"Rather than fighting to get through a rare nominee the Democrats will accept, Republicans -- and John McCain -- might better spend their energy letting voters know the score." That is the final sentence in an article today in The Wall Street Journal. The article is the latest written by the publication about the dismal record the Democrat-controlled Congress has on confirming President Bush's judicial nominees.
The Senate has confirmed a whopping 4 nominees to the federal circuit courts since the beginning of the year. Back in June, Senate Majority Leader Reid sent a letter to the publication promising to do better. At least to show the same amount of urgency that the Senate gave to President Clinton's nominees. So far Reid has not lived up to his promise.
It is a tactic of this Democrat Senate to tie judicial confirmations into negotiating difficult legislation. The Democrat leadership promises to put nominees before the Senate Judicial Committee yet continues to break that promise. "In President Clinton's final two years of office, a Republican Senate confirmed 15 circuit court judges and 57 district court judges. Merely to match that record, Senate Democrats will need to confirm five more circuit court nominees and nine more district court nominees when they return for a session that will only last a few weeks."
Today was the monthly meeting of Memorial West Republican Womens PAC. The speakers this morning were the Dean of the Texas State Senate, John Whitmire, a Democrat and a member of the Texas House of Representatives, Dwayne Bohac, a Republican. Neither represent my own districts for voting purposes. Both presented compelling speeches.
Whitmire, the Democrat, has the most seniority in the Senate. That is why he has the title of Dean of the Senate. For 25 years he has served in the state senate. His passion is with his chairmanship of the Criminal Justice Committee. While presenting a fairly standard Democrat point of view - favoring the criminal more than the victim - he was affable and spoke of working on a bi-partisan basis with most subjects of legislation. He spoke of the necessity of experience and leadership in order to get goals accomplished. "Elections matter. Elections are not a popularity contest."
Unlike the current socialist wing of the Democrat party controlling the agenda of the Democrats in office and on the campaign trail, this man spoke as the old style of politician. He spoke as one I remembered from my childhood in the South. He was a Democrat who knew how to serve his people. And, best of all, he spoke with civility even of those who don't support his ideas.
Change, as a force of good, is in the eye of the beholder.
He spoke of the 10,000 undocumented prisoners in state prisons. It costs about $40,000 per prisoner per year to the taxpayers, yet about $8,000 per year is spent per student. He said the answer is not bigger government, it is smarter government. Yes, the sane branch of the Democrat party.
An engaging speaker, Whitmire was easy to listen to and didn't stoop to the cheap shots or personal attacks. Refreshing in today's election year.
Rep. Bohac spoke to his passion for cancer research, among other topics. The 80th Legislature, ratified by the voters, a huge research bill. The State of Texas will provide $3 billion for cancer prevention and research over the next 10 years. Now, with the world class medical facilities and universities of the state, Texas is the center of the fight to cure all forms of cancer. That is terrific news.
Just as John McCain is the candidate known for working in a bi-partisan way in the Senate, Obama can say he does until the cows come home. Doesn't make it so. He still has no record of truth in advertising when it comes to claiming to be the 'post racial, post partisan' candidate.
The voters are awake. The voters seem to agree. This is not a popularity contest.