There comes a time in every day when I think something like, "I'd love to live in a country where there's a machine that can measure your soul, and when someone -- someone, say, like a Ted Cruz, or a Michele Bachmann -- falls below a certain level of humanity, he or she is simply not allowed on TV. 'Sorry, you're just too hateful and we really would rather not have your toxic bile in our lives.' Yes, that would definitely be a very much better place to live."
Or, "I'd love to live in a country where CEOs are accountable to consumers and there's a weekly TV show called You Do It, where the non-CEOs among us get to confront them on camera and point out the flaws of their products. 'Hello, Mr. Pepperidge Farm man. I'm not able to open a package of your goldfish without ripping it to shreds. Here. Show me how it's done, sir."
Or, "I'd love to live in a country where it was actually possible to give all of these Tea Party types their own state. The biggest state, even. 'Take Texas. Here, it's yours, take it wherever you want to take it, but just GO!'
So over the weekend I was checking the two dozen sites that I need to see every day and something on one of them sent me off to an article in the American Bar Association's house organ, The ABA Journal. The headline was "GOP senators block DC Circuit nominee; will Democrats change filibuster rules?" and the article said, "President Obama's nomination of Patricia Ann Millett to a federal appeals court was blocked today when the Senate vote to end a Republican filibuster fell five votes short." It went on to report a bold statement by Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy (D-VT) indicating that Democrats will have to consider limiting filibusters. Look out! They may be ready to consider it. How I swoon every time I hear one of these spineless bloviators threaten to "exercise the nuclear option."
And while we're at it I'd love to live in a world where people know how to pronounce that word. What's so hard about it? Just looking at it, it seems like if you're going to mispronounce it, you'd be more likely to err along the lines of "noo-cleer' than "nuc-u-lar." Where does that even come from? Do people have eyes? There's no second "u" in that word.
The ABA Journal quoted a New York Times article that said, "Whether Democrats have the stomach for another tense and consuming fight over the filibuster is an open question." The ABA Journal then went on, "Republicans contend the D.C. Circuit's workload doesn't require additional judges, and they accuse the Obama administration of trying to shift the appeals court to the left."
And then they said... wait, they didn't say anything else. That was the end of the article. It stopped just before the part that should have pointed out that, no, there aren't too many judges on that court, it's one of the most important courts -- if not THE most important -- in the nation. The Republicans' problem is that it's evenly divided, 4 D-appointees and 4 Rs, and if Obama fills the three vacancies, or even one of them, yes, he's going to shift the court to the left. That is exactly as it should be, considering that voters who knew very well that that's what he would do rejected the right-wing promises of his opponent and reelected him overwhelmingly. This is the journal of the American Bar Association, and they left their readers with the impression that the D.C. Circuit bench is overcrowded and that the socialist Obama will stop at nothing to establish America's first Gulag.
And I thought about Harry Reid, and how amazing it was that he was such a hard-ass during the shutdown and how I got fooled into thinking that maybe things had changed and he liked the feeling of power and now he was just going to wait 'til the Republicans staged one more bullshit filibuster and then just do it. Ka-boom! Go nuclear!
I would love to live in a country where just one reporter thought it was his or her job to say to Harry Reid what I would say to Harry Reid: "Senator, the Republicans have drawn a line in the sand and they're not letting any more of the President's court nominees cross it. The only way the president is going to get the judges that share his humanistic bent onto the courts -- and particularly onto the all-important D.C. Circuit Court -- is if YOU exercise the nuclear option and take their toy away. You can take it away from them just like that! Over in minutes!
"Let me ask you a question, Senator. Would you rather be seen as the kid in the schoolyard who repeatedly gets the shit beaten out of him and doesn't fight back because, what, it wouldn't be nice? Or the kid who doesn't start fights but who defends himself, fairly and with devastating effect, and gives the schoolyard bully a much-deserved smack upside the head, or ten? Which scenario seems more likely to get the crowds cheering?
"There is no more impactful thing a president does than put his mark on the courts, and these depraved cretins are preventing this president from fulfilling his duties. Senator, we've already had a judicial coup in this country which no one -- not even your party, the screwees -- ever dares to mention. The right-wing Supreme Court installed the loser of the 2000 race in the White House so he could put more right-wingers on the Court, and now we have to live with no limits to campaign contributions and legally sanctioned voter suppression. And you're just rolling over and saying, 'Have at me'? Senator, have you no shame?"
It's not like I would expect him to have some kind of come-to-Jesus moment and become the Harry Reid I want him to be, but just to see him have to confront such a blast of truth would be reward enough in our era of ever-lowering expectations. There should be some consequence to being a terminal wuss, even if it's just to be called on your bullshit.
Yes, I would love to live in that country.