[Added this link after writing everything below--this link should settle this argument. It's from the Department of Justice website and it says in black and white how many judicial positions there are to fill and how many are vacant. The 95% number is correct.]
So in my local paper today, there appeared these two letters to the editor (how come they don’t print two antiwar letters on the same day?) that both favored triggering the nuclear option because in their minds, Bush has had less of his judicial appointees approved than Clinton and others. Just read through these two letters to see why we’re all screwed:
GOP should use nuclear option
Well, Mr. Warren ("An 'attack on people of faith?'" May 10), thank you for bringing this up. Now I will set the record straight.
What the Democrats are doing to judicial nominees is unheard of. Not in the history of the Senate have judicial nominees ever been filibustered. You see, the rules are these: the nominees must go through committee; if they pass the committee, then there is to be an up-or-down vote in the Senate. The Democrats know they will lose this, so instead of following and upholding the Constitution, they filibuster.
Basically, they are breaking the Constitution, so the Republicans have to - which is legal, by the way - use the "nuclear option."
When Bill Clinton was in office, he got over 70 percent of his nominees through. And there was not one filibuster. That is the average of any president in history. Until now.
Most of George Bush's nominees have made it through committee. Only 50 percent have made it through the whole process - the lowest of any president. If you look as to why these men have not, it is very clear that it is due to the fact that these men claim to be men of faith. Not only do they claim this, but they live up to the claim, which scares the Democrats because these men will uphold the Constitution - unlike the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals in California or the courts that ruled in the Terri Schiavo case.
One more thing: George Bush should not consult with the senior Democrat on the committee. The voice of the people was heard. It's called elections.
Getty Israel of Jackson stated in the Hattiesburg American Opinion page Wednesday that the Republicans seek "absolute power." She also quotes that President Bush had a confirmation rate of almost 95 percent. I have yet to locate a source for this confirmation statement.
President Bush has or had the lowest judicial confirmation rate from what I have found on the Internet. All the Republican Party really wants is an up-or-down vote on its nominees. Is that too much to ask of our representatives?
The problem, of course is that these two writers come at this issue with a different set of facts than we liberals do. Who’s right? In this particular part of the debate, there can only be one right answer. Either Bush has a 95 % confirm rate or he has more or less half that.
FOOLPROOF & MATHEMATICAL
There is a foolproof and mathematical way to determine which percentage is right. And of course, that is to look at the number of confirmations versus the number of nominations and derive a percentage. But, the problem is that neither you nor I nor most of us in the great unwashed have the time, research resources, or the inclination to figure out this easy math problem. This is true of most, if not all, political situations.
So we have to trust the media to give us facts.
So there’s the rub–if I pointed out to one of these letter writers that The Washington Post verifies a near 95% confirm rate for Bush, you’d think that would settle the issue, right? “Oh hell no,” this writer and millions like him would say–“the Washington Post is biased in favor of the liberals–it’s part of the elite liberal media.”
Now this particular accusation about the Washington Post may or may not be true. Is the Washington Post part of the “liberal media?” Well, yes and no–it depends on what the word “liberal” means, and it means a little something different to everyone. Except the people who buy into the idea of “the liberal media,” who almost uniformly think “liberal” means “evil” and/or “anti-American.”
OK, maybe the Washington Post is liberal. For the sake of argument, let’s just say it is. But is it right about the 95% confirm rate? If the Post is correct about this, their perceived “bias” should not matter. A fact is a fact. However, the conservatives’ greatest victory has been to make their cohort blind to facts when there is suspicion that some media outlet might be biased.
And time and again, it has been shown that those who consume primarily conservative media, i.e, Fox News, etc., don’t have the facts right. Like this study that showed that Fox viewers believed Iraq was behind 9/11 even though the 9/11 commission and their dear beloved president said that such a thing was not so.
DEATH OF DISCOURSE, DEATH OF ORDER
So this is the problem. People have to see that there is only one correct set of facts about any given issue. Citizens are entitled to feel any way they’d like about these facts and the reporters of these facts, but facts are facts.
But how can this be fixed? I don’t know the answer, I’m just posing the question. I think one way that it might start to be fixed is to bring back the Fairness Doctrine in some form or another. For example, too many radio stations across the South (and, I’m assuming, the entire country) have nothing but right-wing opinions from sign-on to sign-off (or if there are left-wing opinions, they’re broadcast during hours when there are the least listeners). And no, that is not “making up” for how there were supposedly hours and hours of leftist opinion being broadcast in the past. If that had been the case (and perhaps it was, I didn’t really pay much attention until the Fairness Doctrine was rescinded), there was the Fairness Doctrine to which citizens could appeal to get their side heard. And so forth...
How can we solve any problems when each side claims completely different facts? Only one set of facts can be right. And that takes me back to the beginning–either Bush has 95% confirm rate or he has much less than that. Which is it?
And it matters which it is, because if 95% confirm rate is correct, that makes Bill Frist and the Republicans look unreasonable. And if the other is correct, then the Democrats do look like obstructionists. And that’s the whole reason this stupid debate matters–who’s really the party being unreasonable here?
And according to most conservatives, no one should trust the nation’s oldest and most respected newspapers like the New York Times and the Washington Post to tell them the answer because they are “the liberal media.” Instead, they argue, you should trust alternative papers like the Washington Times or the New York Post, both owned by men (Rev. Sun Myung Moon and Rupert Murdoch, respectively) who are openly and vehemently conservative, much more than the owners of the Times and Post are similarly liberal. So such papers can clearly be said to have a conservative bias.
OK, I gotta jump off here and get some links put in here and then get some sleep...
THE 95% IS A FACT as a "fact" is generally understood. If we are to doubt this 95% figure that is given to us by our government, would we not have to question many other "facts" given to us by our Republican-controlled government, like whether or not Bush had decided to go to war with Iraq and "fix the facts around the policy" because he and the British all knew Iraq had no WMD?