More of the same old same old, GOP bagman McConnell elected Majority Leader - Mercedes-Benz Forum

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post #1 of 2 (permalink) Old 11-18-2006, 01:12 PM Thread Starter
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More of the same old same old, GOP bagman McConnell elected Majority Leader

Meet the new boss, the old boss's bagman, who thinks he can thwart the will of the people with threats, Mr. "Campaign Contribution" himself:

Democrats warned not to block judges
By LAURIE KELLMAN, Associated Press Writer
Fri Nov 17, 6:50 PM ET

WASHINGTON - The Senate's next Republican leader issued a veiled threat to block action on legislation if Democrats refuse to allow confirmation votes on President Bush's troubled judicial nominations.

Sen. Mitch McConnell (news, bio, voting record) of Kentucky, who will become minority leader Jan. 4, told the conservative Federalist Society Friday not to feel bad about the Senate election results because Republicans will hold 49 seats in a body that requires 60 votes to end a filibuster and bring legislation or presidential nominees to a final vote.

If the "Democrats want our cooperation, they'll give the president's judicial nominees an up-or-down vote," McConnell said.

Vice President Dick Cheney told the same group Friday that Republicans' loss of Congress in last week's election won't dissuade Bush from continuing to nominate strict-constructionist judges to the federal bench.

Democrats have used filibusters and the threat of them to block several of Bush's more conservative federal appeals court nominees who had the support of a majority of senators but lacked the 60 pledges needed to force a vote.

Majority Leader Bill Frist, R-Tenn., became so irked that he brought the Senate to the brink of shutting down by threatening to get a parliamentary ruling forbidding filibusters on judicial nominations.

Only a bipartisan "Gang of 14" senators — seven Republicans and seven Democrats — averted the showdown with an agreement to allow some of Bush's nominees to be confirmed. Democrats subsequently rejected the idea of using filibusters to block Bush's two Supreme Court nominees — Chief Justice John Roberts and Justice Samuel Alito.

"Senator McConnell wants bipartisan cooperation but that's a two-way street," his spokesman, Don Stewart, said Friday. "You can't expect easy cooperation on issues of importance to them unless they respect issues of importance to us, including the principle that judges deserve an up-or-down vote."

Democrats chalked up McConnell's comments to posturing and plain math.

"The president should stop picking fights and start working with Democrats to pick nominees who can be confirmed," said Jim Manley, spokesman for Senate Democratic leader Harry Reid of Nevada.

"When we work together on consensus judicial nominees we can make progress," said Sen. Patrick Leahy (news, bio, voting record) of Vermont, the incoming Democratic chairman of the Judiciary Committee.

Bush did the opposite this week, renominating six judges, four of them vehemently opposed by Democrats. Leahy said the renominations amounted to the White House "taking the bait of right-wing partisan groups."

"Advice and consent does not mean giving the president a free pass to pack the courts with ideologues from the right or left," Leahy said. "The American people want the Senate to be more than a rubber stamp."

Recall that earlier generations faced down fascism and communism not just with missiles and tanks, but with sturdy alliances and enduring convictions. They understood that our power alone cannot protect us, nor does it entitle us to do as we please. Instead, they knew that our power grows through its prudent use; our security emanates from the justness of our cause, the force of our example, the tempering qualities of humility and restraint.

-President Barack Obama, 1st Inaugural address
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post #2 of 2 (permalink) Old 11-18-2006, 01:46 PM
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atta boy Mitch!
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