Thursday, May 19, 2005

Who's to Blame for the Filibuster Standoff?

Perhaps one of yesterday’s most interesting statements came from Senator Ken Salazar (D-CO) who admitted, “There is some realistic expectation that a couple of the nominees would be voted down on an up-or-down vote.”

Everyone assumes that an up-or-down vote would fall along party lines. But there are plenty of reasons why the so-called blue-state Republicans would reject a few of these nominees.

I wonder how the Senators would be treating this whole issue if the special interest groups weren’t involved? As Newsday has noted, special interest groups on both sides are actively fighting against any sort of compromise. Sometimes it seems like Focus on the Family, NARAL and their kin have more influence in this debate than do the Senators themselves.

When we debate who’s at fault for this whole mess, let’s not forget to place culpability on the shoulders of the rigidly partisan interest groups who use their large bank rolls and threats of political retribution to corral certain Senators and all-but-force them to vote along partisan lines.

Special interest groups on both sides deserve plenty of the blame.

UPDATE: Ultimate responsibility still rests with the Senators--and we strongly support any Senator who has the strength-of-conviction to ignore their party's interest groups. But tht doesn't mean these interest groups should get a pass. Their behavior is reprehensible and they are a significant part of the problem.


At 9:09 AM, Anonymous rjb said...

"...all-but-force them to vote along partisan lines.

Special interest groups on both sides deserve plenty of the blame. "

I don't buy this. I don't let my kids absolve themselves of responsibility for their actions with a cop-out excuse like "He made me do it", so I certainly won't accept that excuse from my senators.

Ultimately, the only person who can take the credit or blame for the vote case is the one who cast it.

At 9:34 AM, Blogger Alan Stewart Carl said...

I would agree that the ultimate responsibility rests with the Senators themselves. If they were strong enough to stand up to special interests, then the special interests would be much less powerful.

But that doesn't change the fact that we have these very rich special interest groups representing a tiny minority of Americans but irresponsibily using threats of retribution to influence public policy. These groups are not benign. They share some of the blame for the polarization of politics.


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