Thursday, October 13, 2005

McClellan Redefines Senate's Role

Here's White House Press Secretary Scott "The Lyin' King" McClellan at a recent press briefing showing what the Bush administration thinks of the advise-and-consent function of the United States Senate. The following exchange took place when McClellan was questioned on the Senate Judiciary's docile conduct during the John Roberts Jr. confirmation hearings:
Question: The observation is I've heard you say several times that the Judiciary Committee has acted in a civil and dignified way. Did you expect otherwise? Isn't that pretty condescending? And also, who makes up the list of reporters that the President can call on, or is allowed to?

McClellan: I think it's what the American people expect. I mean, we have seen at times where --

Question: Why do you keep saying it?

McClellan: -- where things -- well, because, I think we all recognize here in Washington sometimes things tend to get down into the bitter, partisan debates. And the Supreme Court is our highest court in the land. The President has an obligation to nominate someone for the bench when a vacancy occurs, and it's the role of the Senate to move forward on confirming that nomination.

Question: It's a free country where people can express themselves.

McClellan: And the American people -- and there -- that's absolutely right. But there's no reason why we cannot move forward in a civil and dignified way as we conduct the confirmation hearings. And the Senate, I think, has largely done that --

Question: What hasn't moved forward in --

McClellan: -- they have largely done that on Judge Roberts, and we hope they will do that going forward. There are a lot of media reports talking about how there's going to be a very contentious hearing for the next nominee. We haven't even -- the President hasn't even made a decision on who will be his nominee for the vacancy on the Supreme Court. And so that's why. I think I'm speaking for a lot of Americans who want to see a civil and dignified process going forward.

Question:-- be contentious and civil and dignified in a democracy --

McClellan: And I can also express my -- I can also express the President's appreciation to the Senate for moving forward in a timely manner and moving forward in a civil and dignified way. We commend this --

Question: It's condescending.

McClellan: No. It's complimenting them on the process.
If you admire pure hubris, McClellan and this White house have got to be in your hall of fame. Despite working in an utterly failed presidency, McClellan has the arrogance to suggest that the Senate should abandon the critical advise-and-consent process and, as he put it, "...move forward on confirming that nomination."

Aside from McClellan ignoring the function of the Senate as the body that scrutinizes a president's nominees as part of our checks and balances process – versus the rubber stamp he's obviously looking for – how much easier could the kid-glove treatment Roberts received have been?