Charles Krauthammer, Left-Wing Pansy

Charles Krauthammer, who is no shrinking violet, tells it like it is:

Provocation is no excuse for derangement. And there has been plenty of provocation: decades of an imperial judiciary unilaterally legislating radical social change on the flimsiest of constitutional pretexts. But while that may explain, it does not justify the flailing, sometimes delirious attacks on the judiciary mounted by House Majority Leader Tom DeLay and others in the wake of the Terri Schiavo case.

DeLay is threatening judges involved in that case with unspecified retribution. He said that Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy should be held “accountable” for using international law in deciding a recent (death penalty) case. He wants congressional hearings to reinterpret the “good behavior” clause of lifetime judicial tenure to make good behavior mean not what it has meant for two centuries — honesty and propriety — but good constitutional behavior. Do we really want Congress deciding that?

You guys have lost Charles Krauthammer. Are you beginning to smell the salts yet, beginning to come to your senses? I doubt it. Hammer then lists a series of offense he perceives the Courts have committed, and closes with this:

The prestige the courts inherited from Brown fueled their arrogant appropriation of legislative power in areas radically different and suffering no disenfranchisement — abortion, gay rights, religion in the public square. For decades they have been creating law, citing emanations from penumbras of the Constitution visible only to their holinesses.

This is all true and deeply depressing. But the answer is not to assault the separation of powers. Certainly not to empower Congress to regulate judicial decision-making by retroactively removing lifetime appointees. The non-deranged way to correct the problem is to appoint a new generation of judges committed to judicial modesty.

Yet the recent eruptions of DeLay, Cornyn and some of their fellows may, like FDR’s court-packing overreaching in 1937, have a salutary effect after all — scaring the bejesus out of judges, maybe even shocking them into a little bit of humility, something that does not seem to come to them naturally.

You guys have lost Charles Krauthammer.

God Help Us

That is it. I am done. I can’t take these lunatics anymore. Look at what Jim Sensenbrenner is up to now:

Republican Congressman James Sensenbrenner has launched his next assault on freedom. The full House Judiciary Committee is set to vote as early as next week on H.R. 1528, which creates a new group of mandatory miniumum penalties for non-violent drug offenses, including a five year penalty for passing a joint to someone who’s been in drug treatment.

That’s right: Passing a joint to someone who used to be in drug treatment will land you in federal prison for a minimum of five years.

For those of you keeping score, in several weeks Sensenbrenner has championed the Schiavo legislation (while failing to learn how to pronounce her name), suggested that we criminalize ‘indecency’ and jail offenders who broadcast offensive material, and now is suggesting that if someone relapses, and you hand them a joint, you should go to jail for 5 years.

Some infor on drug treatment efficacy:

A great deal of variation exists in the degree of dependence among drug users. The teenager who smokes marijuana three times a week is not as dependent as the thirty year old who has smoked six joints a day for 15 years and has already relapsed after being in two rehabilitation centers. It’s obvious that these persons need different approaches to treatment. Similarly, among cocaine users are some who use it in binge fashion one or two days a month and others who use it several times each day. Again, different treatment approaches are required. Regardless of treatment, some drug and alcohol dependent persons repeatedly relapse after treatment. Relapse rates vary among drugs of abuse. While the relapse rate for heroin addiction approaches 90 to 95 percent during the first ninety days following treatment, the rate for alcohol, nicotine, marijuana, and cocaine is less, although precise figures are not available. Relapse should not necessarily be viewed as a failure of either the treatment program or the individual.

Relapsing is not a failure, but handing the person who relapsed a joint- even if it is your wife, best friend, whatevr- that can land you in jail for 5 years. MANDATORY.

And how are they going to classify drug treatment centers? I got a DUI in 1992 when I was in college. I was required to attend Alcohol Awareness classes at a local DRUG TREATMENT CENTER. Does that me anyone who hands me a joint should go to the big house?

I may have voted for my last Republican in a long time. These wingnut, know-nothing, fundamentalist creeps are scaring the shit out of me, and linberty is at stake when it comes to these law and order goons.

Vote Republican Or You Hate the Baby Jesus

This is so patently offensive that I don’t have adequate words to describe how truly wrong this is:

As the Senate heads toward a showdown over the rules governing judicial confirmations, Senator Bill Frist, the majority leader, has agreed to join a handful of prominent Christian conservatives in a telecast portraying Democrats as “against people of faith” for blocking President Bush’s nominees.

Fliers for the telecast, organized by the Family Research Council and scheduled to originate at a Kentucky megachurch the evening of April 24, call the day “Justice Sunday” and depict a young man holding a Bible in one hand and a gavel in the other. The flier does not name participants, but under the heading “the filibuster against people of faith,” it reads: “The filibuster was once abused to protect racial bias, and it is now being used against people of faith.”

If you don’t share our politics, you hate the baby Jesus.

If you don’t share our politics, you hate religious people.

If you don’t share our politics, you are evil.

Congrats, Republicans. Our leaders have now taken the traditional rhetorical demonization of our opposition and elevated it to heavenly heights. I assume my friends on the right are going to spend the week-end attacking me for being a ‘religious bigot’ because I rightly point out the inappropriateness of this behavior. The usual suspects are front and center:

Some of the nation’s most influential evangelical Protestants are participating in the teleconference in Louisville, including Dr. James C. Dobson, founder of Focus on the Family; Chuck Colson, the born-again Watergate figure and founder of Prison Fellowship Ministries; and Dr. Al Mohler, president of the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary.

But why are you reading me? I hate religious people because I respect the role of religion in people’s lives, but don’t want religious texts or leaders dictating our domestic and foreign policy. And I really don’t want them using God and religion as a weapon for petty partisan gain.

*** Update ***

I read this three times to make sure I wasn’t missing a self-parody or an inside joke. I wasn’t:

Is it the position of Frist’s critics that it is illegitimate for the Majority Leader to give a speech to mainstream Christians? If so, then that is about as radical a tactic as we have seen in a long time –urging elected officials not to even speak to gatherings of the 40% of the country that attends church weekly. This is another outbreak of “religousrightitis”, one that underscores the ongoing effort to delegitimize the right of people to vote their values if those values are based on a religious worldview, and it makes a mockery of the idea that Dems want to appeal to “values voters” when they are encouraging the equivalent of “shunning” by electeds.

Hugh Hewitt, at his best.

A.) He can talk to them all he wants. What frightens me is that you consider them mainstream Christians and that Frist agrees with their radical viewpoint that Democrats are voting the way they are because of anti-religious views.

B.) They can vote their values all they want. I vote mine. I just don’t demand that their values be given the weight of law.

C.) How can they appeal to value voters? By your standards, there are none, because if you vote Democrat, you hate religion.

The Bull Moose Speaks

On Tom DeLay:

Come on, fellow members of the vast left wing conspiracy – everyone has to relax on occasion. When you are busy implementing the K Street Project, ramming through a redistricting plan in Texas with corporate funds, using government assets for political business, gutting ethics rules and threatening judges, you really need time to unwind. And what better way to do it than with fine upstanding citizens like Casino Jack!

And besides, when he leaves Congress, Tiger Tom may give Tiger Woods a run for his money in the PGA. On May 12th when they celebrate his leadership, the denizens of the right should give Tiger Tom a Green Jacket – for he is truly the Master of Sleaze.

On the Republican ‘agenda:’

The Republican domestic agenda has run out of steam. Well, not exactly – they still seek to reward their corporate cronies and posture for the religious right. What was once said about the former Governor of Texas, “Pass the Biscuits Pappy” O’Daniel can also be said about the GOP. – the aim of the Republican Party is to save the soul of the poor man and the wealth of the rich man.

But for the rest of America, including Main Street Republicans, the cupboard is bare. Tax cuts have lost their appeal and the GOP has lost all of its credibility as the party of small government.

Of course, everything could change and the war against terror could return to center stage in an instant. But as long as the focus is on the domestic front, the War Party has nothing to say.

The current political situation is eerily similar to the period of 93 and 94 – an incumbent party has misinterpreted the results of the election, overreached on a domestic policy initiative, became identified with a controversial social agenda and the congressional wing appeared mired in corruption.

What is most damaging to the Republicans is that they appear out of touch with America. For years, the right’s rap on the left was that it was dominated by intellectual elites who couldn’t relate to America. That can now be said of the right. The conservatives are now a mix of inside-the Beltway egg-heads and K Street hustlers. The Schiavo case and social security privatization are two issues that illustrate the gulf between America and the right.

And who believes that most Americans are abuzz about activist judges? Browse through a Walmart and see if the folks are aflame about the nuclear option. No, the Federalist Society bow tie types are as out of touch as the tie-dye Berkeley types.

Today’s right is more comfortable on K Street than on Main Street.

A Popular Backlash?

And for my fellow Republicans who think that I am off the reservation or a “bad Republican” when I state that our party has become the party of uncontrolled deficits, reckless spending, and intrusive big government, read this and weep:

Mr. Gingrich indicated some concern, though, about the current political circumstances of his party.

“I worry about uncontrolled spending, because we are the party of balanced budgets, smaller government and lower taxes,” he said. “I worry about any effort to flinch on ethics, because we are the natural reform party.”

If you want to brush that off as a mild warning, do it at your own expense. Gingrich is a die-hard partisan, and would never use stronger language to condem the GOP. This is as clear a shot across the bow as you are going to get from Newt.

We were the party of balanced budgets, smaller government, and lower taxes. Now all we have left is the lower taxes bit- and it isn’t going to be that way forever. Pretty soon, there is going to be a reckoning day- we simply can not keep taxes at the current level while continuing to expand government expenditures exponentially. In the not so distant future, taxes are going to have to go up- because we will be unable to pay the bills otherwise.

Right now we are behaving like a bunch of rabid environmentalists, who, upon inheriting a Cadillac Escalade, realize that the seats are pretty comfortable and that a V8 is a real pleasure to drive, so we put the pedal to the floor and forget everything we used to call principles. Someone made this analogy in the comments of a thread a while ago, and it fits.

And if you think there is going to be no backlash- you are wrong. I just saw a poll on MSNBC ( I will find the cite in a little bit when it comes out) that states that the majority of the American people now believe that taxes are unfair- not because of the flawed tax code- but because the higher income brackets are not paying enough. I am sure the usual suspects will tell us how flawed the poll is- me- I tend to trust the numbers.

In other words- it looks like us ‘fiscal conservatives’ are poised to lose the tax debate, and more people are going to agree with this vision of the Republican Party:

Bush’s policies have very little to do with laissez-faire (just ask the Cato guys) or any actual moment in the American past. Instead, it has everything to do with corruption and funneling money to friendly corporations and religious groups. It’s a kind of christian democrat vision, but more along the lines of tangentopoli than Germany. I think this is important, because it’s become obvious that many Democrats now have high hopes that the investigations into Tom DeLay’s dealings will provide a major political payoff. It’s my opinion that it only will if Democrats manage to actually tie this stuff in to a broader critique of Republican policies. They’re not free marketers who happen to take bribes on occassion. The policymaking is fully continuous with the corruption.

Unfair? Maybe. But if you are a real Republican, a true conservative, and really do care about smaller and less intrusive government and free trade, and you do care about the dangers of the excesses of the far left- this should leave your knees shaking. We are beginning to appear to many to be the goofy and unfair caricature that the Democrats have painted us as for years.