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BUZZFLASH REPORT Thursday February 1, 2001 at 12:11:08 AM


Where is the Justice?

The Republicans so dominate the Washington power structure now that they will have their way and confirm an Attorney General who committed perjury during his testimony before the Senate Judiciary Committee. Because of the deal he apparently struck with Trent Lott and the White House, Tom Daschle will only allow token resistance. Thus, the Democrats will once again be enablers to a travesty of justice.

It is a lamentable and pathetic strategy to argue, as Daschle is doing today, that the Democrats want to muster at least 30 votes to "show" Bush that they are a force to be reckoned with. If Bush is jamming an extreme right wing agenda down the throat of America after losing the popular vote and losing the electoral vote (with the exception of the Supreme Court placing him in office), he's not going to give a damn about a little gesture of defiance on the part of the Democrats. In fact, they will be tittering at the White House about the futility of the whole Democratic approach to Ashcroft. The Republicans know that winning is everything --and idle threats are merely the flailing gestures of an opposition in disarray.

There is not a Democratic Senator, even among those who are opposing him, who will stand up and tell the truth: John Ashcroft, who postures himself as an "honest" man and a man of "integrity," perjured himself in his testimony. If this were a Democratic candidate for attorney general, Dan Burton would be holding hearings by now, Tom DeLay would be calling for an impeachment process, and Trent Lott would be demanding a Special Prosecutor. But the Democrats, for the most part, act as if it never happened.

The Republicans know that the Democrats don't have the spine to just call this tragic farce for what it is: an act of raw brazen hypocrisy. Bush and the Republicans know that they can roll the Democrats anytime they want. The Republicans don't care if 30 or even 40 Democrats vote against Ashcroft. They know that the Democrats don't have the guts to mount a filibuster.

Call Bush what you will, his handlers know that winning is everything. This is a lesson that the Democrats still can't learn.

The problem for the Democrats is that now they are perceived as so weak, they won't be able to draw over moderate Republicans or "centrist" Democrats. Senators, like people as a whole, gravitate toward winners. You want to be with the camp that can protect your interests and your future. That may explain why Tom Daschle himself is cozying up so close to Bush, writing weekly love notes to the President Select on his homepage (http://www.senate.gov/~daschle).

Daschle could have put up a fight, but waffled until the very end when it didn't really matter. Like all Democrats, he's sucker enough to keep his "word" to the Bush camp even after they humiliated him by revealing that he told Bush that the Democrats wouldn't block any of his nominations. He got kicked in the balls and he still thinks the political game is about honor and keeping your word.

As a result of the failure of the Democratic leadership to protect the interests and values of its core constituents, the Bush camp knows that they can have their way anytime they want. Bush has shown, from his first act of reviving the gag rule on family planning and abortion, that you need to protect your own. The Democrats, led by Daschle, don't seem to have any compunction about throwing their voters to the wolves.

For that reason, the token Democratic protest that Daschle is forecasting doesn't presage some larger grand strategy to oppose right wing Supreme Court nominees. What it shows Bush is that he can nominate David Duke for the Supreme Court, if that's what he wants, and the Democrats will wring there hands and -- in the end -- lose once again.

David Duke sitting between Antonin Scalia and Clarence Thomas, now that would make for quite a photograph. Get your cameras ready!