January 31, 2006

"It was the right battle at the right time, and the right cause."

Senator Kennedy defends his futile filibuster attempt.
Mr. Kennedy and Senator John Kerry, both of Massachusetts, argued for an effort at a filibuster during a Democratic caucus meeting last Wednesday, provoking a passionate debate. Many Democrats have grumbled privately since then that mounting a doomed filibuster would only expose senators from conservative states to political heat....

"There was a difference in terms of strategy," [Kennedy] said, "but not on the substantive issue, which is the overriding issue, Judge Alito."
Here's something Kennedy said while arguing for the filibuster:
"We have a responsibility to try to present this to the American people"...

"What's the next measure on the calendar? Asbestos? Isn't that interesting?" he continued. "Anything more important than spending time and permitting the American people to understand this issue? I don't believe so."
Yeah, the asbestos litigation problem is a big bore. Why rush to try solve a difficult problem that we've gotten away with ignoring for decades when we can pontificate about a lost cause? But the fact is there's no rush at all to get to the subject of asbestos, because, for the Democrats, it's just another matter for filibuster anyway.

16 comments:

bearbee said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
bearbee said...

Well, well, well ... after the hundreds of millions of dollars spent in asbestos litigation and after the economic toll on the many companies, large and small, driven into bankruptcy, contributing to the erosion of our manufacturing base, the Congress finally rouses itself to take a look at dubious litigation practices and fairness to the injured......well, well, well

SteveR said...

Had the situation been reversed, he would have been complaining about the asbestos issue being held up by 25 Republicans. As Ed Whelan points out, all they did was focus on the real cloture vote 72-25, instead of the confirmation vote (probably 57-43) which could preserve some future fillibuster "threat".

DaveG said...

I can't figure out what the point of the filibuster attempt was. Maybe Kerry/Kennedy felt that it appealed to their base (IOW: $$$s), but all it showed me was that Kerry can't even lead his own party, far less the entire country.

Kennedy simply looked unhinged.

Made-up word verification: tempertantrum.

Gerry said...

Would that actually be a filibuster? A filibuster is a procedural move to prevent the end of debate on an issue. What Reid is threatening is a procedural move to prevent the start of debate on a bill.

Similar, but different, no?

Ann Althouse said...

Gerry: I don't know how restrictive the word "filibuster" needs to be. The dictionary has a broad definition, actually. But you're right about what the article is saying Reid is doing, trying to prevent debate from beginning.

Duffy Nichols said...

Kennedy has a tin ear, a cauliflower ear, and a waterlogged ear. Bad combination.

PatCA said...

He reminds me of a lawyer I knew who would stand up and start bellowing about the Constitution, Bill of Rights, etc., whenever he saw his case falling apart. A client of his asked me once in great admiration, is he always like that? Only when he's losing, guy.

RogerA said...

Apropos an earlier thread, my take is that Kerry simply moved left to attract support he didnt have from the democratic far left--In so doing, however, he left much of his party hanging out--esp the red state democrats--

As I recall, Senator Kerry really didnt have a lot of his fellow democrats actively supporting his bid for President--Unlike Senator Clinton, who has labored in the fields of fundraising for fellow dems, thereby building up IOUs, Kerry isnt particularly admired or respected by his own party--I dont think this grandstanding move helped him very much among the democratic party leaders.

wildaboutharrie said...

I understand that senators from both parties say the bill is problematic because there are no provisions to keep people who have been exposed to asbestos but have had no medical problems from applying for damages. State governments have been addressing this issue. The senate has not.

Also, from what I understand, the bill puts an undue burden on small and medium companies, as opposed to big corporations, but I'm fuzzier on that objection.

XWL said...

Shouldn't the heading for this post be , 'It was the left battle at the left time, and the left cause'?

wildaboutharrie said...

OT, but why do comment threads sometimes get hung up here in comment limbo? Weird Blogger thing?

sonicfrog said...

Glad Kennedy finally got the memo on asbestos, as it was a bit of a red herring anyway. It's all about risk assessment. I offer some facts on asbestos at my blog.

EddieP said...

I lived under an asbestos roof on our house for 30 years, my siblings for the same time, my parents for 40 years. We all went to schools where the pipes were insulated with asbestos and windows and doors had lead in the paint, my time in the USMC was spent in barracks full of asbestos. In all my 70 years, I've never known nor heard of a single case of asbestos poisioning. The same with lead in paint and second hand cigarette smoke. I have a brother who has smoked two packs of unfiltered Camel cigarettes a day for 60 years. Not a cough yet, they are all scams foisted on a gullible public by trial lawyers such as John Edwards. Ted Kennedy -Humbug.

wildaboutharrie said...

Eddie, I'm guessing you're just being funny and are actually aware that those at risk for asbestosis are people who worked with asbestos (mining, construction) and their families (they brought the particles home with them on their clothes). It takes a while to get sick. There are about 1,000 asbestosis deaths a year these days.

Lead paint poisoning is an issue for babies and toddlers whose parents renovate their houses without taking precautions, but more so for children of poor families who live in buildings full of peely lead paint. The particles get on their toys and, if you know anything about babies and toddlers, you know that everything goes in their mouths. Lead poisoning can be devestating to brain development.

Just because there are abuses in litigation doesn't mean asbestosis and lead poisoning are made up.

In fact, as I said above, the objections to the asbestos bill are at least in part because there aren't enough protections against non-medical claims (hence, the fund will run out, no money for legitimate claims until we are made to foot the bill). Republicans and Democrats say there are problems (though I gather more Democrats oppose the bill as it stands than Republicans).

So actually, I don't understand Ann's comment that Democrats just want to defeat the bill frivilously.

Maybe someone can explain if I'm missing something here?

Good for your brother for beating the odds.

FLY said...

Ted's awesome.

Democrat's worst fear comes true.