Wednesday, June 08, 2005

brownback's hypocritical hold

The Washington Post on Tuesday reported that Sam Brownback, the Senator from Creationopolis, Kansas, has placed a hold on the nomination of Julie Finley, Bush's pick to be ambassador to the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe. Finley, a Republican fundraiser, seems reasonably qualified for the job, representing the US in an organization which deals with European security and political issues like arms control treaties and peacekeeping in Chechnya.

However, Finley is an apostate on a key point of current GOP dogma. She is pro-choice on abortion, and Brownback doesn't like that. Finley's views on abortion have nothing to do with the job she's been nominated for, but Brownback, angling for the 2008 GOP presidential nomination, apparently thinks that somebody with such views can't be approved lightly.

Brownback and most of the other Republican Senators have insisted that Presidential nominees like John Bolton and Priscilla Owens deserve an up-or-down vote. The GOP has criticized the Democrats for their filibuster against ten of the President's 200+ judicial nominees, but this unilateral Brownbackian motion reminds me of how often the Republicans placed holds on Clinton's judicial nominees, dozens of whom never got votes in committee, let alone on the Senate floor. If Republicans want to get rid of filibusters, maybe they should get rid of holds as well, which are far more undemocratic. It takes 40 votes to maintain a filibuster, but it only takes one to keep a hold in place.

Brownback's far-right Bible-thumping Christian fundamentalist credentials are already well established. Holding a nomination like Finley's for no good reason remotely related to her qualifications for the job is just electoral grandstanding and pandering to the Christian right.

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