Wisps of Life in Congress

  1. The following 4/24/2005 New York Times Opinion caught my eye! Understand that I believe that the current Republican Party, the party in control of the Senate, the Assembly and (of course) the Presidency, is dragging this country down a long, dark and dangerous road. Their strict "our way or no way" approach to government and ideology is just nothing short of dangerous for a country that champions democracy. Lost is truth. Lost is reason. Lost is thoughtful discussion and debate. Lost is the exploration of "differing" and "other" ideas to difficult situations that just might work. Lost is meaningful concensus building.

    But maybe not ALL is lost. Maybe there is a small, thin ray of light that points toward REAL truth-seeking and maybe even meaningful problem-solving.



    Wisps of Life in Congress

    Published: April 24, 2005

    We are not optimistic, or nave, enough to call it a trend yet, but there have been signs that some sensible Republicans are starting to realize that the Senate majority leader, Bill Frist, and the House majority leader, Tom DeLay, are vastly overreaching any plausible electoral mandate in their quest for one-party control of every aspect of government and their demands for mute party fealty.
    The most striking example was in the Senate, where a few Republicans are starting to resist President Bush's latest demand for unquestioning approval of a high-level nominee who is clearly unsuitable for the job he has been given.

    Last week, at a tense meeting of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, Senator George Voinovich of Ohio shocked fellow Republicans by suddenly holding back his endorsement of John Bolton as United Nations ambassador, as evidence mounted of Mr. Bolton's being a bullying ideologue who tried to intimidate intelligence analysts into conforming to his preconceived conclusions on major issues of national security.

    It was particularly encouraging that Senator Voinovich was swayed by the arguments of two Democratic senators, Joseph Biden of Delaware and Christopher Dodd of Connecticut. That sort of reasoned, bipartisan debate had become an endangered species in Bill Frist's Senate, where the committees charged with vetting presidential nominees have been turned into rubber-stamp bodies.

    After Senator Voinovich forced a delay in the vote on Mr. Bolton, we learned that former Secretary of State Colin Powell had been quietly warning Republican senators that Mr. Bolton had a bad history of dealing with people who disagreed with him. And another Bush appointee, the former ambassador to South Korea, told the committee that Mr. Bolton had, to put it charitably, misled its members in one part of his testimony.

    In the House, a member of the pioneer class of the Gingrich revolution, Walter Jones of North Carolina, felt strongly enough about doing the job to which he was elected to join the Democrats' call for an effective bipartisan ethics committee to look into complaints about Mr. DeLay's authoritarian behavior and exploitation of Washington's lobbying industry. "People at home want to know why the ethics committee isn't working," Mr. Jones explained. He poignantly echoed the resolve expressed by Mr. DeLay 10 years ago when power was fresh and he vowed to tell voters when their representatives were "feeding at the public trough, taking lobbyist-paid vacations, getting wined and dined by special interest groups."

    Mr. Bush is still sticking with Mr. Bolton and Mr. DeLay. But Republican concerns undercut his attempt to paint the criticism of both men as partisan. The fast-emerging question for him and the other Republicans is, when they will realize that nothing in the American system provides for the party that wins an election to do whatever it wants, no matter what objections are raised by the minority party or even some of its own members? The point is not lost on American voters: primal party loyalty is no substitute for effective, democratic government.
  2. 8 Comments

  3. by   SharonH, RN
    Yes there is a sliver of hope. I can imagine that many sincere and moderate Republicans are horrified by Delay and Frist lately. I was heartened to read the following remarks made by Sen. Graham of North Carolina in response to Frist's attack on Dems who try to block judicial nominees:

    Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., speaking on the same show, said the Family Research Council should not question whether Democrats are people of faith or religious bigots.

    "I don't think that helps the country and I don't think it's fair," Graham said.

    Yes, there's hope after all.
  4. by   SmilingBluEyes
    Said it before: DeLay and Frist are as dangerous as they come. Don't even get me started on FRIST.
  5. by   pickledpepperRN
    I saw it on CSPAN.
    What an exciting moment when Senator George Voinovich spoke with honesty and courage!

    I hope more Republicans and Democrats muster the courage to have convictions. Ans the courage of those convictions.

    Wonderfully hopeful for our democracy!
  6. by   fergus51
    I am hopeful that one day the common sense republicans will rule the party. I could almost be a Republican if they did.
  7. by   VivaLasViejas
    Quote from fergus51
    I am hopeful that one day the common sense republicans will rule the party. I could almost be a Republican if they did.
    You and me both, Fergus! :yeahthat:
  8. by   SmilingBluEyes
    Fanatics of any sort don't belong on either side of the aisle, frankly. It will take a HUGE change to make me a Republican OR Democrat. By that time, neither will exist as we know it.
  9. by   Thunderwolf
    Let's hope our Congress continues to be enlightened that just because one is a Republican doesn't mean he/she is the right person for the job. In general, an "all one party" Government, which seems to be Pres Bush's true mandate, brings only tyranny, not democracy. There really needs to be a Constitutional ammendment to prevent such an occurrence.
    Last edit by Thunderwolf on Apr 26, '05
  10. by   pickledpepperRN

    Bolton's Nomination Is Questioned by Another Powell Aide

    WASHINGTON, April 29 - A fourth senior member of Colin L. Powell's team at the State Department expressed strong reservations on Friday about the nomination of John R. Bolton as ambassador to the United Nations.

    The official, A. Elizabeth Jones, is a veteran diplomat who stepped down in February as assistant secretary of state for Europe and Eurasia. Among those who have now voiced public concerns about Mr. Bolton, Ms. Jones joins Lawrence Wilkerson, Mr. Powell's chief of staff; Carl W. Ford, Jr., who headed the department's intelligence bureau; and John R. Wolf, who was assistant secretary of state for nonproliferation. Associates of Mr. Powell have said he has expressed concerns of his own in private conversations with at least two Republican senators.

    "I don't know if he's incapable of negotiation, but he's unwilling," Ms. Jones said in an interview. She said she believed that "the fundamental problem," if Mr. Bolton were to become United Nations ambassador, would be a reluctance on his part to make the kinds of minor, symbolic concessions necessary to build consensus among other governments and maintain the American position....