Free Republic
Browse · Search
Topics · Post Article

Skip to comments.

Democratic slow walk ^ | 1/20/03 | Robert Novak

Posted on 01/20/2003 12:14:03 AM PST by kattracks

WASHINGTON -- At 8:15 last Wednesday night, the party leaders -- Republican Bill Frist and Democrat Tom Daschle -- took the floor of the Senate to end nine of the strangest days in that chamber's storied history. For the first time ever, the effect of an election changing control of a house of Congress had been delayed. Now, belatedly, election returns restoring the Senate's Republican majority were recognized. The voice votes on ordinarily routine reorganization resolutions came without dissent and without debate. It followed protracted backstage negotiations between Frist and Daschle, and old Senate hands never had seen anything like it. Committee control, chairmanships and even committee assignments for new senators were held hostage for Democratic demands.

Although Democrats achieved little of their ambitious wish list, strategy transcended specific demands. They take seriously complaints by Barbra Streisand and James Carville that they lost the 2002 elections because they were too soft on George W. Bush and the Republicans. The audacious delay of last November's election begins a sustained effort to slow walk the Republican-controlled 108th Congress into the 2004 presidential elections.

It started after Christmas, before the Jan. 7 convening of the new Congress. Daschle's staffers dispatched marching orders through Democratic ranks. A Jan. 2 internal Democratic memo pointed out that while Frist automatically would replace Daschle as majority leader, "Democrats continue to serve as chairs of all committees and subcommittees until the Senate reorganizes." Furthermore, it noted that "Senate Democrats have leverage when the organizing resolution hits the floor" because it takes 60 votes to break a filibuster.

With negotiations deadlocked, Democratic Sen. Ernest F. Hollings chaired Commerce Committee hearings on telecommunications. Democratic Sen. Joseph Lieberman scheduled Governmental Affairs confirmation hearings on Tom Ridge as secretary of Homeland Security (plans scuttled when Republican committee members refused to show up and Ridge was ordered by the White House not to testify).

Meanwhile, Democratic demands escalated beyond requests for funding and office space. Democratic Sen. Jay Rockefeller, the Intelligence Committee's top Democrat, moved to end the committee's longtime non-partisanship and create a separate Democratic staff that could be used in the 2004 campaign.

Most remarkable was the demand by Judiciary Committee Democrats for broad control over President Bush's nominations for federal appellate judges. They wanted these restrictions on the confirmation process: "That hearings not be scheduled until the ABA (American Bar Association) has submitted its peer review and the committee has had three weeks to review the nomination; that each hearing contain only one controversial nominee . . . and only one circuit court nominee; that hearings not be held more frequently than every three or four weeks."

More than any other bargaining point, the judicial confirmation proposal betrayed Democratic slow-walking. With the Republican leadership seeing a maximum seven-month window to pass its bills and confirm its judges, the performance of the all-Republican government was threatened by the nature and substance of Democratic demands.

Last Wednesday, as negotiations seemed endless, Republican Sen. Robert Bennett took the floor to compare this to what happened 18 months ago, just minutes after Sen. James Jeffords's defection shifted the Senate in its last change of control. He said he bumped into Democratic Sen. Richard Durbin in the Senate subway and told him: "Dick, since you are now chairman of (the Legislative Branch Appropriations) subcommittee, you decide whether or not we hold the hearing (scheduled that afternoon). He looked a little nonplussed but said to me: Bob, you don't want to hold the hearing since you have set it up? I said: No, Dick, you hold the hearings because you are now the chairman." Bennett's conclusion of what the Democrats intended: "This is a deliberate, predetermined, pre-congressional attempt to prevent the Republicans from being successful." Frist was not making Senate speeches but working behind the scenes to prevent a costly Republican disaster.

Frist succeeded in killing the judicial nomination slowdown while compromising on other issues. Most important, he was able to get the cumbersome Senate machinery started. That immediately set off a slow-moving Democratic attempt to load up the bill passing appropriations carried over from last year, forcing the majority leader late Friday to call the Senate back Tuesday during a scheduled recess week. It has been a harrowing launch, ominous for the future, of Bill Frist as majority leader.

©2003 Creators Syndicate, Inc.

Contact Robert Novak | Read his biography

TOPICS: Editorial; News/Current Events; Politics/Elections

1 posted on 01/20/2003 12:14:03 AM PST by kattracks
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | View Replies]

To: All

Donate Here By Secure Server

Or mail checks to
FreeRepublic , LLC
PO BOX 9771
FRESNO, CA 93794
or you can use
PayPal at

Become A Monthly Donor
Thanks Registered

2 posted on 01/20/2003 12:15:04 AM PST by Support Free Republic (Your support keeps Free Republic going strong!)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: kattracks
Republicans need to take this seriously. The ideology of the Dems is broken and can't be fixed. This is their only altrnative - name calling.
3 posted on 01/20/2003 12:39:48 AM PST by The Raven (Quiz (5 pts) : Name the countries implementing Socialism without mass murders)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: The Raven; kattracks
"...Republicans need to take this seriously. The ideology of the Dems is broken and can't be fixed. This is their only altrnative - name calling..."

I'll believe that the Republicans are serious when Dr. Frist gets in Dassholes face and says: "Go ahead and filibuster, pal, and use yer KKK-Byrd, and we'll smash you like the sewer-vermin that you are!"

And then, finally do it!..............FRegards

4 posted on 01/20/2003 2:40:47 AM PST by gonzo (Snow tonight in South Bend, IND. I am SO glad I live in Florida now...........)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 3 | View Replies]

To: kattracks
Please let this be the LAST wakeup call to some GOP senators (and some WH folks) that playing kissy-face with these 'Ratbags doesn't work, ain't deserved, and betrays our votes.

It is time to play HARDBALL. We run all three elective bodies fer crying out loud - but we have never used it to squeeze the cajones of the scumbags that are constantly kicking ours. Time for that to change.
5 posted on 01/20/2003 3:42:35 AM PST by guitfiddlist
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: guitfiddlist
The Coup-Plotters showed their evil hand, and I believe Sen. Frist and Bush were Shocked!!.....But now they are aware of just what EVIL they are dealing with....except that stupid Hatch who will NEVER learn!! He's like a battered wife...with Leahy being the beating husband. Hatch BEGS for scraps and Leahy slaps hinm down every time. DISGUSTING!
6 posted on 01/20/2003 3:51:52 AM PST by Claire Voyant ((visualize whirled peas))
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 5 | View Replies]

To: Claire Voyant
I hope you are right. I hope that Republicans are truely aware of how dirty the Dem's are willing to play. They have no rules and know no bounds to get their way.
7 posted on 01/20/2003 3:57:33 AM PST by stocksthatgoup
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 6 | View Replies]

To: Claire Voyant
I have a strong suspicion that somewhere in the hands of the hag from Wellesley, is a bulging dossier on Hatch, just like the one on Lott. His spinelessness and turncoatism is too convenient for 'Rat purposes, unlike certain New England GOP Senators - who are just plain philosophically stupid.

Nobody ever dreamed of the good fortune to come our way - that railroaded Vacant Lott out of office. But now let's think of a way to replace the eunuch from Utah.
8 posted on 01/20/2003 4:01:19 AM PST by guitfiddlist
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 6 | View Replies]

To: guitfiddlist
Amen. But Hatch will NEVER retire UNTIL he realizes what a LOSER he has become. Stockholm Syndrome PERSONIFIED.
9 posted on 01/20/2003 4:06:27 AM PST by Claire Voyant ((visualize whirled peas))
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 8 | View Replies]

To: stocksthatgoup
I'm praying that Frist sees Daschle et al as the cancer on our government they are. Pray.
10 posted on 01/20/2003 4:07:57 AM PST by Claire Voyant ((visualize whirled peas))
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 7 | View Replies]

To: kattracks
If everyone reading Free Republic would just send in a $5.00 check today, we could get RID of those hideous pictures of Daschle as a Fairy and Hilldebeast as well, a Hildebeast. Stop the Madness...DONATE!!!!
11 posted on 01/20/2003 4:10:10 AM PST by Claire Voyant ((visualize whirled peas))
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: Claire Voyant
It continues to amaze me the brazen behavior of the RATS... every time one thinks they can sink no lower they prove reasonable people wrong.

I am not commending their behavior, but they certainly know how to push the envelope, abetted of course by the non-reporting from the media......

RATS are despicable, scheming liars, and I am being charitable this morning.
12 posted on 01/20/2003 7:19:45 AM PST by mwl1
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 10 | View Replies]

To: kattracks
If the D's will filibuster everything, then let's get to proposing and passing out of the comittees. We need to show the people a long list of blocked legislation and a long time span to prove obstructionism.

Let's get the game rolling, and put 100's of issues up to the floor for the obstructionists to block.

13 posted on 01/20/2003 7:26:26 AM PST by Uncle Miltie (Islamofascism sucks!)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

Disclaimer: Opinions posted on Free Republic are those of the individual posters and do not necessarily represent the opinion of Free Republic or its management. All materials posted herein are protected by copyright law and the exemption for fair use of copyrighted works.

Free Republic
Browse · Search
Topics · Post Article

FreeRepublic, LLC, PO BOX 9771, FRESNO, CA 93794 is powered by software copyright 2000-2008 John Robinson