Thursday, May 19, 2005
About the F-Word
Senator Everett Dirksen
THE RIGHT THING. I've stayed away and stayed away from this subject, well aware that the mere mention of the word is enough to propel otherwise hyperactive minds into a coma. Even Ann Coulter was moved, after typing the ten most soporific letters in the American political lexicon, to implement the writer's "nuclear option" of an all-caps plea: "DON'T STOP READING! I AM NOT GOING TO DISCUSS THE HISTORY OF THE F****U**ER!"
But the U.S. Senate is staggering ever closer to a showdown between spineless Republicans and ruthless Democrats on the question of whether Senate rules should allow the use of f****u**ers in the 'advise and consent' process for judicial nominees. Because of this, InstaPunk has felt the call of his political conscience: he must, somehow, weigh in on a matter that is as crucial as it is potentially fatal to reader interest.
So here are my thoughts. WAKE UP! (Not trying to be rude, just to postpone the inevitable...) The Republicans act as if what they do now will affect what Democrats do when they regain the White House and/or control of the Congress. It won't. As soon as the Democrats regain the presidency and congressional control, they will do everything they can think of, bar nothing, to humiliate, castrate, and otherwise destroy the Republican minority, regardless of any temporizing the Republicans engage in now. Why? Because while the congressional Republicans were majoring in agriculture and religion at cow colleges in the Red states, the congressional Democrats were studying "The Prince" at Yale and Harvard. Democrats know about the uses of power even if they have no ideas at all about how to serve their constituents. Does this mean that Republicans must exercise the so-called "Nuclear Option"? No.
There's no need whatever to overturn 214 years of Senate tradition. If Senator Bill Frist had a backbone, a brain, and a single ounce of personality in addition to his hundredweight of Christian virtue, he could defeat the Democrats on this tedious rules debate with just three simple measures.
First, he could remind the American people and the press that the f****u**er may be a longstanding American tradition, but it has not always been used for the best possible purposes. In fact, it was a Republican senator who played the key role in defeating the most important and nefarious f****u**er in our history (N.B., Senator Robert Byrd, K.K.K. emeritus). InstaPunk readers can get the whole story here, and it is worth reading all of it, but in this entry the denouement will suffice:
The gallery was packed on June 10, 1964, as all one hundred senators were present for the climactic moment of the longest f****u**er in Senate history. Late in the morning Everett Dirksen rose from his seat to address the Senate. In poor health, drained from working fourteen-, fifteen-, and sixteen-hour days, his words came quietly. "There are many reasons why cloture should be invoked and a good civil rights measure enacted. It is said that on the night he died, Victor Hugo wrote in his diary substantially this sentiment, 'Stronger than all the armies is an idea whose time has come.' The time has come for equality of opportunity in sharing of government, in education, and in employment. It must not be stayed or denied." After Dirksen spoke for fifteen minutes the motion for a roll call vote for cloture was heard. As each name was read, members of the press and spectators in the gallery kept tally. At 11:15 a.m., Senator John Williams of Delaware replied "aye" to the question. It was the sixty-seventh vote; cloture had passed, opening the way for the Civil Rights bill to be passed. After successfully defeating the eighty-three-day f****u**er, Dirksen, when asked how he had become a crusader in this cause, replied, "I am involved in mankind, and whatever the skin, we are all included in mankind."
It's important to note, too, that Senator Dirksen defeated a f****u**er back in the days when a f****u**er was a genuine test of resolve, fortitude and physical stamina. Those who opposed the Civil Rights Act had to be prepared to speak for hours, even days, to forestall cloture, and they kept the debate open by reading aloud from the Congressional Record, the Bible, the telephone book, and anything else made of words that went on practically forever.
That's the second measure Frist could take: Restore the requirement that f****u**ers be real, that if the Slime Party has enough votes to keep the debate going, then they must actually keep the debate going, for hours, days, weeks, months... It's really not supposed to be easy for the minority to prevail, even in a republic. They have to earn it by working harder, talking longer, and staying awake on the floor of the U.S. Senate(!). The current situation, in which the mere threat of a f****u**er forestalls a cloture vote (i.e., a vote to end debate and vote on the nominee), is ridiculous. It's like watching a heavyweight title fight in which a boxer can play a card labeled "Knockout Punch" without actually having to deliver the blow or a tennis match in which a player throws down an "Ace" card whenever he gets behind on his serve. It's time to stop the nonsense. That's the American Way.
But, of course, we live in an age of short attention spans. Watching Robert Byrd read the Book of Leviticus out loud for a day and a half isn't something the Me Generation has much stomach for. That's why Senator Frist can achieve checkmate by the simple expedient of introducing one new rule rather than repealing one very old rule. Here's the wording of the new rule:
All senators who speak on the floor of the U.S. Senate Chamber will do so while walking on a motorized treadmill operating at not less than three miles per hour.
The measure will pass by a simple majority. The average age of Democrat senators is 61. The average age of Republican senators is 55. If polls are taken, a majority of sporting Americans will be anxious to watch the treadmill performance of Democrat titans like Robert Byrd, Teddy Kennedy, John Kerry, Joe Biden, and Hillary Clinton. It's even possible that the conduct of business in the Senate will become a media attraction. C-Span's ratings could skyrocket. But one thing is for sure. F****u**ers are not going to last as long as they used to, and We the People will learn very speedily who is as tough as his rhetoric and who is as weak as his character.
Speaking of weak characters, I can't wait to see Harry Reid in action. On his treadmill. It seems fitting somehow.
Yeah, I know it's a pipedream. As I said, Frist would need a backbone, a brain, and a single ounce of personality. Oh well. At least I kept you out of a coma, didn't I?