March 2, 2005


Byrd compares Republicans to Hitler (March 2, 2005,

In denouncing Republican efforts to get President Bush's judicial nominees to the floor of the Senate for an up-or-down vote, Sen. Robert Byrd, D-W.Va., compared Republican tactics to Adolph Hitler's use of power in Nazi Germany.

Stopping a Strike at the Heart of the Senate (Senator Byrd, March 1, 2005)
Many times in our history we have taken up arms to protect a minority against the tyrannical majority in other lands. We, unlike Nazi Germany or Mussolini’s Italy, have never stopped being a nation of laws, not of men.

But witness how men with motives and a majority can manipulate law to cruel and unjust ends. Historian Alan Bullock writes that Hitler’s dictatorship rested on the constitutional foundation of a single law, the Enabling Law. Hitler needed a two-thirds vote to pass that law, and he cajoled his opposition in the Reichstag to support it. Bullock writes that “Hitler was prepared to promise anything to get his bill through, with the appearances of legality preserved intact.” And he succeeded.

Hitler’s originality lay in his realization that effective revolutions, in modern conditions, are carried out with, and not against, the power of the State: the correct order of events was first to secure access to that power and then begin his revolution. Hitler never abandoned the cloak of legality; he recognized the enormous psychological value of having the law on his side. Instead, he turned the law inside out and made illegality legal.

And that is what the nuclear option seeks to do to Rule XXII of the Standing Rules of the Senate.

Why is he always referred to as an authority on the Constitution if he doesn't even know that the filibuster isn't a law, just an oft-changed Senate rule?

Posted by Orrin Judd at March 2, 2005 6:43 AM

Especially since he changed Senate rules regarding related topics (cloture, etc.) four times when the Democrats were in the majority.

Time to start a running protest outside the Capitol, complete with white sheets and nooses. Drive Byrd to utter shame, or at least retirement.

Posted by: jim hamlen at March 2, 2005 9:38 AM

The "D" after his name makes the senior senator from West Virginia impervious to any long-term media scrutiny. If Byrd could get away with using the n-word on "Fox News Sunday" with virtually no media coverage, there's no way invoking the Dolpher against Republicans is going to be anything more than a half-day story at those same outlets (and they wouldn't cover the white sheets and nooses outside the Capitol, either).

Posted by: John at March 2, 2005 9:58 AM

Why? Because the people doing the referring are paid by the word, haven't a clue about the Constitution, and are easy marks. However, Byrd is whip smart about the arcane rule of the Senate.

Posted by: Luciferous at March 2, 2005 11:43 AM

"I knew Adolf Hitler. Adolf Hitler was a friend of mine. And George W Bush, you're worse than Adolf Hitler."

Posted by: Bart at March 2, 2005 3:16 PM

I call Godwin's Law on the Grand Klegal.

Godwin's Law: prov.

[Usenet] As a Usenet discussion grows longer, the probability of a comparison involving Nazis or Hitler approaches one. There is a tradition in many groups that, once this occurs, that thread is over, and whoever mentioned the Nazis has automatically lost whatever argument was in progress.

Posted by: Robert Schwartz at March 2, 2005 5:54 PM