Editore"s Note
Tilting at Windmills

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January 18, 2007
By: Zachary Roth

HOLDING BAD PUNDITS ACCOUNTABLE PART 671...From today's Washington Post:

Senate Republicans scuttled broad legislation last night to curtail lobbyists' influence and tighten congressional ethics rules, refusing to let the bill pass without a vote on an unrelated measure that would give President Bush virtual line-item-veto power.
The guiding force behind this cynical gambit? New GOP Senate leader Mitch McConnell.

It's not exactly a surpise that McConnell is turning out to be a bare-knuckled partisan in his new job. In our October issue, Cliff Schecter and I took a look at McConnell's record in the Senate: his shameless support for the pet causes of the GOP's largest corporate contributors, his unbending opposition to efforts to reduce the influence of money in politics, and his willingness to put legislative trickery in the service of narrow partisan advantage, just as he did last night. "In uniting around Mitch McConnell," we concluded, "Republicans are, in effect, doubling down on the governing style that got them, and us, into this mess in the first place."

David Broder had a different take. In a December Washington Post column, the dean of the Beltway press corps led with the heartwarming news that McConnell had named two Democrats -- Mike Mansfield and George Mitchell -- as role models for how he hopes to operate as GOP leader. Broder went on to make much of McConnell's assurance that "divided government...need not produce gridlock," even noting that McConnell had named ethics reform as an area of potential agreement. The Kentuckian, Broder felt, could turn out to be a bipartisan dealmaker in the Mansfield-Mitchell mould.

Yeah, not so much, judging by last night. I suppose it's conceivable that McConnell could, over the next two years, metamorphose into the constructive and high-minded legislative partner of David Broder's fantasies. But it seems unlikely. Not that Broder will point that out.

Zachary Roth 10:16 AM Permalink | Trackbacks | Comments (80)

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Comments

Looks like McConnell has just given the nation another very powerful reason to replace Republican senators (and Lieberman) with non-Republicans.

Ethics are good!

Posted by: clem on January 18, 2007 at 11:04 AM | PERMALINK

The nation's punditry is one occupation that should be outsourced to foreign countries.

Posted by: garf on January 18, 2007 at 11:04 AM | PERMALINK

Why not vote on the Bush line-item veto thing? Surely something like that is going to fail in a least one house.

Posted by: SqueakyRat on January 18, 2007 at 11:04 AM | PERMALINK

yeah, but we can't be sure if Hillary was faking her cell phone call or not. until we get that mystery solved, all this complicated stuff will have to wait.

Posted by: cleek on January 18, 2007 at 11:05 AM | PERMALINK

Ah, Kevin . . .

Posted by: Green Egberts and Ham on January 18, 2007 at 11:07 AM | PERMALINK

Though I can't speak for all Republicans, the relief a number of us felt when McConnell replaced Bill Frist was related to McConnell's undoubted competence as a legislator and Frist's ineptitude.

Having said that, McConnell has always been on the wrong side of a number of issues, most prominently campaign finance reform, and has been insensitive to the appearance of corruption and the political damage this is doing to the GOP. More broadly, he has not -- actually, most Republicans in Washington have not -- come to grips with the fact that fighting rear guard actions in an effort to buy time for the President to recover his lost popularity and leverage will not in the long run benefit the party at all. In terms of his public standing, Bush is not Nixon, and he is not Reagan. He is down, and will stay down.

The Republican future if there is to be one has to involve throwing the current administration and much of its legacy over the side. A big part of that legacy is the widespread public belief that government in general and individual government officials in particular can be bought.

Posted by: Zathras on January 18, 2007 at 11:09 AM | PERMALINK

you mean david broder is a sucker? what a surprise.

Posted by: benjoya on January 18, 2007 at 11:09 AM | PERMALINK

Here's the Catch-22 with assholes like Broder.

If you criticize Broder he digs in his heels and looks for even more absurd ways to "split the difference" between Dems and Republicans.

If you don't criticize Broder he keeps doing what he's been doing looking for absurd ways to "split the difference" between Dems and Republicans so he can feel that he's moderate.

Posted by: Carl Nyberg on January 18, 2007 at 11:10 AM | PERMALINK

A line-item veto is just what America needs. It will allow the president to veto spurious pork-barrel items and only approve what is in the national interest.

Most pork is from liberals, which is why they oppose a line-item veto.

Posted by: Al on January 18, 2007 at 11:14 AM | PERMALINK

Just a very slightly OT question, but I've been waiting for one of the news reports on this to explain exactly how it is that the GOP -- now the minority party in the Senate -- could block ANYTHING. There was a vague reference in one story to the requirement for a super-majority vote of 65, but no explanation as to what procedure in the Senate requires such a super-majority. Anyone happen to know what that is about? The minority Democrats used to be able to occasionally gum up the works by invoking well-established Parliamentary procedures, but this seemed to fall under a different category. If the Democrats want ethics reforms, why shouldn't the threshhold be just 51 votes?

Posted by: Roger Keeling on January 18, 2007 at 11:16 AM | PERMALINK

Broder says the line item veto is "unrelated", but it's actually closely related. Earmark reform is an essential part of the Congressional ethics problem. A line item veto would allow the President to veto particular earmarks.

Posted by: ex-lib on January 18, 2007 at 11:20 AM | PERMALINK

The Republicans are the party of graft and total control. They want all the money in their personal pockets and all the power over people's lives. The Republican party of Eisenhower and even Reagan is dead, replaced with its evil twin.

Posted by: ml on January 18, 2007 at 11:22 AM | PERMALINK

I second roger's question.

Also, why not give the line-item veto a stand alone vote on short notice? 1) It would fail. 2) The public would be strongly against giving that much power to an unpopular president. 3) The Republicans would look like idiots if they kept trying to tack it on other bills.

Posted by: B on January 18, 2007 at 11:24 AM | PERMALINK

Ethics are good!
Posted by: clem on January 18, 2007 at 11:04 AM | PERMALINK

Ah! but not when one believes that one's religious morals are a higher law than mere ethics. You see, these guys were stealing (Cunningham), raping (Foley), and pillaging (Hastert), in the name of Jesus.

Most pork is from liberals, which is why they oppose a line-item veto.
Posted by: Al on January 18, 2007 at 11:14 AM | PERMALINK

Um - so is THAT why Bush opposes the line-item veto? Because he SAID he opposed it back in 2000.


...to explain exactly how it is that the GOP -- now the minority party in the Senate -- could block ANYTHING Posted by: Roger Keeling on January 18, 2007 at 11:16 AM | PERMALINK

Various means:
1. Assassinations, actual and character (examples: RFK, Wellstone, etc. Daschle, Kerry, Murtha, Clinton, etc. - don't underestimate the power of the mighty Wurlitzer)
2. Bribery/Extortion (via K-Street lobbyists, and oppo-research and Bush's shiny new operatives placed as federal prosecutors).
3. Executive Privilege (Please, Bushie, do us a favor and we'll keep backing you)
4. Prayer (they're God's Own Party, dontchyaknow)
5. Holding their breath until they turn blue.

Posted by: Extradite Rumsfeld on January 18, 2007 at 11:26 AM | PERMALINK

Most pork is from liberals, which is why they oppose a line-item veto.

You mean like Ted Stevens bridge to nowhere?

Posted by: Bill on January 18, 2007 at 11:27 AM | PERMALINK

ex-lib,

Perhaps you haven't heard about the democrat's moratorium on earmarks. There won't be any in the first 10 appropriations bills this year.

Posted by: B on January 18, 2007 at 11:28 AM | PERMALINK

Golly, where are all those right-wingers that used to proclaim filibusters are baaaaad and everything and everybody deserves an up or down vote? Hypocrisy Anyone? Anyone? Bueller?

Posted by: ckelly on January 18, 2007 at 11:31 AM | PERMALINK

A line item veto would allow the President to veto particular earmarks.
Posted by: ex-lib on January 18, 2007 at 11:20 AM | PERMALINK

Particularly if that President lacks the spine to otherwise veto bad legislation.

What the line-item veto does, is lower the bar on slipping earmarks into legislation. If a congresscritter isn't worried that a particular earmark would totally derail a bill, he'll be more inclined to put it in there.

So the President will get these tiny little bills with thousands of pages of attached earmarks to read through. Sounds like a recipie for a procedural bottleneck to me.

Congress doesn't need the President being their daddy and nit picking every part of every bill. Congress needs constituents that are involved. And Congress needs rules to stop the bribery. And professional lobbyists all need to be sent to the gallows.

Posted by: Extradite Rumsfeld on January 18, 2007 at 11:33 AM | PERMALINK

Its maddening to see a fool like Broder taken seriously.

Posted by: Raoul Paste on January 18, 2007 at 11:35 AM | PERMALINK

Sometimes I can't tell if 'Al' is the 'real' Al or the 'parody' Al. Saying that 'most pork comes from liberals' is so absurd, given the current budget deficit caused, in part, by gazillion dollar bridges to nowhere courtesy of the GOP, that this comment MUST have been a facetious one from the 'parody' Al. If the comment indeed came from 'real' Al, then he is truly too stupid to breathe. Someday I'd like to see the proportion of GOP to Dem pork-earmarks over the last 6 years. My hunch is that, in terms of real money, at least 80% of all the pork was written by the GOP.

Posted by: es on January 18, 2007 at 11:37 AM | PERMALINK

My limited understanding is that the Repubs filibustered so it never came to a vote. You know, that same filibuster they decried as treasonous when the Dems were the minority.

Posted by: ckelly on January 18, 2007 at 11:39 AM | PERMALINK

"A line-item veto is just what America needs. It will allow the president to veto spurious pork-barrel items and only approve what is in the national interest.

Most pork is from liberals, which is why they oppose a line-item veto."

Al, what year did you write that? Have you been reading the newspapers during the last six years?

Posted by: humble blogger on January 18, 2007 at 11:43 AM | PERMALINK

Roger Keeling on January 18, 2007 at 11:16 AM:

There was a vague reference in one story to the requirement for a super-majority vote of 65, but no explanation as to what procedure in the Senate requires such a super-majority.

From the article:

The 51 to 46 vote was nowhere close to the two-thirds majority needed to break the Republican filibuster.

Apparently some Repubs threatened to filibuster the measure without including the line-item veto amendment.

If the Democrats want ethics reforms, why shouldn't the threshhold be just 51 votes?

For pretty much the same reasons no one wanted Frist to use the 'Nuclear Option' on Dubya's judicial appointees back in 2005.

IMHO, Reid should have let the Repubs filibuster the bill, for weeks if necessary...I can even see the headline: Senate Republicans Filibuster Ethics Reform Package or something of that sort. Let McConnell and his Senate Republicans explain that to their constituents...

Posted by: grape_crush on January 18, 2007 at 11:44 AM | PERMALINK

I'd ask the readers to compare and contrast Kevin's tendentious spin on this issue with Glenn Reynold's take -- go look at his PorkBusters posting today at InstaPundit. I said last night one of the biggest things that will salvage the Repubs in 2008 is the Harry Reid/Mollahan/Murtha/William Jefferson definition of ethics. Maybe I should add Kevin's cheerleading of these travesties as well.

Posted by: ex-minion on January 18, 2007 at 11:45 AM | PERMALINK

The medium of exchange in the journalism market is not truth or honesty. The medium of exchange is money. Capital flows to those who serve it, so the pundits who are being rewarded are not the ones who correctly argued against the war or expose corrupt politicians.

Posted by: Brojo on January 18, 2007 at 11:46 AM | PERMALINK

In (very limited) defense David Broder, he did say that McConnell is "no reformer" and spent two paragraphs listing his efforts to stop reform and continue bringing in money. And the ethics reform was "revising ethics rules," which is probably much more limited in McConnell's mind than what most people would call "ethics reform."
I guess it's not clear to me that Broder has been shown to be completely wrong here--McConnell's first act out of the gate seems to be consistent with Broder's take on it. And that's one data point so far.
Not that I'm a fan of McConnell--I think Broder's take will be shown to be wrong overall, but this episode doesn't look like a slam-dunk.

Posted by: dallas on January 18, 2007 at 11:48 AM | PERMALINK

ex-lib: Broder says the line item veto is "unrelated", but it's actually closely related. Earmark reform is an essential part of the Congressional ethics problem. A line item veto would allow the President to veto particular earmarks.

Uh, no it isn't ralated any more than its related to any other type of spending item, so why make it an issue on this particular one if not to scuttle the legislation?

In any event, if the GOP likes it so much, why didn't they adopt the line-item veto during the 6 years they controlled both houses of Congress and the presidency. when they were even willing to unethically, immorally, and unconstitutionally send to the president legislation that contained provisions that were never even voted on and passed by Congress?

Posted by: Google_This on January 18, 2007 at 11:48 AM | PERMALINK

Call their bluff, and give them the vote on the line-item veto.
There'll be a Democratic POTUS two years from now anyway.

Posted by: Fred Arnold on January 18, 2007 at 11:57 AM | PERMALINK

Extradite Rumsfeld on January 18, 2007 at 11:33 AM:

Congress doesn't need the President being their daddy and nit picking every part of every bill.

Worse than that; the line item veto would give the President the ability to reward or punish members of Congress for their actions..."Want that government contract to build widgets to go to that factory in your district or state? Then you may want to reconsider your support for X."

Prolly not a good idea.

Posted by: grape_crush on January 18, 2007 at 11:58 AM | PERMALINK

Line Item veto and republican bullshit playing politics. perhaps this is the reason that Line item veto ploy is so much a smoke screen by the repubs.

Supreme Court Deletes Line-Item Veto
Clinton disappointed; Opponents of veto call it a victory for the Constitution
WASHINGTON (AllPolitics, June 25) -- The line-item veto is unconstitutional, the Supreme Court decided Thursday, ruling that Congress did not have the authority to hand that power to the president.


The 6-3 ruling said that the Constitution gives a president only two choices: either sign legislation or send it back to Congress. The 1996 line-item veto law allowed the president to pencil out specific spending items approved by the Congress.

In his majority opinion Justice John Paul Stevens upheld a lower court's decision, concluding "the procedures authorized by the line-item veto act are not authorized by the Constitution."

If Congress wants to give the president that power, they will have to pass a constitutional amendment, Stevens said. "If there is to be a new procedure in which the president will play a different role in determining the text of what may become a law, such change must come not by legislation but through the amendment procedures set forth in Article V of the Constitution," Stevens said.

Posted by: grandpa john on January 18, 2007 at 11:59 AM | PERMALINK

Republicans, yes
those crazy Republicans
the Grand Theft Party

Posted by: daver9 on January 18, 2007 at 12:00 PM | PERMALINK

Thanks, all, for pointing out that this was a filibuster. The news articles I'd seen didn't say that. And I must say I'm a bit surprised: filibusters are SOOOOO bad, don't you know .... why, the GOP was good and ready to use the "nuclear option" and blow that very old tradition away entirely not so very long ago. Anyhow, my confusion is completely gone. Thanks again to those who replied.

Posted by: Roger Keeling on January 18, 2007 at 12:02 PM | PERMALINK

I oppose the line item veto on constitutional grounds. I think grape_crush provided a good reason why the founding fathers did not put it in the consitution.

Posted by: Brojo on January 18, 2007 at 12:04 PM | PERMALINK

Real Kentuckians discuss McConnell:

"Buddy, how tall ya say ole Mitch is?"

"Bout six feet I reckon"

"Didn' know you could stack shit that high."


Posted by: olds88 on January 18, 2007 at 12:06 PM | PERMALINK

I simply adore signing statements.

Posted by: George W on January 18, 2007 at 12:08 PM | PERMALINK

The Porkbusters posting at InstaPundit did not include the quote I remembered. This is from InstaPundit's 1/17/07 entry:


"Senate Republicans this evening defeated a motion offered by Democrats to cut off debate on the lobby and ethics reform bill. The debate got hung up on an amendment offered by Senators Gregg and DeMint to give the President line item veto/rescission authority. Majority Leader Reid was reportedly working with Senator Gregg to achieve a compromise but West Virginia Senator Robert Byrd intervened making it clear to Reid that he would object to voting on the Gregg-DeMint amendment now or anytime in the future. As such, Reid acquiesced to Byrd's demands and continued to disallow a vote on the measure.

Gregg's LIV provision is nearly identical to a provision that Byrd hinself offered himself in 1995 under President Clinton."

Posted by: ex-minion on January 18, 2007 at 12:09 PM | PERMALINK
Gregg's LIV provision is nearly identical to a provision that Byrd hinself offered himself in 1995 under President Clinton.

You mean the one that passed in 1996 and was struck down by the Supreme Court in 1998 as unconstitutional?

Hmm, yeah, I can see why, even if you had supported such a move in the past, before it was struck down, you might not want to keep going there again; the Constitutional route to a line-item veto is through a Constitutional amendment, not legislation.


Posted by: cmdicely on January 18, 2007 at 12:14 PM | PERMALINK

It is actually not a fillibuster. Reid would not hold a vote on a GOP proposal to include the line item veto as an amendement (which would entail a suspension of the Senate rules). Suspending the rules requires the 65 votes. The NY Times coverage of the story is better than the Post.

Broder is still a tool, though.

Posted by: tsquared on January 18, 2007 at 12:17 PM | PERMALINK

Do not, under any circumstances, underestimate Mitch McConnell. Take it from one of his long-suffering constituents.

He is brilliant, vicious, ruthless, pitiless and completely immoral.

There is absolutely nothing he will not do to acquire, consolidate and keep power.

Republicans should beware; McConnell may seem to be acting in partisan fashion, but his only true loyalty is to himself.

He literally created the Kentucky Republican Party from scratch 20 years ago, and now through his support-then-abandonment of Governor Ernie Fletcher, is overseeing its rapid implosion.

Mitch does what's best for Mitch, always. Just wait - the instant he perceives that supporting shrub may potentially cost him a penny in corporate campaign donations, he'll cut ol' smirky loose. May even deliver the shiv to the ribs himself.

Posted by: Yellow Dog on January 18, 2007 at 12:19 PM | PERMALINK

Interesting that the MSM doesn't simply call it a Republican filibuster, isn't it?

I wonder why?

Posted by: Soy Boy on January 18, 2007 at 12:20 PM | PERMALINK

Thanks to grandpa john for pointing out that the line-item veto has already been found unconstitutional. Why are we still discussing it?

Posted by: dcbob on January 18, 2007 at 12:22 PM | PERMALINK
Thanks to grandpa john for pointing out that the line-item veto has already been found unconstitutional. Why are we still discussing it?

Because Republicans hate the Constitution.

Posted by: cmdicely on January 18, 2007 at 12:27 PM | PERMALINK

If some of you prefer to live in la-la land where the Dem's opposition was due to high fallutin Constitutional concerns, I can't help you there other than to point out Glenn Reynolds is a law professor and didn't raise objections. There are a lot of stupid 5-4 Supreme Court decisions I'd like to see revisited by John Roberts and Sam Alito -- Plyler v Doe requiring state and local governments to aid and abet illegal aliens would be first on the list.

Posted by: ex-minion on January 18, 2007 at 12:29 PM | PERMALINK

I guess what I don't understand is if the line-item veto has already been declared unconstitutional how can they even bring it up for vote again? Wouldn't the floor discussion start with a Dem saying, "This bill has already been declared unconstitutional. Why are we wasting the people's time with this? Let's vote this issue now. Please understand that by voting for the provision you are acknowledging your deep and unabiding stupidity. Thank you."?

Posted by: ricky on January 18, 2007 at 12:31 PM | PERMALINK

LIV is unconstitutional, period. The Court was absolutely right to strike it down in 98, regardless of the support it had from Clinton and Democrats in general. Bills are voted on AS A WHOLE by the legislature, and thus must be signed or vetoed AS A WHOLE by the executive. Simple as that.

Posted by: themann1086 on January 18, 2007 at 12:34 PM | PERMALINK

i used to belong to a cult until i found the moonies!

Posted by: ex-cult member on January 18, 2007 at 12:36 PM | PERMALINK

Let us revisit some history on the subject of the line item veto. After President Clinton signed the line item veto into law (but before the Supreme Court declared it to be unconstitutional), the first appropriation to reach his desk was a military construction bill (PL 105-45). Clinton attempted to eliminate 38 unrequested projects by line item veto at a savings of almost $300 million. However, these vetoes were overridden.

The vote in the Senate was 69-30 (Roll Call 287, October 30, 1997). Only 10 Republicans supported the removal of what today we call earmarks. McConnell was not one of them.

Posted by: Vadranor on January 18, 2007 at 1:35 PM | PERMALINK

Michellle Malkin is a cult.

Posted by: Brojo on January 18, 2007 at 1:36 PM | PERMALINK

On how Republicans and their mouthpieces take quotations out of context to the point of slander,

http://cannonfire.blogspot.com/2007/01/quotation-can-be-slander.html

Posted by: cld on January 18, 2007 at 1:36 PM | PERMALINK

The republicans don't want to pass a line item veto. Their polling says that the words "line item veto" generate positive knob twists in focus tests from right leaning voters and they want to have the right wing media machine prattling endlessly about how republicans voted for one and democrats voted against one.

Conveniently missing from that media coverage will be any mention that the thing has already been found unconstitutional, so was a complete waste of time and money to begin with.

Posted by: jefff on January 18, 2007 at 1:37 PM | PERMALINK
If some of you prefer to live in la-la land where the Dem's opposition was due to high fallutin Constitutional concerns, I can't help you there other than to point out Glenn Reynolds is a law professor and didn't raise objections.

Uh, so? While, as a class, American law professors may have above average knowledge of and/or regard for the Constitution (though I'm not sure that's all that clear except in the "knowledge" category), that doesn't make any individual law professor necessarily a paragon of Constitutional virtue simply by membership in the class.

There are a lot of stupid 5-4 Supreme Court decisions I'd like to see revisited by John Roberts and Sam Alito

Clinton v. City of New York, striking down the LIV, was not a 5-4 decision, so I'm not sure what relevance this has, it was a 6-3 decision, with Scalia, O'Connor, and Bryer dissenting. With O'Connor and Rehnquist replaced by Roberts and Alito, and assuming they both would vote to uphold the LIV and everyone else would vote as they did last time, it is still 5-4 against the LIV.

Posted by: cmdicely on January 18, 2007 at 1:38 PM | PERMALINK

I can't help you there other than to point out Glenn Reynolds is a law professor and didn't raise objections.

You neglected to point out that Reynolds is also an idiot.

Posted by: Disputo on January 18, 2007 at 1:39 PM | PERMALINK

I can't help you there other than to point out Glenn Reynolds is a law professor and didn't raise objections.

Yeah, because Glenn Reynolds' opinion on what is legal, moral, ethical, wise, probable, possible, militarily feasible or otherwise connected to anything resembling reality is completely and totally credible.

Tool. You do your credibility no good by citing the Ole Perfesser, not-at-all-ex-minion.

Posted by: Gregory on January 18, 2007 at 1:39 PM | PERMALINK

There are a lot of stupid 5-4 Supreme Court decisions I'd like to see revisited

Bush v Gore would top mine, but alas, the damage is already done.

It never ceases to amaze me that yo-yos like not-at-all-ex-minion, never-was-a-liberal and their ilk take the mendacity, incompetence, corruption, malfeasance, fecklessness and hypocrisy of the Republican Party over the past six-plus years and say "thank you sir, may I have another?"

Posted by: Gregory on January 18, 2007 at 1:42 PM | PERMALINK

Line item veto already ruled unconstitutional... so what gives?

Posted by: me on January 18, 2007 at 1:43 PM | PERMALINK

Line item veto already ruled unconstitutional... so what gives?

The Republicans don't want to change the ethics rules that enabled their pervasive corruption and are attempting -- not without success, alas; as you can see, not-at-all-ex-minion et al got their blast faxes or marching orders from the Scaife Counter Blogging Project -- to distract from the issue.

Posted by: Gregory on January 18, 2007 at 1:47 PM | PERMALINK

If some of you prefer to live in la-la land where the Dem's opposition was due to high fallutin Constitutional concerns, I can't help you there other than to point out Glenn Reynolds is a law professor and didn't raise objections.

This is an indictment of the state of education in this country, not of our lack of understanding of the constitution.

Posted by: Col Bat Guano on January 18, 2007 at 1:47 PM | PERMALINK

Most of McConnell's constituents (except for Yellow Dog), are probably in-bred hillbillies who get their first pair of shoes just before they go off to work in the coal mines. These retards would vote for a sack of cow dung, if it promised not to raise their goldurn taxes. (Wouldn't want them guvmint revenuers takin' all the profit from the family still.)

A polio survivor, the disease took it's toll on McConnell's conscience and human decency, leaving both withered and useless. His spouse, Labor Secretary Elaine Chao, is equally heartless and unqualified for office, believing labor groups to have the same rights as teams of oxen - pro-slavery still being a popular positon in McConnell's old Kentucky home. The sun will shine a little brighter when this turd is flushed out of sight....

Posted by: The Conservative Deflator on January 18, 2007 at 2:03 PM | PERMALINK

Most of McConnell's constituents (except for Yellow Dog), are probably in-bred hillbillies who get their first pair of shoes just before they go off to work in the coal mines. These retards would vote for a sack of cow dung, if it promised not to raise their goldurn taxes. (Wouldn't want them guvmint revenuers takin' all the profit from the family still.)

A polio survivor, the disease took it's toll on McConnell's conscience and human decency, leaving both withered and useless. His spouse, Labor Secretary Elaine Chao, is equally heartless and unqualified for office, believing labor groups to have the same rights as teams of oxen - pro-slavery still being a popular positon in McConnell's old Kentucky home. The sun will shine a little brighter when this turd is flushed out of sight....

Posted by: The Conservative Deflator on January 18, 2007 at 2:05 PM | PERMALINK

Irony alert: The Bush Cultists bringing up Malkin and Instahack in a thread titled "Holding Bad Pundits Accountable."

Posted by: Gregory on January 18, 2007 at 2:12 PM | PERMALINK
You mean the one that passed in 1996 and was struck down by the Supreme Court in 1998 as unconstitutional?

No.

It is a slightly different version of the law the Supreme Court struck down in 1996. That law was struck down because it violated the presentment clause, as it simply gave the executive branch the unilateral power to veto line items without any further Congressional action. This version, however, would only allow the veto of the line item if Congress properly passed a bill rescinding it; the bill provides for fast track legislation to accomplish this, which would have an up-or-down vote in Congress - thus avoiding the presentment clause issue that troubled the Supreme Court about the 1996 law.

Posted by: Al on January 18, 2007 at 2:29 PM | PERMALINK

Mitch McConnell has a well-earned reputation as a rigid Party loyalist, ruthlessly partisan, and utterly unscrupulous. I know much less about his spouse, Elaine Chao, but what little I recall that I've heard is not flattering in the least. I imagine both of these people do, indeed, score high on the sociopathic index.

For all those reasons, I'm quite receptive to any substantive criticisms anyone might care to make against them.

But having said that, I will also say that I think Conservative Deflator's comments above are over the top, and particularly pernicious in the way they characterize a vast swath of people as "retards". I know folks who've lived and worked in those parts of the country, and -- as is usually the case -- the situation is far more complex and nuanced than that. Many of the people there have lived lives of endless struggle and disappointment. It is true that, lacking the kind of educational opportunities (including family cultures that encourage curiosity and educational attainment), vast numbers of them are easy pickings for simplistic rightwing propaganda. That does not mean they should be defamed in ways very similar to those employed by racists against African Americans, Hispanics, Jews, etc.

There have been many, many times when I have agreed with Conservative Deflator's comments -- indeed, was very glad he's spoken up -- but not at all on this occasion.


Posted by: Roger Keeling on January 18, 2007 at 2:32 PM | PERMALINK
This version, however, would only allow the veto of the line item if Congress properly passed a bill rescinding it

I know what this version does, I was asking about what it was being compared to.

This version is completely unnecessary and redundant with status quo powers of the President and Congress; Congress can establish its own procedures for "fast track" handling of legislation without a law needing the President's signature simply by adopting appropriate procedures in each house, and line items can already be rescinded by subsequent legislation, and the President is already Constitutionally directed to recommend to Congress measures (which would include recission of appropriations) as he finds "necessary and expedient".

A "line item veto" can either be unconstitutional (as the Line Item Veto Act of 1996 was), or not really be a line item veto at all and simply a redundant reiteration of the existing power of the President to make requests to Congress, and the existing power of Congress to pass laws that change old ones (as the new proposal is.)

Either form is an unnecessary waste of time as legislation.

You want a real line item veto, amend the Constitution. You want the President to have the power to ask Congress to rescind appropriations through subsequent legislation, well, he already can. Don't try to propose a law that is redundant with the existing power to do that and try to claim its a bill creating a new, important "line item veto" power. Because it isn't, it is, instead, an empty PR gesture.

Posted by: cmdicely on January 18, 2007 at 2:46 PM | PERMALINK

Conservative Deflator - As a fan of yours, I must point out that the biggest Mitch supporters these days are the rich Yuppies inflating real estate values in the Golden Triangle (Lexington to Louisville to Cincinnati.)

East and West in the coal fields, they only wish they had mine jobs to go to. Yes, they vote republican, but it's hard to blame them when all they want to know is what have Democrats done for them lately.

Wish I had an answer.

Posted by: Yellow Dog on January 18, 2007 at 3:07 PM | PERMALINK

I forget which one on the Post editorial page is David Broder; they all think the same. Is he the one with the mustache sort of like Tom Friedman? Or John Bolton? That's him! "Mr. Mustache Man."

Posted by: Thomas Slinkard on January 18, 2007 at 3:08 PM | PERMALINK

...and in November noble Kentuckians voted out 5 term Republican incumbent Anne Northrup, handmaiden of scumbag McConnell.

Posted by: olds88 on January 18, 2007 at 3:24 PM | PERMALINK

There are a lot of stupid 5-4 Supreme Court decisions I'd like to see revisited by John Roberts and Sam Alito --

The actual decision was 6-3 so your 2 wingnuts would still not change the opinion

Posted by: grandpa john on January 18, 2007 at 3:33 PM | PERMALINK

'Irony alert: The Bush Cultists bringing up Malkin and Instahack in a thread titled "Holding Bad Pundits Accountable."'

They don't do irony; it's just too painful...

Posted by: strangely enough on January 18, 2007 at 3:35 PM | PERMALINK

IMO, Sen. McConnell is a slimy, greasy, POS who if he told me the sun rose in the East, I would have to watch in the morning to confirm he was not lying in this instance. Other than that, he's a swell guy.

Posted by: Paul in KY on January 18, 2007 at 3:41 PM | PERMALINK

refusing to let the bill pass without a vote on an unrelated measure that would give President Bush virtual line-item-veto power.

A bunch of Democrats voted for just such a measure in 1995 (1996?), e.g. Robert Byrd. Apparently there is a bipartisan belief that only a president of one's own party should have the line-item veto.

Posted by: calibantwo on January 18, 2007 at 4:20 PM | PERMALINK

A bunch of Democrats voted for just such a measure in 1995 (1996?), e.g. Robert Byrd.

A Line Item Veto passed in 1996, Robert Byrd was one of the Senators that sued to overturn it as unconstitutional.

Posted by: cmdicely on January 18, 2007 at 4:42 PM | PERMALINK
The actual decision was 6-3 so your 2 wingnuts would still not change the opinion

Well they might, had not one of the two new Justices replaced one of the three dissenters; had they both replaced members of the majority, 2 replacements would be enough to go from 6-3 one way to 5-4 the other.

Posted by: cmdicely on January 18, 2007 at 4:44 PM | PERMALINK

Apparently there is a bipartisan belief that only a president of one's own party should have the line-item veto.

Apparently there is a Republican belief that only straw man arguments can disguse the Party's mendacity, incompetence and corruption.

Posted by: Gregory on January 18, 2007 at 5:09 PM | PERMALINK

cmdicely,

Good points, but you overlook that John Roberts was picked for Chief Justice because of his persuasiveness. We might be able to convince the milquetoast Souter to come back to his conservative roots, and not be led around by his clerks and Washington society.

Posted by: ex-minion on January 18, 2007 at 5:46 PM | PERMALINK

broder and edsall have become the useful idiots for the GOP; the first quotes McConnell on being bipartisan and the latter quotes Grover N. on democrats being a "tax and spend" party. Are they just old and lazy, or do they like being used?

Posted by: larrybob on January 18, 2007 at 6:04 PM | PERMALINK

ex-minion (and current toady): We might be able to convince the milquetoast Souter to come back to his conservative roots, and not be led around by his clerks and Washington society.

No, "milquetoast" best describes Bush, not Souter who is anything but milquetoast.

Now, if he came "back to his conservative roots" and voted like the lemming you want him to be, THEN he would be a "milquetoast."

Posted by: Google_This on January 18, 2007 at 6:10 PM | PERMALINK

cmdicely: A Line Item Veto passed in 1996, Robert Byrd was one of the Senators that sued to overturn it as unconstitutional.

Is it false that Byrd helped to write the earlier version?

Anyway, after Clinton vetoed a few line-items, Congress overrode the veto. that was before the SC ruled against it. Why does anybody keep coming back to it, do you know?

You want a real line item veto, amend the Constitution. You want the President to have the power to ask Congress to rescind appropriations through subsequent legislation, well, he already can. Don't try to propose a law that is redundant with the existing power to do that and try to claim its a bill creating a new, important "line item veto" power. Because it isn't, it is, instead, an empty PR gesture.

That about says it. That and the paragraphs preceding it. So, really, what's the game that they keep bringing it up? Is it really just empty PR, or are they really trying to get something?

Posted by: calibantwo on January 18, 2007 at 7:50 PM | PERMALINK

Also, it's unlikely that you can amend the Constitution enough to allow a line item veto. It violates more than a specific provision, it violates the fundamental separation of powers. The executive can't legislate, it can only enforce and carry out legislation.

The game is obstruct and delay the Democrats in order to claim they accomplished nothing by the next election. Of course, the game gives no consideration whatsoever as to what is actually good for the country, only what is good for those Republicans trying to stay in power and get back on top.

Posted by: Sinister eyebrow on January 18, 2007 at 10:35 PM | PERMALINK


McConnell is to Mike Mansfield what shit is to the large intestine, and Broder with his head up his ass should be able to recognize the difference.

Posted by: horatio on January 18, 2007 at 11:43 PM | PERMALINK

I'm just amazed that anyone still pays any attention to the BS I write.

Posted by: David Broder on January 19, 2007 at 3:37 PM | PERMALINK




 

 

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