Thursday, May 22, 2008

Kaminsky continues to embarrass himself

I hardly know what to say about the unfettered nonsense that Ross Kaminsky is vomiting onto the Denver Post's Gang of Four blog this afternoon. Let's take it from the top, shall we?

Based on a few minutes of Congressional testimony by Doc Hastings (R-WA) that I saw this morning, it appears that the Democratic leadership in Congress is yet again violating old and fundamental rules of government and acting unconstitutionally in their shameless pursuit of passing legislation regardless of Republican views (and even when the majority of Republicans had supported something.)

So based on "a few minutes of Congressional testimony" Ross Kaminsky is spitting mad and accusing the Democratic leadership of unconstitutional and potentially criminal behavior? That seems like a highly imprudent and rash over-reaction and, in fact, it most certainly is a highly imprudent and rash over-reaction.

It's tough to parse what point Kaminsky is even trying to make in this opening flurry but his indignation is laughable. How dare the majority pass legislation without regard for the minority! Is he kidding? Majorities pass bills without minority support all the time - it's one of the prime benefits of being in the majority, you don't need any votes from the minority to pass your agenda.

Besides the fact that what Kaminsky is howling about is an everyday fact of legislating it's also ironic that any Republican would complain about such behavior after the mockery that Tom DeLay and his ilk made of the legislative process before being turned out by the voters in 2006.

The GOP leadership would routinely leave votes open for extended time periods. Alternatively they would ram through votes in such short time that legislators wouldn't have time to read the bill in question much less offer an amendment or cast an informed vote. There was also good old fashioned bribery happening right there on the floor of the House.

I'm not sure who Ross Kamisnky thinks he is kidding with his whining over the big mean Democrats in Congress. It's insulting to his readers intelligence that he even attempts to push this ridiculous meme.

And what about this "testimony?" Turns out it wasn't actually testimony at all. Kamisnky was whipped into a flurry based on the comments of one Republican Congressman speaking on the floor of the House. Testimony implies that the statements were given in a formal committee hearing and an oath was sworn by the testifier. None of those things are the case though as Kaminsky inadvertently lets slip later,

based on Hasting's words on the House floor this morning

Was Kamisnky purposefully misconstruing the nature of the statements he is relying on? Was it an honest mistake? It's difficult to say but it's hard to believe that Kaminsky doesn't know that there is a significant and material difference between "testimony" and what is said by a legislator on the House floor.

Now to the substantive issue (or what Kamisky attempts to pass of as a substantive issue) at hand.

In particular, it appears that the Farm Bill which Nancy Pelosi signed and sent to the President was missing an entire section on trade. (Title III of the law.) Then, apparently with full knowledge of the Democratic leadership, they put that bill...missing that important section...up for a veto override vote last night. The Constitution requires, and the Supreme Court has ruled, that in order for a bill to become law, the bill which the President signs must have been passed in identical form by both houses of Congress and sent to him in that same identical form. Although the missing section may have been an oversight, it is hard to imagine that someone in the Democratic leadership didn't know they sent the bill missing that section to the President, and it seems certain, based on Hasting's words on the House floor this morning, that they knew they were breaking the rules (or breaking the law) when they brought that incorrect bill back to the floor for a veto override vote.

Yes the bill sent to the President was missing Title III
, which is 34 pages long (mind you that entire bill is 628 pages long). Kaminsky takes the fact 5% of the pages were missing as evidence of a nefarious plot on behalf of the Democratic leadership to subvert the Constitution of the United States. Mind you he has absolutely no evidence for this accusation whatsoever. None. Nada. Zip.

The President and his staff apparently didn't notice the missing section as the President vetoed the bill without noting the absence of Title III and returned the bill to Congress. Using the "logic" that Kaminsky applies one could assert that it was the President and his staff who were the ones engaged in an elaborate scheme. Of course that's just as nonsensical as the garbage that Kaminsky is peddling.

Any rational person would look at the fact that 5% of the pages of a bill were left out and that this error was not noticed by House leadership or the President and his staff and conclude that this incident was a simple oversight. Not Ross Kaminsky though. Instead he launches a crusade against Democratic leadership accusing them of criminal conduct and of attacking the Constitution. All based on absolutely no evidence, just the inferences of a lone Congressman.

What an utter and absolute embarrassment this entire episode is.

To top it all off though we get this doozy from Kaminsky to close the column,

all GOP supporters of the Farm Bill should be voted out and replaced with true fiscal conservatives like Bob Schaffer.

Kaminsky apparently has absolutely no familiarity with Bob Schaffer and his legislative record when it comes to the Farm Bill and similar legislation. Bob Schaffer was the darling of the Colorado Farm Bureau and consistently voted to support the Farm Bill and over $160 billion in price supports; the very same price supports that Kaminsky is now decrying and holding Schaffer up as a paragon of virtue on such issues.

It's becoming increasingly clear that you absolutely cannot take a single word that Ross Kaminsky types on his blog at Politics West at face value. It is imperative for readers to question everything he writes.


Anonymous said...

I don't want to quibble with your fuzzy math, but 34 pages out of a 628 page bill is 5.4%, not .05%

Andrew Oh-Willeke said...

Five percent (which is the percentage which was missing) is written "5%" not ".05%", which in this case would be a third of a page, not thirty pages.

The notion that this was done with the full knowledge of leadership is, of course, absurd. Every once in a while, somebody screws up at the printer or copying machine.

This was acknowledged and the leadership decided to pass the whole bill all over again (without further debate of the already fully vetted bill) to make it right.

Steam Powered Opinions said...

duly noted! Shouldn't have been so rushed. Anyone want to be my editor?