Friday, February 10, 2017

Marco Rubio Calls for Civility

While gnashing their teeth over the silencing of Elizabeth Warren on the Senate floor, people are ignoring a speech that Sen. Marco Rubio made shortly thereafter.

Writing in the Washington Post, Chris Cillizza applauded Rubio’s  call for basic civility and deliberative debate. Looking at it from a different angle Conor Friedersdorf argued in the Atlantic that it was the opening salvo in Rubio’s 2020 presidential campaign.

If so, Rubio has a point. Truth be told, the Republican presidential nominating process was not an exemplary instance of public decorum and political civility. It was quite the opposite. 

Cillizza and Friedersdorf extract some relevant passages from Rubio:

Turn on the news and watch these parliaments around the world where people throw chairs at each other, and punches, and ask yourself how does that make you feel about those countries?” Rubio said. “It doesn't give you a lot of confidence about those countries. Now I’m not arguing that we're anywhere near that here tonight, but we're flirting with it. We're flirting with it in this body and we are flirting with it in this country. We have become a society incapable of having debates anymore.

 I don't know of a civilization in the history of the world that's been able to solve its problems when half the people in a country absolutely hate the other half of the people in that country.

We are reaching a point in this republic where we are not going to be able to solve the simplest of issues because everyone is putting themselves in a corner where everyone hates everybody.

What's at stake here tonight … is not simply some rule but the ability of the most important nation on earth to debate in a productive and respectful way the pressing issues before it.

In this country, if you watch the big policy debates that are going on in America, no one ever stops to say, “I think you're wrong, I understand your point of view—I get it. You have some valid points, but let me tell you why I think my view is better.” I don't hear that anymore. Here’s what I hear, almost automatically, and let me be fair, from both sides of these debates. Immediately, immediately, as soon as you offer an idea, the other side jumps and says, “The reason why you say that is because you say you don't care about poor people, because you only care about rich people, because you're this, or you’re that or you’re the other.” And I'm just telling you guys, we are reaching a point in this republic where we're not going to be able to solve the simplest of issues because everyone is putting themselves in a corner where everyone hates everybody.

No one will doubt that Rubio is directing his criticism against Donald Trump. Call it payback, if you will. Most politicians do not use the Trump scorched earth approach to presidential primaries. They understand that it's best not to vilify a senator whose vote you might need. To be fair, some of us recall that Rubio himself was not entirely decorous during the Republican debates.

Republican senators are voting for the Trump administration cabinet members, but some of them have not held their fire when it came to attacking the new president. Payback, anyone?

Nothing requires Democrats to play the same game.  And yet, playing it they are… by obstructing anything they can obstruct, by harassing and trashing cabinet appointees and by promoting and supporting non-violent and even violent resistance. Now, progressives are invading the town halls of Republicans to shout them down.

Having declared themselves the sworn enemy of hatred, today’s Democrats have turned into a band of haters. Trump beat his political opponents soundly in the last election, but they still control the courts and a very goodly part of the federal bureaucracy. No one expected the 9th Circuit to do anything but rule against Trump, but the fact that the executive branch has been leaking like a sieve suggests that many of its employees do not feel loyal to the president or the nation.

How did we get to the point where the nation is divided by political party? True, some of the blame falls on Donald Trump, but he has only been in office for a few weeks and has only been in politics for some eighteen months.

We got to this point through the Age of Obama. If the nation and especially its political class is divided against itself, to the point where no one can respect the loyal opposition, the reason must be the cultural climate that was created by eight years of Barack Hussein Obama.

The Obama administration divided the nation by race and gender and ethnicity and sexual orientation. It diminished and demeaned the nation around the world, thus reducing national pride and also individual pride. The basis for civil debate is patriotism.

Obama atomized the nation and made white males the enemy. We cannot have a civil debate when the nation is at war with itself, when Jeremiah Wright’s vision of a race war has become everyday reality.

True enough, Donald Trump bears some responsibility. It comes with the office. And yet, ignoring the role that Obama played in producing this state of affairs bespeaks a political and cultural myopia.


Sam L. said...

The establishment lost, and want to make us pay. Obama said "I won" and disregarded the Republicans.

trigger warning said...

SS, I think you're shortsighted. The calumny on patriotism didn't start with Buraq Obama. It emerged in the larger culture with the Vietnam conflict. Not only public name-calling and vilification, but outright acts of domestic terror. And the courts became a joke. I suppose one needs be a certain age, but in my lifetime Judge Hoffman was a very famous guy.

Then, of course, we had Roe v. Wade, the most disastrous and divisive SCOTUS decision since Dred Scott. As a result of that, a new verb was born: "to bork".

I don't claim to disagree with the points you made, just the timing of when it started. And I'll bet that if I knew more history, I could dredge up equally discouraging events from the time of Lincoln.

As much as I respect Sen Rubio, his call for civility has never been heard in America, a nation where one sitting Congressman nearly caned a colleague to death on the House floor in the mid-1800s, and a sitting Vice President shot a rival to death over defamatory campaign comments.

Yes, the world would be a better place if it was populated with nicer, more civil people. But I don't see that happening.

My advice for Republicans and Trump supporters... when attending political events, carry a telescoping baton (at minimum). Be ready with a warm smile and good debate points, but prepare for the worst.

Stuart Schneiderman said...

Since I wrote a book about how it started during the Vietnam War period, I don't feel all that shortsighted.

trigger warning said...

Sorry. I misunderstood "We got to this point through the Age of Obama..."

Stuart Schneiderman said...

I should have said... in the short term... since the book was about the intermediate term... and was written 20 years ago.

Ignatius Acton Chesterton OCD said...

The heart of the issue is a deep, deep divide in the electorate about what America is and should be. On the political wings, there is hardly any room for agreement. This executive order on immigration is a perfect example. The assault on value and standards is on full display. The haters claiming to hate hate seem quite full of hate. Except they don't hate the alien invader, they hate their fellow citizens.

We have a political party which is fueling a gender war, while simultaneously claiming that gender isn't fixed, viz a viz the transgender lunacy. Sort that one out for me. It's a coalition of malcontents against white males.

The Democrat Party is the party of government. But what kind of government?

A wise mentor once told me "Organizational hell is when you have all the responsibility and none of the authority." The Ninth Circuit v. President Trump nonsense should be of grave comcern to all Americans. People prattle on about democracy, but what is it?

We live in a constitutionally-limited federal republic. The people elect the President and Congress. These two powers should receive deference, and where there is no conclusion, it should be a matter for the states, counties and municipalities to figure out what they want. Life needn't be federalized.

Instead, what we have is the unelected branches of government securing ever-more power. Unelected judges and unelected bureaucrats/civil servants are not checked by anybody. TW mentions Roe v. Wade, which has been a disastrous precedent in that it short-circuited the persuasion process through elected representatives at the federal and state levels. The same is true for the judicial fiats about homosexual "marriage." And then there is Chief Justice Roberts rewriting statutes to create "taxes" like rabbits out of a hat. It's madness.

The judicial reasoning and oral questioning of the Ninth Circuit judges is appalling. It has nothing whatsoever to do with the interpretation of law. It is about using moral judgment and unwarranted authority to circumvent laws passed by elected representatives and enforcement methods chosen by the president.

This stay on the president's executive order is patenetly ludicrous. The judiciary and regulatory branches of the federal government are simply out of control. This deference to high priests in robes and faceless bureaucrats has to be curtailed if our government is to operate as a reflection of the people's desires. Issuing conceited rulings and a labyrinth of rules is no way to run the country. Our elected officials deserve the authority they've been entrusted with by the people.

And yes, Obama brought us to this point. I remember the reaction to his actions was deferential, even as he used his State of the Union address to openly scold the Supreme Court about the Citizens United ruling. Meanwhile Trump faces open hostility from the bench, the bureaucracy, and the Soros-funded mob of malcontents.

Good grief. How do we gain civility when we can't agree on who is to be a citizen, and what value citizenship has?

Ignatius Acton Chesterton OCD said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Ignatius Acton Chesterton OCD said...

Civility is required of both sides if anything is to get done. Yet the way the Left has grabbed unelected power resembles a stealthy guerrilla insurgency more than polite exchange of legislative discourse about what America should, must, ought be.

The president has the power of enforcement, and the Congress has the power of the purse. The judiciary has the power of interpretation. But the judiciary's Constitutional power is limited to interpreting words as outlined in the Constitution against laws passed by a Congress and signed by the President. That is constrained power, as it should be.

This is why the judiciary, as outlined in Article III, was thought to be the weakest branch and the least cause of concern for tyranny or corruption. The Framers believed that interpretation wasn't about making law. In fact, even judicial review is comparing a law passed by Congress and signed by the President to what the Constitution actually says.

But when judicial authority extends or drifts beyond Constitutional limits, the courts are engaging in a creative writing exercise with great public consequence. They are not interpreting laws -- they are WRITING law. They're making it up to suit their own values, morals and prerogatives. The will of the people be damned.

This must be stopped.

So how can one be civil when there is so little civility around? How can one be civil in the face of extralegal usurpations of power by unelected government officials? If the Constitution is just white man mythology, what is being proposed in its place? How do we citizens have a voice in these new judicial and regulatory standards? The answer is simple: we don't. We've replaced a British king with an oligarchy whose qualifications are defined by what law school they attended.

How has this happened? I asset there is a radical political will -- established amidst Progressive activism around 1900 and strengthened by postwar intellectual fads -- that has simply found the path of least resistance and gained unchecked power within our Constitutional system. Welcome to the new tyranny of the brights, brought to you by the faculty and graduates of a Harvard or Yale Law Schools. They're better than you.

We'd better wake up, before we've lost our republic.

Anonymous said...

I like Trigger Warning's talk about telescoping batons. We're thinking the same. The liberals are all about shutting people up and shutting things down. They don't realize our side has been restrained in the face of their organized protesting and mayhem. They don't see what happens if the gloves come off. It'll be ugly. And we'll win everytime. Come to beat me up, and you'll get a beat down. Then they'll cry and scream, saying Hitler's stormtroopers are out. Liberals never take ownership of anything.

Ares Olympus said...

Amazing how easily President Obama is the source of all our woes.

But what we really learn is opposition works. The Republicans played obstruction at every turn, and they regained the House in 2010, and regained the Senate in 2014, leaving the democrats with an impotent president, and the democrats with 1000 fewer seats in office from state to federal.

Who needs partisan cooperation when you can just outlast your rivals. To be fair, the Democrats did gain a few House and Senate Seats in 2016, but they're largely irrelevant at this point. And if they try to filibuster Scalia's seat to keep it open (just as the Republican promised to do for 4 years under Hillary), the Senate will go nuclear, and disable the filibuster, and its game over.

If only the Democrats were the the problem, but I just don't think King Bannon has set his sights merely on the Democrats failure. He sees the whole chess board being cleared. This is civil war, and the republicans just don't know it yet, if only Trump could need less babysitting.
“I’m a Leninist,” Bannon proudly proclaimed. Shocked, I asked him what he meant. “Lenin,” he answered, “wanted to destroy the state, and that’s my goal too. I want to bring everything crashing down, and destroy all of today’s establishment.” Bannon was employing Lenin’s strategy for Tea Party populist goals. He included in that group the Republican and Democratic Parties, as well as the traditional conservative press.

I'm still thinking the Republicans are more powerful than Trump and crew, but Trump is the one who can declare wars, and apparently sign EOs so fast that there will not be enough courts in the land to declare them all unconstitutional.

It sort of reminds me of one theoretical the USSR's response to Reagan's "Star Wars" defense shield. No shield is 100%, and so you only need a few percent of the nukes to get through to make a point, and its cheaper to throw up 10,000 dud ICBMs among the real things and overwhelm any defense.

So maybe that's Trump's EO approach and he doesn't care if 99% are stopped by the courts, as long as they keep busy?

So this chaos approach seems to be Trump and Bannon's strength, and if we could just trust the country could survive this, we could then trust the democrats to just get out of the way, and let Trump and the Republicans implode on their own hubris.

Ignatius Acton Chesterton OCD said...

Ares Olympus, the ambassador for civility, bearing so-called "facts"...

Ares railed ad infinitem about George W. Bush as the source of all our woes and wars.

The Democrats' political woes have everything to do with Republican obstructionism, but nothing to do with Obama's ideas or politics.

And so on.

Partisan cooperation is a fiction. Politics is war. Bannon knows this. Obama the Chicago Thug played his politics, and what's fair is fair.

As for the nuclear option, McConnell should pull it now. Harry Reid and Obama used it to pack the D.C. circuit. Trump should use it to pack the Supreme Court with young, conservative judges.

You seem quite fascinated by Bannon and concerned about his influence. Since you didn't care about Valerie Jarrett's influence, I don't care about your worries about Bannon (and Karl Rove). If Brannon's going to be a Leninist, I'm happy he's using it for a productive purpose.

As for your concern about EOs, I don't remember similar concern about Obama and his EOs, SCOTUS smackdowns on his ideas of executive authority, all the federal regulations that made every breathing human a climate change agent, etc.

Glad to hear you're an expert on Soviet nuclear strategy. Too bad the Soviets are gone, though St. Mikhail Gorbachev remains a committed communist, just like his Western admirers. Too bad SDI worked in helping to bankrupt the phony Soviet economy.

I don't remember you caring about the courts as a barrier to Obama's executive authority. Where Article III is silent, and Trump is exercising lawful power as outlined in Article II, I say game on. The federal courts are way out of scope and out of their depth. I'd even go so far as having Trump go Jacksonian and tell Justice Roberts to go enforce an out-of-scope SCOTUS order that might arise. I'd even use such a decision as leverage to turn the court away from its sprawling interpretation of the 14th Amendment. More Scalias, by all means. It's the best way to check Democrat power by unelected means.

Bring on the chaos. Maybe the country won't survive, but if we can't agree on the most basic elements of what America is, then it's likely we don't have a country.

Ignatius Acton Chesterton OCD said...

As for the chaos and national survival, I have an idea...

Thought experiment: Let's allow California secede.

Let's have an independent California be the test lab for the practical impact of mainstream Democrat nutty ideas that cannot survive without subsidy.

Let's allow it to be a Democrat Party theme park attraction, an Promised Land for the American Leftist elite.

Let the Silicon Valley globalist oligarchs and NYC expats fund it all. After all, they're the "rich" the Democrats claim as the funding source to solve all our problems.

Yes, let's get on with it. Let California secede, with the provision that no bailout money go to the nascent country. And then cut off their water to encourage desalinization plants they should have anyway, and cut off oil to encourage investment in their rich reserves for offshore drilling. Then perhaps Governor Moonbeam will make California our Biosphere 3, where they can climate change in whatever direction all they want. And the Californian sophisticates can abort their way into irrelevance and maintain zero population while inviting refugees and immigrants the world over to keep their economy afloat. After all, it's been great for Germany, right?

Yes, I am for the California Republic!

Viva la California!

trigger warning said...

I, too, support CA secession. It can't come too soon. The Canadians have the Loonie. Maybe the Californians (or the Aztlanians) will mint Selfies.

Anonymous said...

Like both Ignatius and trigger warning comments and agree. It would be interesting to see CA go its own way.

Ignatius Acton Chesterton OCD said...

TW: California has the looney. Most of them.