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April 04, 2005

Demagogues

About an hour ago, Sen. John Cornyn gave a speech that said:

"I don't know if there is a cause-and-effect connection but we have seen some recent episodes of courthouse violence in this country. Certainly nothing new, but we seem to have run through a spate of courthouse violence recently that's been on the news and I wonder whether there may be some connection between the perception in some quarters on some occasions where judges are making political decisions yet are unaccountable to the public, that it builds up and builds up and builds up to the point where some people engage in - engage in violence." [Senate Floor, 4/4/05]

Considering the circumstances of the shootings, no, probably not. But if the situation were different, we know who to blame for it, right? I'll give you a hint: It's not the judges, who do their jobs as arbiters unaccountable to the voters and beholden solely to the constitution. It's the politicians, who have forgotten their roles as deliberators and assumed the guise of demagogues. Gutter-dwellers like Cornyn and DeLay, who threaten judges and invite retribution against them. "Leaders" like George W. Bush, who couldn't be bothered to reject the congressional majority leader's statement, and Dick Cheney, who could offer only a yawning, halfhearted dismissal. Institutions like the Republican party, which couldn't rouse itself from its moral slumber and repudiate a statement that was nothing less than an invitation to assault a foundational portion of our republic.

The whole thing stinks of nothing so much as McCarthyism, with demagogues assaulting America's foundational values while allied opportunists stand by and watch, not necessarily in agreement with the statements but aware of the political benefits they confer. Republicans, who've long advocated strict adherence to the constitution, sit meekly by while some of their numbers attempt to destroy the judicial independence the Founders worked so hard to grant. As a party, they should be ashamed. As individuals, they should be clamoring to expel the offenders. What Tom Delay and his friends are advocating is, in the simplest and clearest terms, unAmerican. And anyone who stands by while they do it is betraying their country as well.

Update: Oliver suggests you contact the "good" Senator. So do I:

Contact Senator Cornyn:
Tel: 202-224-2934
Fax: 202-228-2856
E-mail

April 4, 2005 in Republicans | Permalink

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» GOP Senator: Anti-Judge Violence Justified from Oliver Willis

John Cornyn, R-TX, on the senate floor

I don’t know if there is a cause-and-effect connection but we have see [Read More]

Tracked on Apr 4, 2005 7:28:25 PM

» GOP Senator: Anti-Judge Violence Justified from Oliver Willis

John Cornyn, R-TX, on the senate floor

I don’t know if there is a cause-and-effect connection but we have see [Read More]

Tracked on Apr 4, 2005 7:29:43 PM

» Senator John Cornyn (R-TX) speaks from aTypical Joe: A gay New Yorker living in the rural south.
John at AMERICAblog has the transcript: "I don't know if there is a cause-and-effect connection but we have seen some recent episodes of courthouse violence in this country. Certainly nothing new, but we seem to have run through a spate... [Read More]

Tracked on Apr 4, 2005 8:12:57 PM

» It Must Be In The Water from CommonSenseDesk
It appears that my view that the fundamentalists are engaged in a conscious effort to undermine the core institutions of our republic, the courts and the media being prominent among them is accurate. [Read More]

Tracked on Apr 4, 2005 9:01:36 PM

» Oh what tangled webs they weave... from Upper Left
...and what interesting paths we follow when nailing down the anti-American activities of the radical destructionists at the helm of the Republican Party. Take the Cornyn corrolary to the DeLay insanity. Start with Oliver, commenting on the Cornyn... [Read More]

Tracked on Apr 5, 2005 1:37:22 AM

» Nice Judiciary. It'd Be A Shame If Anything Happened To It. from Politics and War
Apparently, Sen. John Cornyn (R-TX) decided to let us know how he really feels about America's judicial branch:"I don't know if there is a cause-and-effect connection but we have seen some recent episodes of courthouse violence in this country. Certain... [Read More]

Tracked on Apr 5, 2005 6:38:49 AM

Comments

This has got to be the first time I've had a post get four trackbacks and no comments. Weird.

Posted by: Ezra | Apr 4, 2005 10:20:02 PM

The next line of Senator Cornyn's speech was
"Certainly without any justification but a concern that I have that I wanted to share."

I have to disagree with you. Senator Cornyn's statement was ill considered at best but was by no means an incitement to violence. He did explicitly note that these attacks lacked any justification. Noting the possibility that these attacks were motivated by the decisions of the judges is far from condoning them, or inviting further violence towards the judiciary.

There is, however, no excuse for Representative DeLay comment

Posted by: MDN | Apr 4, 2005 11:16:26 PM

Cornyn's remark is one eyelash away from a racketeer's veiled threat: "Gosh, I'd hate to see anything bad happen to you, and heaven knows I certainly wouldn't condone it if anything bad happened to you; but I have to admit, if anything bad happened to you, it sure would be your fault."

Taken in context with DeLay's remarks, the GOP's accelarating rhetoric about putting leashes on the judiciary, and the entirely unveiled calls for violence coming from the wingnut Usual Suspects, I don't see how you can interpret what Cornyn said as anything less than a threat.

Posted by: CaseyL | Apr 5, 2005 1:30:05 AM

Jeebus. Now imagine what Glenn Reynolds would be saying if an obscure leftist college professor--let alone a goddamned member of Congress-were to say such a thing...

Posted by: Scott Lemieux | Apr 5, 2005 2:44:04 AM

Better to get trackbacks on something like this, Ezra. I wrote about it last night once the transcript posted by John at AmericaBlog was verified.

Casey's right: it's right in the vein of "nice judiciary you got here... shame if.. umm.. something happened to it."

MDN: I think that last sentence was Cornyn's brain saying "Wait a minute... this is going to sound bad. Better clean up a little."

Posted by: norbizness | Apr 5, 2005 10:39:49 AM

MDN, I agree with norbizness, and not just because I like puppies. Cornyn may have been covering his butt a little, but nevertheless, the whole thing reeks of being an emergency one creates in order to act in it. It's critically irresponsible.

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Posted by: peter.w | Sep 15, 2007 8:42:49 AM

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