate their budget requests in order to get enough to operate, so they create fake issues and potential costs that they KNOW don't exist just to wind up back at the original number. The same thing happens in politics, and I think it ultimately desensitizes politicians to the things they're fighting for.
And once you've been emotionally distanced from the principles that put you in politics in the first place, what's left to keep you sincere? Why SHOULDN'T you think of it as a great game, a bunch of power plays? It's even harder when you see people that you know are hard-working, dedicated, and devoted to things like fairness and accuracy passed over by grandstanding fluffballs who are perfectly willing to lie as long as it gets their name on a splash somewhere; why SHOULDN'T you follow their path?
The answer is a personal one: because it's wrong. But it's NOT a practical one, and so the people who choose to follow the right path -- and this is historically true; it's not a recent phenomenon -- are ground into the dust and ignored for those who are willing to metaphorically bite the heads off chickens.
Hypocrisy is not making a deal with the Speaker to slip in your amendment if you vote for his farm bill; hypocrisy is pounding your fist on a podium declaring that, on further reflection, you think his farm bill is the best thing for the country today, and people who disagree are enemies of freedom.
Hypocrisy is stating a series of beliefs and then not living by them.
I am interested in how someone can create "fake" contingencies since by their very nature contingencies don't exist and may not occur, so how can they not be fake? In business when you create a contingency, especially in publically owned companies, you express specifically what that contingency is for and what the justification of that contingency is. Then if you access the funds, it MUST be related to the contingency originally outlined. Business and reporting are very strict task masters. It is not as loose as you indicated Tom. Just to correct your perception.
quote:Hypocrisy is not making a deal with the Speaker to slip in your amendment if you vote for his farm bill;
Let us look at the hypocrisy of the founding fathers. Their might not have been a USA had the north (many of which agreed that slavery was morally wrong) not compromised and specifically allowed the slavery and even enshrined its existence in the constitution. By doing so their claim of equality ws made moot by the "pragmatic" or "utilitarian" view of a real politik in which slaves were represented for a count (4/5ths) but could not choose their destiny through the vote. Is this hypocrisy or compromise?
"Business and reporting are very strict task masters. It is not as loose as you indicated Tom."
*laugh* I find this hysterically funny. Admittedly, I speak only from completely anecdotal experience, here, but I have never worked for a department -- in any field -- that didn't have a budget which was less than 10% hope and 5% myth. *grin*
Your point about slavery is a good one, but I think it skirts the line of hypocrisy a bit; it's very possible -- in fact, it's a known fact -- that many of the Founding Fathers who were persuaded to allow slavery still worked to eliminate it, and indeed hoped that it would be a temporary compromise that could be worked out in the future. They subsumed their beliefs, but they weren't FALSE about them.
Hypocrisy is, like Jefferson, bemoaning the plight of the slave while owning slaves oneself. It's NOT agreeing to permit slavery -- even if you find it distasteful -- provided that it's the only way to hold the country together.
Note, however, that I've already said that this kind of compromise DOES tend to eventually lead to actual hypocrisy; once you've learned how to look the other way a few too many times, you stop looking altogether.
Surprised those companies make any money. Just telling you what the business rules are. If you place x dollars in your budget, and you have anyone thats a decent accountant then they would already have most things justified with efficient explanations. One does put in a 5 - 10% portion in the budget, but that is usually for a growth that is justified at 5 - 10%.
As to the question of hypocrisy in government. Is it an act of hypocrisy to believe that all men should be free, but then allow the enslavement of men in order to justify greater territorial integrity? In other words, is it better that some men be slaves for a bigger piece of land?
Jefferson was a hypocrite and I believe Washington was not, though both owned slaves.
The situation at that time was one in which slaves found very little freedom. Washington upon his death manumitted the slaves and provided an income, allowing his family to seek their own destinies and incomes. Jefferson had the slaves sold to enrich his family. To me Jefferson spoke words he did not believe in, not really. Washington endorsed Monroe's plan of a "back to Africa" movement which created the founding of Liberia with its capital "Monrovia".
I think politics inherently leads to hypocrisy and that one does learn to live with that hypocrisy. But it still is what it is.
Stating that you will put off the freedom of men for territorial integrity speaks to the value to which you hold those men in bondage. Is a little bit of land worth freedom of a brother? Putting it off until you are dead and buried is not what I call a compromise. It is submission.
Franklin had it right when he sent a group of quakers to challange slavery right after the constitution was ratified by the states. Had the "compromisers" bulled their way through, the Civil War could have been avoided.
While I don't for a moment want to defend slavery as an institution, I should point out that it's unlikely many of the people who advocated for its retention considered those slaves to be their "brothers," and honestly did not feel that the words and ideals of freedom enshrined in their founding documents even applied to individuals that they considered subhuman. This isn't hypocrisy; it's perfectly odious bigotry. Posts: 22935 | Registered: Nov 2000
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Wrong, many did see blacks as equals or rather those who were entitled to equal rights, especially quakers, but they were far from being the only group. I contend, especially with the founding fathers that such actions did constitute hypocrisy that was accepted as a part of politics. They believed and even spoke of blacks being entitled to the same rights, but in the name of territorial strength chose to ignore it.
Posts: 3834 | Registered: Apr 2002
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Perhaps you misunderstood my point. Re-read my last two posts, which specifically address 1) why people who were opposed to slavery (like, for example, the Quakers) might have temporarily accepted it, non-hypocritically, for the sake of the new nation and 2) why people who thought slavery was a good idea might well have, without hypocrisy, believed in freedom for themselves but NOT for those they didn't even consider human.
Both of your points are wrong. The very essence of hypocrisy is supporting something you do not believe in.
I did not say compromise was hypocrisy, I did say that politics inherently leads to hypocrisy because you cannot act on your beliefs, but the beliefs of others, regardless of promise.
quote: 1) why people who were opposed to slavery (like, for example, the Quakers) might have temporarily accepted it, non-hypocritically, for the sake of the new nation
And yet you fail to explain how that is non hypocritical. The Quakers, for example did not accept slavery, they were not hypocrites.
By subsuming freedom or equal rights for territorial gain you indeed decide that equal rights, even for those you do not see as equal but feel should have equal rights, is necessarily given away. So the clause of its importance becomes your millstone of hypocrisy. Is it more important to have land or freedom for all men? If you honestly feel it is land, then you cannot say or expect others to give you credibility when you state that freedom for all men is more important, while enshrining the slavery of a certain class, it would be.... hypocrisy.
Tom is describing expediency Baldar, not hypocricy. If I tell you that I think that slavery is wrong, but I secretly keep slaves myself because it is convenient to do so, that is hypocricy. If I tell you slavery is wrong, but I do not oppose it because I believe it is a necessary evil to sustain the union, then that is not hypocricy, it is merely sacrificing one ideal to preserve a greater one.
Posts: 7629 | Registered: Mar 2003
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Okay, here is an on-topic example of true hypocrisy, both by the politicos performing it, and the medi reporting it:
Yesterday, several more important political observers have called upon the GOP to discontinue allowing other work to go on while the filabuster of Miguel Estrada and Priscilla Owen continue. The Democrat’s filibustering of President’s Bush’s nominatees to the DC Circuit Court of Appeals is longer than their blockage of the Civil Rights Bill in the 1960s.
Interesting that the only filabuster by the Democrats longer than their attempt to block Civil Rights is one to prevent the first Latino and a woman a place on the bench. A strange decision by the "party of the people."
Hypocrisy abounds. the Democrats have presented a united front blaming President Bush for naming "unacceptable and unqualified" nominees for judicial office. They acknowledge the votes are present to confirm the nominees if the names can reach the floor. The hypocrisy is in both calling the nominees substandard, when in actuality, each nominee is highly rated and praised by most all rating boards, incuding the American Bar Association and several Democratic senators who have worked directly with the nominees; and in blocking a straight up or down vote on the floor. 60 votes are needed for cloture, so at least 40 Democrats have used their blocking power to prevent a hearing and vote on the floor.
In earlier times, when the Democrats had the majority, they were adamant about the right to get such names to the floor, when nominated by a Democratic President. Even when the nominees were arguably incompetent or poorly rated nominees with no assurance of confirmation, the GOP generally allowed the names to come to the floor for hearings and a vote. The few political hot potatoes that were bottled up in committee were usually just tabled by sufficient two-party votes in committee, not filabustered to prevent a vote.
DASCHLE IN 1999: “I Find It Simply Baffling That A Senator Would Vote Against Even Voting On A Judicial Nomination.” (Senator Tom Daschle (S-SD) Congressional Record, 10/5/99)
In 1997, Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-VT) Said Senate Should “[A]ccept Our Responsibility And Vote People Up Or Vote Them Down. …If We Want To Vote Against Them, Vote Against Them.” (Senator Patrick Leahy, Congressional Record, 10/22/97)
In 1997, Sen. Joe Biden (D-DE) Said “[I]t Is Not … Appropriate Not To Have Hearings On [Judicial Nominees], Not To Bring Them To The Floor And Not To Allow A Vote …” (Senator Joe Biden, Congressional Record, 3/19/97)
In 1997, Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-CA) Said The Senate Should Not“[O]bstruct The Process And Prevent Numbers Of Highly Qualified Nominees From Even Being Given The Opportunity For A Vote On The Senate Floor.” (Senator Barbara Boxer, Congressional Record, 5/14/97)
In 1998, Sen. Ted Kennedy (D-MA) Said “We Owe It To Americans Across The Country To Give These Nominees A Vote. If Our Republican Colleagues Don’t Like Them, Vote Against Them. But Give Them A Vote.” (Senator Ted Kennedy, Congressional Record, 2/3/98)
In 1998, Sen. Richard Durbin (D-IL) Demanded “Vote The Person Up Or Down.” (Senator Richard Durbin, Congressional Record, 9/28/98) In 1999, Sen. Tom Daschle Said “An Up-Or-Down Vote, That Is All We Ask …” (Senator Tom Daschle, Congressional Record, 10/5/99)
In 1999, Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) Said “It Is Our Job To Confirm These Judges. If We Don’t Like Them, We Can Vote Against Them.” (Senator Dianne Feinstein, Congressional Record, 9/16/99)
In 2000, Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-NY) Said “[W]e Are Charged With Voting On The Nominees. The Constitution Does Not Say If The Congress Is Controlled By A Different Party Than The President There Shall Be No Judges Chosen.” (Senator Chuck Schumer, Congressional Record, 3/7/00)
In 2000, Sen. Tom Harkin (D-IA) Urged “[T]he Republican Leadership To Take The Steps Necessary To Allow The Full Senate To Vote Up Or Down On These Important Nominations.” (Senator Tom Harkin, Congressional Record, 9/11/00)
In 2001, Sen. Harry Reid (D-NV) Declared “[W]e Should Have Up-Or-Down Votes In The Committee And On The Floor.” (CNN’s “Evans, Novak, Hunt & Shields,” 6/9/01)
In 2001, Sen. Byron Dorgan (D-ND) Said “My Expectation Is That We’re Not Going To Hold Up Judicial Nominations. …You Will Not See Us Do What Was Done To Us In Recent Years In The Senate With Judicial Nominations.” (Fox News’ “Special Report With Brit Hume,” 6/4/01)
quote:Miguel Estrada's Qualifications and Bipartisan Support official reply to the Senate:
Miguel Estrada is an extraordinary qualified judicial nominee. The American Bar Association, which Senators LEAHY and SCHUMER have referred to as the "gold standard," unanimously rated Estrada "well qualified" for the D.C. Circuit, the ABA's highest possible rating. The ABA rating was entirely appropriate in light of Mr. Estrada's superb record as Assistant to the Solicitor General in the Clinton and George H.W. Bush Administrations, as a federal prosecutor in New York, as a law clerk to Justice Kennedy, and in performing significant pro bono work.
Some who are misinformed have seized on Mr. Estrada's lack of prior judicial experience, but five of the eight judges currently serving on the D.C. Circuit had not prior judicial experience, including two appointees of President Clinton and one appointee of President Carter. Miguel Estrada has tried numerous cases before federal juries, argued many cases in the federal appeals courts, and argued 15 cases before the Supreme Court of the United States. That is a record that few judicial nominees can match. And few lawyers, whatever there ideology or philosophy, have volunteered to represent a death row inmate pro bono before the Supreme Court as did Miguel Estrada.
Miguel Estrada is strongly supported by the vast majority of national Hispanic organizations. The League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC), for example, wrote to Senator LEAHY to urge Mr. Estrada's confirmation and explain that he "is truly one of the rising stars in the Hispanic community and a role model for our youth." A group of 19 Hispanic organizations, including LULAC and the Hispanic National Bar Association, recently wrote to the Senate urging "on behalf of an overwhelming majority of Hispanics in this country" that "both parties in the U.S. Senate ... put partisan politics aside so that Hispanics are no longer denied representation in one of the most prestigious courts in the land."
The current effort to filibuster Mr. Estrada's nomination is particularly unjustified given that those who have worked with Miguel — including prominent Democratic lawyers whom you know well — strongly support his confirmation. For example, Ron Klain, who served as a high-ranking adviser to former Vice President Gore and former Chief Counsel to the Senate Judiciary Committee, wrote: "Miguel is a person of outstanding character, tremendous intellect, and with a deep commitment to the faithful application of precedent. ...The challenges that he has overcome in his life have made him genuinely compassionate, genuinely concerned for others, and genuinely devoted to helping those in need."
President Clinton's Solicitor General, Seth Waxman, wrote: "During the time Mr. Estrada and I worked together, he was a model of professionalism and competence. ... In no way did I ever discern that the recommendations Mr. Estrada made or the analyses he propounded were colored in any way by his personal views — or indeed that they reflected any consideration other than the long-term interests of the United States. I have great respect both for Mr. Estrada's intellect and for his integrity."
A bipartisan group of 14 former colleagues in the Office of the Solicitor General at the U.S. Department of Justice wrote: "We hold varying ideological views and affirmations that range across the political spectrum, but we are unanimous in our conviction that Miguel would be a fair and honest judge who would decide cases in accordance with the applicable legal principles and precedents, not on the basis of personal preferences or political viewpoints." One former colleague, Richard Seamon, wrote that he is a pro-choice, lifelong Democrat with self-described "liberal views on most issues" who said he would "consider it a disgrace" if Mr. Estrada is not confirmed.
President Bush nominated Miguel Estrada on May 9, 2001. He is well-qualified and well-respected. By any traditional measure that the Senate has used to evaluate appeals courts nominees, Miguel Estrada should have been confirmed long ago.
There has never been a successful filibuster of a court of appeal nominee. Only a few years ago, Senator Leahy and other Democrat Senators expressly agreed with then-Governor Bush that every judicial nominee was entitled to an up-or-down floor vote within a reasonable time. On October 3, 2000, for example, Senator LEAHY STATED:
"Governor Bush and I, while we disagree on some issues, have one very significant issue on which we agree. He gave a speech a while back and criticized what has happened in the Senate where confirmation are held up not because somebody votes down a nominee but because they cannot ever get a vote. Governor Bush said: You have the nominee. Hold the hearing. Then, within 60 days, vote them up or vote them down. Don't leave them in limbo. Frankly, that is what we are paid to do in this body. We are paid to vote either yes or no--not vote maybe. When we hold a nominee up by not allowing them a vote and not taking any action one way or the other, we are not only voting `maybe,' but we are doing a terrible disservice to the man or woman to whom we do this."
Senator Daschle similarly stated on October 5, 1999, that "The Senate is surely under no obligation to confirm any particular nominee, but after the necessary time for inquiry it should vote him up or vote him down."
The Senate's traditional approach to appeals court nominees, and the approach envisioned by the Constitution's Farmers, is far different from the standard that you now seek to apply. Senator BIDEN stated the traditional approach in 1997: "any person who is nominated for the district or circuit court who, in fact, any Senator believes will be a person of their word and follow stare decisis, it does not matter to me what their ideology is, as long as they are in a position where they are in the general mainstream of American political life, and they have not committed crimes of moral turpitude, and have not, in fact, acted in a way that would shed a negative light on the court." Congressional Record, March 19, 1997. Alexander Hamilton explained that the purpose of Senate confirmation is to prevent appointment of "unfit characters from State prejudice, from family connection, from personal attachment, or from a view to popularity." Federalist No. 76. It was anticipated that the Senate's approval would not often be refused unless there were "special and strong reasons for the refusal." No. 76.
[Democrats] have suggested that Mr. Estrada's background, experience, and support are insufficient to assess his suitability for the D.C. Circuit. You have renewed your request for Solicitor General memos authored by Mr. Estrada. But every living former Solicitor General signed a joint letter to the Senate opposing your request. The letter was signed by Democrats Archibald Cox, Walter Dellinger, Drew Days, and Seth Waxman. They stated: "Any attempt to intrude into the Office's highly privileged deliberations would come at the cost of the Solicitor General's ability to defend vigorously the United States' litigation interests--a cost that also would be borne by Congress itself. ... Although we profoundly respect the Senate's duty to evaluate Mr. Estrada's fitness for the federal judiciary, we do not think that the confidentiality and integrity of internal deliberations should be sacrificed in the process."
It bears mention that the interest asserted here is that of the United States, not the personal interest of Mr. Estrada. Indeed, Mr. Estrada himself testified that "I have not opposed the release of those records. ... I am exceptionally proud of every piece of legal work that I have done in my life. If it were up to me as a private citizen, I would be more than proud to have you look at everything that I have done for the government or for a private client."
Now it appears like a very objective black-and-white fact, that the fillibuster is hypocritic and there is no justifiable rationalization for it other than the true one, that the DNC is looking at its own demise. Latinos and other formerly untouchable Democrat bloc-voters are no longer guaranteed in their ballots, and polls all over the country are off the scale in accord with GOP ideas and proposals, and Bush approval ratings. The Dems are harvesting a sered crop indeed if all they can do is try to get in the way of competing politicians from doing good. "Sure, the president's economic plan may work, but a bad economy is all we have to rally against in November, so let's not lose it." "We can't allow the GOP to get a Latino nominee in position for the Supreme Court - that's OUR job!"