Poor John Kerry. He can see the tidal wave coming for his party and it’s clearly distressing him beyond all reason.
With his party braced for defeats in the midterm elections, the 2004 Democratic presidential nominee told the Greater Boston Chamber of Commerce on Thursday that a Republican machine – fueled by talk show hosts such as Rush Limbaugh and Glenn Beck – has undermined progress and misled the public into believing Democrats created the country’s current economic problems.
Kerry singled out attacks on an energy deal he was negotiating with Republicans, which fell apart amid criticism of an emissions-trading program. Some 20 Senate candidates are now opposing the proposed deal in their campaigns.
“It’s absurd. We’ve lost our minds,” said a clearly exasperated Kerry. “We’re in a period of no-nothingism in the country, where truth and science and facts don’t weigh in. It’s all short-order, lowest common denominator, cheap-seat politics.”
I don’t want to kick Kerry while he’s down, but…well, who am I kidding? I absolutely want to kick Kerry while he’s down. Since when has politics not been “short-order” or “cheap-seat”? Politics has always been about convincing as many people as possible to vote for you, by hook or by crook. This is not exactly a big secret, if you spend just a few minutes flipping through a halfway decent history book. If John Kerry doesn’t know that, it’s because he’s so rarely had to experience a real race for political office. Heck, he’s still whining about the last time he lost a race.
However, that doesn’t stop Kerry from practicing some low-brow deceptive politics of his own:
To underscore his claim, he cited statistics showing Republicans had blocked Senate business with filibuster tactics more during the past 18 months than the period between the end of World War I and the Apollo moon landing in 1969.
That’s a cute phrase, “filibuster tactics”. It is, you might say, a perfect example of the “no-nothingism” that wounds Kerry’s heart. Do you know how many actual filibusters – instances where a Senator took to the floor and held it until a successful cloture vote forced him to relinquish control – there have been in the pat 18 months? None. Zero. Not a single one.
Now it’s true that Republicans have threatened a number of filibusters, and Harry Reid has gone to cloture votes in response to the threat, but a threat is not the same thing as the actual deed. In fact, what the Republicans have been doing for 18 months is tantamount to bluffing with a series of loser hands. Democrats (and here is something else Kerry conveniently forgot to mention) had a majority that could overcome any Republican filibuster, so long as the Majority Leader could rely on getting all his members to vote with him. The Republicans knew that, which is why they only threatened to filibuster. They ran a number of bluffs and Reid was so unsure of his own ability to rally his own caucus behind him that he fell for every single one of them.
You can hardly blame the Republicans for playing the only card they had — a fairly weak one at that — yet John Kerry does by slipping that weasely word “tactics” in there. It’s not a lie, but neither it is the truth. It is, if I may borrow a phrase, “short-order, lowest common denominator, cheap-seat politics” constructed by a master of the art.
(via Jonah Goldberg, who is not exactly filled with sympathy for the senior whiner from Massachusetts)