Politics, news, libertarianism, Science Fiction, religion, sewing. You got a problem, bud? I like sewing.
E-mail: nataliesolent-at-aol-dot-com (I assume it's OK to quote senders by name.)
Back to main blog
Jane's Blogosphere: blogtrack for Natalie Solent.
( 'Nother Solent is this blog's good twin. Same words, searchable archives, RSS feed. Provided by a benefactor, to whom thanks.
I also sometimes write for Samizdata and Biased BBC.)
The Old Comrades:
November 2001 December 2001 January 2002 February 2002 March 2002 April 2002 May 2002 June 2002 July 2002 August 2002 September 2002 October 2002 November 2002 December 2002 January 2003 February 2003 March 2003 April 2003 May 2003 June 2003 July 2003 August 2003 September 2003 October 2003 November 2003 December 2003 January 2004 February 2004 March 2004 April 2004 May 2004 June 2004 July 2004 August 2004 September 2004 October 2004 November 2004 December 2004 January 2005 February 2005 March 2005 April 2005 May 2005 June 2005 July 2005 August 2005 September 2005 October 2005 November 2005 December 2005 January 2006 February 2006 March 2006 April 2006 May 2006 June 2006 July 2006 August 2006 September 2006 October 2006 November 2006 December 2006 January 2007 February 2007 March 2007 April 2007 May 2007 June 2007 August 2007 October 2007 February 2008 April 2008 May 2008 June 2008 July 2008 September 2008 October 2008 November 2008 December 2008 January 2009 March 2009 May 2009 June 2009 July 2009 August 2009 October 2009 January 2010 March 2010 May 2010 June 2010 July 2010 August 2010 September 2010 October 2010 November 2010 December 2010 January 2011 February 2011 April 2011 June 2011 August 2011 September 2011 October 2011 November 2011 January 2012 February 2012 March 2012 April 2012 May 2012 June 2012 July 2012 August 2012 September 2012 October 2012 November 2012 December 2012 January 2013 February 2013 March 2013 April 2013 May 2013 June 2013 July 2013 August 2013 September 2013 October 2013 November 2013
Thursday, May 26, 2005
"President Bush's drive for absolute power has momentarily stalled. In a single coup, he planned to take over all the institutions of government."
Absolute power? Coup? To the barricades, comrades! ¡No pasaran!
On second thoughts, don't worry. It's only Sidney Blumenthal in the Guardian. Talking about filibusters rather than the Last Days of American Democracy, although you wouldn't guess that from lines like "sheer force would prevail". Here he is:
Historically, it [the filibuster] was used by southern senators to block civil rights legislation. In the first two years of the Clinton presidency, the Republicans deployed 48 filibusters, more than in the entire previous history of the Senate, to make the new Democratic chief executive appear feckless. The strategy was instrumental in the Republican capture of the Congress in 1994. By depriving the Democrats of the filibuster, Bush intended to transform the Senate into his rubber stamp.Shameless hypocrisy, eh? Look again at the first line of the quote above: the filibuster "... was used by southern senators to block civil rights legislation."
Now what party might these "southern senators" have belonged to, Mr Blumenthal? Maybe we could ask some venerable senators:
Over the weekend, two elders, Senator Robert Byrd, Democrat of West Virginia, and Senator John Warner, Republican of Virginia, pored over the federalist papers, written by the constitutional framers, to refresh their thinking about the inviolability of the Senate.I don't know how much John Warner needs to "refresh his thinking" but Senator Byrd, in particular might be jogged into remembering...
Yeah, yeah. It was a long time ago. If I am to remind everyone that the US Civil Rights Act of 1964 was opposed by Southern Democrats, let it also be said that it was initiated by Northern Democrats (and passed with the help of the Republicans.) Byrd himself is quite reformed now, I hear, and popular with many black voters.
My complaint is this. If you are going to talk about hypocrisy regarding filibusters, don't leave out your own party's hypocrisy. (Mr Blumenthal was once President Clinton's senior adviser.) Yet a lot of people seem to go oddly vague on what party Byrd and his ilk belonged to despite being more than happy to talk about the great days of the Civil Rights era generally.
In fact my complaint is that I could without effort find the material to write a post like this around once a month - and that's just from the British media. I wrote a very similar post for Biased BBC earlier this month. Same basic situation: the BBC's Justin Webb indulged a bunch of folksy filibusterin' reminiscence from Senator Byrd without ever mentioning what Byrd was trying to do by speaking for fourteen hours and thirteen minutes, or what the filibuster is best known for.
Most British people have only heard of the filibuster at all in the context of the Civil Rights Acts of 1957 and 1964. I've read, as it happens, many UK GCSE textbooks on twentieth century history. One of the popular options for study is the Depression, another is the Civil Rights struggle. Maybe I'll supply quotes in a future post, but let me tell you now one thing they all have in common: no kid leaves the chapter on the Depression without knowing that President Hoover was a BAD president and he was a REPUBLICAN. Yet when it comes to the Civil Rights struggle in the next chapter a certain coyness comes over the same writers. They don't exactly conceal that Robert Byrd or Strom Thurmond were Democrats (no need to tell me that Thurmond changed to Republican later) but a kid needs to be attentive to pick it up. The books prefer to dwell on Byrd and Thurmond's geographical origin. Southern senators.