Family Research Council

November 21, 2013 - Thursday

Dems Nuke Rules, Say Bomb Voyage to Bipartisanship

Until yesterday, the biggest nuclear debate was over Iran. That all changed last night, when Senator Harry Reid (D-Nev.) put his finger on a nuclear option of his own -- this time over judicial confirmations and administration appointments. Like most liberals, Sen. Reid is still seething that Republicans shot down three radical nominees to the D.C. Circuit Court using one of the only tools at the minority's disposal: the filibuster.

Today, Democrats used a parliamentary trick to change the Senate rules and strip the minority of the little power they had. In doing so, they blew up a 225-year-old process and cleared the way for a simple majority to rubber stamp the President's outrageous nominees. Instead of requiring 60 votes to end debate on a nomination, liberals lowered the threshold to 51 -- virtually guaranteeing the majority party a blank check to confirm anyone they want, regardless of how extreme or unqualified. In the short term, it will help consolidate more power for Democrats, silence conservatives, and end what little negotiating the Senate does.

They call it the "nuclear option," and rightly so, since it has the potential to explode in Sen. Reid's camp. If Democrats lose their majority in 2014, the President's party would suddenly be on the wrong side of the same rules they manipulated. What goes around, comes around. Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa), the ranking Republican on the Judiciary Committee, all but dared Reid to go through with it. "If Democrats are bent on changing the rules, go ahead. There are a lot more Scalias and Thomases out there we'd love to put on the bench."

Of course, Senator Reid is only in favor of rewriting the rules when it suits his purposes. Apparently, the Majority Leader lives by the same creed as the President: if you don't like the law, break it. When his party was in the minority, you can bet he wasn't fighting to give the Republicans more control. In fact, Reid is on record calling the same idea, "un-American!" Why the urgency to change the rules? Now that Democrats have forced all sorts of radical policies on Americans, they need a way to protect them. And stacking the courts with Obama loyalists is the most logical way to accomplish that.

For now, says Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), this is more about changing the conversation away from ObamaCare than anything else. "...I would probably be running for the exit, too, if I had supported this law." And, like ObamaCare, this debate over judges is just another example of the Left's dishonesty. "The majority leader promised... over and over again that he wouldn't break the rules of the Senate in order to change them. [As recently as] July 14, on 'Meet the Press,' [Sen. Reid] said, 'We're not touching judges.' Then there are the double standards. When Democrats were in the minority, they argued strenuously for the very thing they now say we will have to do without -- namely, the right to extend debate on lifetime appointments. In other words, they believe that one set of rules should apply to them and another set to everybody else. He may just as well have said, 'If you like the rules of the Senate, you can keep them.'"

Believe it or not, Senate Democrats have a surprising opponent in the debate: pro-abortion groups. It's not every day that the President's party finds itself on the wrong side of the Planned Parenthoods of the world, but on this issue, pro-abortion groups seem especially sensitive to the fallout if Senate Republicans won back control in the next election. As the Wall Street Journal warns, "If they change the rules to pack the D.C. Circuit, Democrats should understand they are also setting that standard for future Supreme Court nominees opposed to Roe v. Wade." That's why abortion groups worked so frantically behind the scenes in 2005, the last time this issue surfaced.

Back then, Planned Parenthood said that they oppose any attempt to "silence minority voices." It was an ironic statement for an organization in the business of silencing voices -- permanently. Now, eight years later, the abortion dilemma only complicates matters for Reid -- who may have managed to change the subject, but not his party's theme: lawlessness.

Liberals Try to Uproot Rosebush

Until recently, the world of Christian counseling was anything but controversial. That all changed after cases like Julea Ward's, when religious freedom was put on a collision course with homosexual activists. Now, the field has been invaded by liberal extremists, who try to discredit anyone who uses faith as a tool to free people from same-sex attractions and homosexual behavior. Their latest target? Former Focus on the Family employee Mike Rosebush, now a research analyst for the Air Force Academy's Center of Character and Leadership Development.

For the last four years, Mike has been a positive fixture on the campus, working in the ethics program that guides young cadets. Today, he's under attack -- the subject of a nationwide smear campaign to remove him from the Academy and marginalize anyone with faith-based views on sexuality. Citing a paper he wrote in 2009, "Sanctification Coaching: Sexual Purity and Peace for Christian Men with Same-sex Attractions," the Left has ignited a firestorm.

And while Mike "does not and will not counsel cadets," homosexual activists are holding up his mainstream views as an example of "intolerance" that should no longer be condoned by the academy. "The repeal of 'Don't Ask, Don't Tell' sent a message that the United States Military will no longer be a home for anti-gay bigotry and discrimination," said the head of one radical pro-homosexual group. "Hiring a counselor like Rosebush sends a message that perhaps the Air Force Academy isn't serious about creating an environment where all cadets are treated equally."

Like fired Fox Sports sportscaster Craig James or suspended college administrator Dr. Angela McCaskill, we're starting to see a horrifying pattern in workplaces across the country, where conservative views are not only marginalized -- but grounds for termination. In all three cases, the Christians in question never said a word about their opinions on the job. In James's case, he was fired for marriage comments he made more than a year prior!

Apparently, holding views -- even if you don't voice them -- is enough to ruin your career. Think about it for a minute. This is a liberal movement that's willing to destroy people's livelihoods simply for having the values the rest of the world has shared since the dawn of time. And yet homosexual activists are the ones screaming for workplace protections? They demand that Congress pass the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA) to stop the harassment they tell us they've experienced for years on the job. Now, they're doing what they claim has been done to them -- to Christians!

Obviously, if anyone needs an ENDA, it's conservatives -- not those who, for the last five years, have had their way under President Obama. Americans, including several in Congress, need to wake up to the realities of the Left's agenda. There are consequences to laws like ENDA, and they include losing everything from liberty to livelihood.

Tony Perkins' Washington Update is written with the aid of FRC senior writers.

More Washington Updates »