Joe Nocera at the NYT had a great little opinion piece, and it resonated with me because I remember the nastiness to which he refers. Especially the lead up to a vote that revealed some vile human beings in our legislature. You expect some nastiness in advocacy groups, but until then, the senate actually was a “collegial round table.” But hey, it’s an anniversary, so let’s celebrate The Nastiness!
On October 23, 1987, “Robert Bork’s nomination to the Supreme Court was voted down by the Senate. All but two Democrats voted ‘nay.'” Ain’t it wonderful? 24 years ago today, intellectual midgets in our “collegial” senate torpedoed an intellectual giant. I wanted to bring up Bork for essentially the same reason Joe Nocera did: to highlight where the ugliness started. Just one good paragraph to entice you to go read Joe’s opinion piece… a quick trip that highlights why demorats have no ethical space to bitch about rethuglican obstructionism:
I’ll take it one step further. The Bork fight, in some ways, was the beginning of the end of civil discourse in politics. For years afterward, conservatives seethed at the “systematic demonization” of Bork, recalls Clint Bolick, a longtime conservative legal activist. The Atlanta Journal-Constitution coined the angry verb “to bork,” which meant to destroy a nominee by whatever means necessary. When Republicans borked the Democratic House Speaker Jim Wright less than two years later, there wasn’t a trace of remorse, not after what the Democrats had done to Bork. The anger between Democrats and Republicans, the unwillingness to work together, the profound mistrust — the line from Bork to today’s ugly politics is a straight one.
This article is an excellent counterpoint to the horseshit that shows up at “MediaMatters.” A simple reading of the Wiki article shows MediaMatters to be the liars most people believe them to be. Even with the six Republican moral cowards, Bork would have lost the confirmation.
Why bring this up? Well, one reason that sits like a burr beneath a saddle (not that I feel remotely like this blog is a saddle 😛 ), is having Commander Admin over at AmeriKAZAM call me out. Another reason is that writer over at Ameri… wait, I may have mentioned that already. Oh, and that really sharp dude over at Responsibility – Freedom Demands It, yeah him too. Of course, there is also that mouthy broad over at Mad Conservative – she just kind of compels me to jump back in and keep swinging. The clearest reason for bringing this up though, is a question. Do we continue with civil discourse when confronted with brutish uncivil behavior and speech? Or, should one give the offender the deserved poke in the nose and test the claim of pacifism? Seriously though, where do you go from here? This whole getting borked thing is a festering wound that has only escalated. AmeriKAZAM pokes it with a bundle of sticks, er, a stable of Jon Swifts, but funnier. What do we do if we want to win back our country?
One thing is for certain… it ain’t just writing in a blog. How’s that old saw go? “Ya gotta get off yer apathy and do something.” Time to do something – what’s it gonna be??
I once went to seminary and got one of the M.Div. things, and though most would consider me an apostate, I still have some favorite Bible verses… Here’s what we should do next, from Judges, chapter 15:
For now, let’s just make asses of them. Let’s go with Joe’s concluding thought:
Today, of course, the court has a conservative majority, and liberal victories are, indeed, being overturned. Interestingly, Bolick says Bork’s beliefs would have made him a restraining force. Theodore Olson, who served as solicitor general under George W. Bush, also pointed out that after Bork, nominees would scarcely acknowledge that they had rich and nuanced judicial philosophies for fear of giving ammunition to the other side. Those philosophies would be unveiled only after they were on the court.
Mostly, though, the point remains this: The next time a liberal asks why Republicans are so intransigent, you might suggest that the answer lies in the mirror.
Cheers you wielders of the sharpened word,