Tuesday, December 13, 2011

The Party Of Nullification

Joan McCarter at Daily Kos says it well:
We've been talking about this basically since the Supreme Court appointed George W. Bush president: a completely radicalized Republican party that doesn't care about governing, doesn't care about the Constitution. It's apparently not polite to talk about the country's dirty little secret, but the opposition party—the party that is in control of the House of Representatives—isn't just bat-shit insane, it's subversive and the tactics they've escalated in the last two years aren't just politics as usual, but dangerous to the basic functioning of this country.
The latest example is the blocking of Richard Cordray's nomination to head the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.  Over the weekend, as Steve Benen explains, Senate Republicans appeared on Fox News Sunday and Meet the Press, and proudly defended their actions.  Mitch McConnell, the Senate Minority leader stated that "we’re simply not going to appoint him, or confirm him, or anybody else to this agency that shouldn’t exist in its current form.”  And Lindsay Graham declared, "so this consumer bureau that [Democrats] want to pass is under the Federal Reserve. No appropriation oversight, no board. It is something out of the Stalinist era."

The not-so-minor point these wise men of the Republican Party failed to acknowledge and with which, not surprisingly, they were not confronted by either Chris Wallace on Fox or David Gregory on NBC:  THE AGENCY ALREADY EXISTS -- IT WAS ESTABLISHED BY A LAW THAT ALREADY PASSED!

James Fallows argues that "this is an extension of the media normalization of the filibuster, through stories that say a bill has 'failed' if it doesn't get 60 votes."  He points out that not only did Gregory fail to confront the "extraordinary claim" made by Sen Graham, but neither did Senate Democratic Majority Leader Dick Durbin, who was also on the program.  Instead, it was simply treated as "normal election-year positioning."

What the Republicans are doing, however, is quite radical.  As Benen points out, they are embracing "nullification."
Congress passed a bill that was signed into law by the president. Last week, a Senate minority — not a majority, a minority — decided it simply won’t allow that law that’s already on the books to be executed.
It is hard to disagree with Benen's assertion that, "as a matter of legal and institutional principles, Americans haven’t seen tactics like these since the Civil War," when nullification was attempted by slave-holding states.

As McCarter concludes, "at some point, Democrats are going to have to stop being polite about this, stop acting as if it's business as usual and start screaming bloody murder."


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