The Democrats have made a change to Senate rules: now, it is no longer possible to filibuster confirmation of Presidential appointees.  The Associated Press article says:

Sweeping aside a century of precedent, Democrats took a chunk out of the Senate’s hallowed filibuster tradition on Thursday and cleared the way for speedy confirmation of controversial appointments made by President Barack Obama and chief executives in the future.

That phrasing strikes me as odd, especially the use of the word “hallowed”. Seems slanted against the Democrats.  Senator Reid seems to me to have been fairly reluctant to do this, and only finally did after having his hand more or less forced by the Republicans.

That said, I don’t like the decision. I understand why they did it, and from a short-term view, it makes sense.  But it is true that they may come to regret it in the future, as the Republicans are saying. (Unless, I guess, the Democrats change it back during the lame-duck session if they are voted out.)

Still, the Republicans are acting like the Democrats just did this for no reason, and not because the Republicans have been filibustering appointments for no reason.  Which, technically, they are allowed to do, but they are violating the spirit, if not the word, of the Senate rules.

So, it’s a real dilemma.  An insoluble one, perhaps.  The Republicans’ casual use of the filibuster has caused a breakdown in the functioning of government.  And the only thing the Democrats could think of to fix it was to break the functioning of government in a different way.  It is a bad trend.  It bespeaks a downward spiral in how the Senate works.

“I would remind you that extremism in the defense of liberty is no vice!”–Barry Goldwater. 1964.
I think Goldwater was right in this belief, even if I do disagree with some of what he believed needed to be done in order to defend liberty.
This is why it’s rather disheartening to me to see that Harry Reid chose to attack Sharron Angle by calling her “extreme”. Extremism is a relative concept, based off of what is considered “normal” in the conventional wisdom of the time and place. Only about a century ago, the idea of women voting was “extreme”. So what? That doesn’t mean it was a bad idea.
Paul Graham put it best in his wonderful essay “What You Can’t Say“:

 “If a statement is false, that’s the worst thing you can say about it. You don’t need to say that it’s heretical… So when you see statements being attacked as x-ist or y-ic (substitute your current values of x and y), whether in 1630 or 2030, that’s a sure sign that something is wrong.”  

Now, you might think from all this that I’m one of those people who thinks that Angle is being oppressed and slandered by evil liberals. Nothing could be further from the truth. Personally, I think Angle is absolutely dead wrong on almost all the issues. That, therefore, is the message that ought to be repeated by Reid.

Or am I being too extreme?

Many Conservatives are understandably upset over the possibility.

It seems to me that it does make perfect tactical sense: the NRA knows they have the Republicans on their side; it’s the Democrats that they need to make indebted to them.

If Reid makes a deal to do what they want as far as gun legislation is concerned in exchange for an endorsement, then they’re happy. And if he loses, at least he’ll only lose to a pro-gun Republican.

…is what the Republicans say the Democrats are.

First of all, why is this news? The Republicans always say that. Second, while his policies seem to be weaker, Obama’s track record against Jihadism compares favorably with George W. Bush’s and Bill Clinton’s after their respective first years in office. 

I’ll agree his position on torture seems naive, and his foolish decision not to fire Napolitano immediately after the December 25th failed attack ought to be ridiculed. But these apparent flaws cannot negate his success in objective terms. The arguments against trying terrorists in civilian court are, in my opinion, fairly weak. 

As of this moment, the case against Obama himself as weak on terror is basically a joke. Now, the case against the Democrats in Congress, particularly Harry Reid, is a much better one. Reid is a weak person by nature, and his infamous assertion that the Iraq war was “lost” is one that should haunt him. 

The Democrats overall philosophy intuitively seems to be weaker, but that is not backed up by the data.

Obama has been making remarks that upset politicians from Nevada with his remarks about Las Vegas

I imagine it will go like this:

Harry Reid: Barack! You don’t talk about Las Vegas like that!

Obama: Harry, you’re the Senate Majority leader, and I love you. But don’t ever take sides with anyone against the Party again. Ever.

Explanation here.

My final thoughts on the Harry Reid quote, which I don’t want to spend much time on, since my main point is that the media (of which I am, after all, a member) is over-discussing it. 

The knee-jerk reaction to this over coverage of the story is to say that “the media” is biased in favor of Republicans. This might be true, but I doubt it. I suspect the real reason this story beats out the vastly more outrageous comments of Rudy Giuliani, for example, is that it involves racial issues.

One of the deepest desires of the MSM  is to have a National Conversation on Race. This is a polite way of saying they adore trying to foment discord between races. This element is dramatic, divisive, and, best of all, there is no means of resolving it, because everyone is always whatever race they were born as, so there will always be a wealth of stories about it. If a story is really juicy, it might spawn more outrage, subsequent racist remarks/actions, and possibly even riots. 

This, I’m sure, won’t happen in this case. The only people who would start riots to oust Reid are the Tea-Party people, and they would’ve done that already if they could. Nevertheless, this makes for an exciting, drama filled story that is meaningless and stupid beneath all the emotional trappings.

That’s what the press is built on. 

He’s “light-skinned” and had “no Negro dialect unless he wanted to have one.”–Harry Reid, on candidate Barack Obama. 

“We had no domestic attacks under Bush. We’ve had one under Obama,”–Rudy Giuliani, on Obama’s National Security policy.

Which statement is false?

Which statement got more press coverage?

Why?