February 24th, 2009

Apollo 4 on column of fire

Surprising ignorance

I was a little surprised today that Thom Hartmann thought that the president had a constitutional requirement to give an annual State of the Union speech. Victoria Jones did not correct him, though I don’t know if this was out of ignorance. The issue arose because the president’s speech tonight is not being billed as a SotU address. Ron Kuby, on the other hand, did research and found what I already knew, which is that the president is required only to make an occasional report of some kind to Congress.

That’s slightly arcane knowledge, but Hartmann is a guy who churns out books on divers topics the way creameries churn out butter, and who regularly quotes from the Federalist, Toqueville, etc. Maybe he should restrain himself from writing and quoting and instead force himself to read through the boring prose of the US Constitution, so that he can provide a more informed radio broadcast. :)
Apollo 4 on column of fire

Oh, yes, some Hartmann unversedness

Earlier I neglected to mention that Thom Hartmann, who has long been screaming for Harry Reid to force the Republicans to do a ‘real’ filibuster, just discovered that, according to Senate rules, in a ‘real’ filibuster you don’t have to stand around reciting Shakespeare. Therefore, Hartmann concludes, he has been unfair to Harry Reid. So far, alright, normally that would be an understandable error, but how this scholar of Madison, Hamilton, Jefferson, and Tocqueville – not to mention the NFL/PBA coverup of the assassination of JFK by Johnny Unitas and Earl Anthony – could make such an error is a bit mysterious.

It gets much better, though. See, what Hartmann thinks Harry Reid should do instead is ‘the nuclear option’. But, you say to yourself, ‘the nuclear option’ referred to Dick Cheney showing the same respect for rules as Roland Freisler did for lawbooks, and your head begins to spin in confusion as to what Hartmann expects of Harry Reid and the Senate rules. Making matters worse, he justifies this rule-breaking by saying that need for a 60-40 vote is ‘undemocratic’ in some way – a case one could make, but not too effectively if one is in favor of rule-breaking.

I do not remember if Hartmann was one of the many who called for Reid to exercise ‘the nuclear option’ between 2007 and 2008. One presumes that this would have involved the kidnapping of Dick Cheney followed by a Patty Hearst-like transformation of the vice-‘presidential’ captive.