It’s almost too easy.
Every time Congressional Democrats failed this year to stop the Bush administration (i.e., every time they “tried”), the excuse they gave was that they “need 60 votes in the Senate” in order to get anything done. Each time Senate Republicans blocked Democratic legislation, the media helpfully explained not that Republicans were obstructing via filibuster, but rather that, in the Senate, there is a general “60-vote requirement” for everything.
How, then, can this [confirmation of Mukasey] be explained?
Of course, the shortest answer to Greenwald’s mock confusion would be “Gang of 14″, but McQ spells it all out anyway:
However a different agreement for judicial nominations has been in place since the 109th Congress, which, of course, would apply any nomination coming from the Senate judiciary committee. That agreement was forged by a group known as the “Gang of 14″ who have, in effect, agreed that Rule 22 for judicial nominations won’t apply by refusing to become party to filibusters against nominees. In the closely divided Senate, the refusal of 7 Senators on each side to participate in judicial filibusters (which have been described by many as unconstitutional anyway) has effectively nullified thee use of the filibuster there. Thus there is no 60 vote requirement for a cloture since there is no cloture vote. Consequently all judiciary committee nominees can be confirmed with a simple majority.
Aside from the feigned ignorance comprising the bulk of Greenwald’s missive, there was one small portion that seemed to perfectly encapsulate much of what Lance has been on about in his posts regarding the “Politics of Bad Faith“; first the passage from Greenwald:
Now, “torture” is not only something we openly debate, but it’s something we do. And the fact that someone is on the wrong side of the “torture debate” doesn’t prevent them from becoming the Attorney General of the United States.
The clear implication is that “torture” is not even debatable, and that unless one comes out as unequivocally opposed to it (whatever “it” is) in all circumstances, and in every situation, one is on the “wrong side of the debate.” Such a standard for what is debatable or not has the benefit of being both entirely nebulous and yet having a defined “good” and “bad” side. Torture is bad, so failure to oppose it makes one evil.
But how do we decide what torture is if we don’t debate it? Waterboarding may or may not be (although, it seems to be pretty clearly illegal), and again, how do we decide without debate? What about loud music or stress positions? In short, without debate, there is no way to decide what constitutes torture. Which is exactly what Greenwald and his minions want.
You see, it’s really easy to simply take a stance that appears moral on its face without applying it to any actual situations. Anti-war? OK, then what about the Revolutionary War, or WWII? Anti-child labor? Great, but how about those families who have no better option (you know, like all of our ancestors at some point in the past)? Anti-torture? Fantastic, but where do you draw the line between necessary coercive tactics and over-the-line acts? The moral preener won’t answer these questions because to do so undermines his exalted position. Instead, he throws up his hands in disgust at even having to consider the topic, and casts aspersions on all those wrong-thinkers who do not capitulate to his obvious moral superiority.
In this way, the moral preener lords his moral superiority over others and yet never has to actually clarify that stance. Regarding torture, that means simply shouting down or dismissing as evil any who challenge the political orthodoxy without ever even attempting to come to terms with what it is that’s being discussed. Accordingly, “torture” means whatever is being proposed by the political enemies of the moral preener. Any rational debate of the issue is immediately dismissed as “defending the indefensible” and challengers likened to Nazis and fascists. Anti-torture is the only permissible position, and any questioning of its underpinnings is strictly verboten upon pain of otracization.
People like Greenwald and his minions aren’t interested in debate, you see, they just want to be holier than thou. Those of us who prefer rational discourse to political gamesmanship are therefore deemed evil warmongers who support authoritarianism in all its forms. No right-thinking person would dare consider pondering the questions we raise because it is just not reasonable to dissent from Greenwald’s teachings. Oh yeah, and somebody or other who is some muckety-muck whom everyone should simply bow down before as an authority on the issue agrees with Mona. So there!
Of course, the moral emperor has no clothes, and his platitudes and righteous outrage are mere political theater. The whole point to Greenwald’s charade is to cast anything Republican as the second coming of Hitler himself, thus clearing the way for an electoral shift to the left. How far left I can only guess, but it certainly doesn’t seem to be in any libertarian direction since debate is just not allowed in Greenwald’s brave new world. Every issue, every topic and every post from Greenwald is loaded with moral indignation and yet comes devoid of substantive debate or discourse. In what way is that “libertarian”?
It’s not. And neither is Greenwald.
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