A few minutes ago while enjoying some culinary shrapnel from Taco Bell, I caught a snippet of the nationally syndicated Ed Schultz radio show. If you haven't heard of Ed, you aren't alone. Ed, who obnoxiously refers to himself as "Big Eddie" every chance he gets, is trying to be something of a left-wing version of Rush Limbaugh. In other words, he's a dim-witted blowhard -- only he's our dim-witted blowhard.
A man claiming to be from San Francisco called in to the program and started reading the neo-con cult’s talking points, which he obviously ate like corn straight from Karl Rove's rectum. The conversation started with a discussion of upcoming military base closings (our caller simply would not accept the fact that the Bush administration would consider closing bases in states where Democrats are running weak incumbent senators in 2006, which proves he's lost all capacity to think for himself), but it inevitably turned to the Reverend Doctor Senator William Jesus H. Frist and his threats to go all nuclear on the filibuster if Democrats don't issue a rubber-stamp approval for the only 10 (out of 215) Bush buddies they've refused to confirm to the federal bench. Today, Senator Jesus turned down a compromise offer from Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid (which is one of the great Beavis and Butthead names of all time -- "heh heh, he said 'hairy reed'") that would have given the Bush babies 208 of their 215 appointees. Nope, said Senator Jesus, it's 215 or bust. Apparently, religious zealots don't like to compromise.
In any event, the caller shouted at Schultz, "Can you name one instance where Republicans filibustered judicial nominees from a Democrat? Can you?" The question was such a softball that you'd almost think it was planted.
Except Big Eddie, self-proclaimed champion of the working man and almighty king of the shameless self-promotion, was stumped. He started rambling on instead about how the caller didn't want black people to have any rights in our society, which is a particularly idiotic argument considering at least one of the embargoed nominees -- Janice Rogers Brown -- is black and since they weren't talking about that in the first place.
Way to go, Big Eddie. We're all so happy that you have such a firm grasp of the issues. Of course, we shouldn't be surprised. Schultz was a conservative until, well, right around the time he realized being one of nation's few liberal radio hosts would serve him better than trying to fight Sean Hannity, G. Gordon Liddy, Neal Boortz, Mike Gallagher, and Glenn Beck for recognition in their practically anonymous pool of neo-conservative bottom-of-the-barrel filth.
Well, Big Eddie, since you're not about to do any research on your own, let me help you out. I used the same tool that Justice Anthony Kennedy uses -- the Internet. You should try it sometime.
In 1968, Senate Republicans filibustered President Johnson's nomination of Supreme Court Justice Abe Fortas to replace the retiring Earl Warren as Chief Justice. Fortas had been on the big bench for only three years and was widely known as a personal friend of Johnson's, and that left the Republicans skeptical. They filibustered for several days, and Johnson withdrew the Fortas nomination upon being informed that Senate Republicans had no intention of ending the filibuster. It really happened. There's even archival video that proves it happened, even though it's from the left-wing media.
But you know, maybe that's not recent enough for Big Eddie. After all, Senator Jesus was still hatching plans to kill cats back in 1968 and was hardly worrying about filibusters. In March 2000, President Clinton nominated the Hon. Richard Paez, whom he'd appointed to the U.S. District Court in the Central District of California six years before, to a post on the Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals. Republicans, led by Sen. Bob Smith (R-N.H.), went bonkers and filibustered the nomination of the presumably progressive Paez. Among the senators taking part in this filibuster? Senator Jesus himself. Yes, Sen. Bill Frist was one of 14 Republicans who took part in a filibuster to block Clinton's nomination of Paez. They were unsuccessful, by the way. Paez now sits on the Ninth Circuit bench.
Hey Eddie, are you reading any of this? How the hell could you, the host of a radio show that deals with this topic every weekday, not be aware of this when I (and a lot of others who care about this stuff) have it practically at my fingertips? Do your job, you lazy sloth. We on the left don't need radio hosts on our side who are ignorant of facts. If we wanted that, we'd recruit Bill O'Reilly.
I admit, I'm overly sensitive to this because of something that just happened here in local radio. San Francisco's "progressive talk" outlet, which is owned and operated by the not-progressive-whatsoever Clear Channel Death Star, just relegated its morning program to crack-whore-and-donut-shop hours in favor of a talk show hosted by Jerry Springer. The exiled show, called "Morning Sedition" and hosted by comedian Marc Maron and New York radio veteran Mark Riley, is an Air America production that had been broadcast during morning drive on tape delay here in the Bay Area. It's a funny, witty, well-written show that, if nothing else, has hosts who know that Senator Jesus has taken part in judicial filibusters himself.
Schultz, who is not part of the Air America camp, airs live in the Bay Area from noon to 3. Al Franken's show, an Air America production, is broadcast here live from 9 to noon but rarely takes calls. The Bay Area radio scene would have been much better off had this station thrown the ignorant, self-aggrandizing Schultz (whose lame Midwestern gun-owning liberal shtick simply can't be getting solid ratings in the Bay Area) to the wolves, moved Franken to noon (where he wouldn't have to compete with KGO's Ronn Owens, the Bay Area ratings champion since right around the time Marconi invented the radio), piped in Springer from 9 to noon, and left the consistently entertaining "Morning Edition" alone in morning drive. I can't say for certain that "Morning Sedition" was getting solid ratings, considering you have to be about 50 miles offshore in order to get that station's signal clearly, but there's no way Springer's three hours of whining, droning, and (if we're lucky) inbred arguing and chair throwing is going to do any better.
None of this matters to me, because I podcast "Morning Sedition" (along with Air America's Franken, Randi Rhodes, and Mike Malloy) anyway. But it sure is a shame that Bay Area listeners now need to wake up at 3 a.m. to hear Maron and Riley while some bonehead who has no idea about Senator Jesus's history of hypocrisy gets to clog the airwaves with his "live from the heartland" garbage from noon to 3.