We enjoy personal validation, and a comforting perspective, by looking at others’ problems. And of course the travails of the rich and powerful especially satisfy many who think that their own lives are squalid, or at least without glamour, and who have the sin of envy in spades (i.e., most of us).
The Senate struggle over George W. Bush’s stalled judicial nominations has very little to do with lower-court appointments and almost everything to do with the Supreme Court. As the debate rages on, Republican conservatives, particularly their leader, Sen. Bill Frist of Tennessee, should pay a little more attention to history and to what undoubtedly will be in store for them in the future.
Privately, some of his Republican colleagues are pressing House Speaker Dennis Hastert to rescind the changes to the ethics rules that the leadership rammed through in January. GOP critics of the changes, part of a larger plan to protect House Republican Tom DeLay, say the changes are making the party look bad. And for good reason: The changes were bad.
In 2002 just after then-Senate Majority Leader Trent Lott announced that he would step down amid a furor over his seemingly pro-segregation comments at a birthday party for Sen. Strom Thurmond, Lott got a call from another Republican powerbroker who offered his sympathies. House Majority Leader Tom DeLay, Lott recalls, was on the line telling his Senate colleague he thought Lott had been treated unfairly and that he felt terrible. Lott interrupted. “I said, ‘Tom, I really appreciate it. But let me tell you, my friend – be careful, because you are next.’ ”