Here's an item that could be in one of those silly Facebook games: Things I Love That Everybody Else Hates. Meaning, of course, the congressional practice of attaching ostensibly unrelated amendments to bills before the House or Senate, and the gamesmanship around that practice. In this case, it's Sen. Russ Feingold (D-Wis.) blocking a Republican bill to commemorate Ronald Reagan's 100th birthday.
It may just be about the procedural pragmatism of moving legislation by attaching it to another, more popular bill; that happens all the time. However -- and forgive me if I'm adding two and two and getting five -- I think I see a subtext.
Feingold’s amendment would establish two commissions to study the internment and restrictions of German and Italian Americans and Jewish refugees during World War II, and it is unrelated to the Reagan bill. The Reagan measure would establish a commission to plan federal and state celebrations around Reagan’s centennial birthday in February 2011.I suspect it may not be totally unrelated, although the connection is a subtle one. It's about history, and who gets to shape it. The Reagan presidency, like our treatment of ethnics during WWII, is a dark chapter in our history. It would be better off forgotten than viewed through the rose-colored glasses conservatives have provided us with their relentless, partisan revisionism.
Feingold’s spokesman said that the noncontroversial bill would be a good vehicle for the internment amendment, which he said is also noncontroversial.I think Feingold is daring the Republicans to risk being seen as indifferent to real, sad truths about our history at the same moment they are practicing bald-faced triumphalism, ramming propaganda down our throats while there's anybody alive that remembers the real Reagan legacy; e.g., Iran-Contra, Bitburg, trillion-dollar national debt.
Now that we have decided not to prosecute the Bush administration for its crimes against humankind and the Constitution, and remembering that Reagan openly and repeatedly flaunted his violations of the Constitution, I guess it's only a matter of time before conservatives are pushing for a national celebration of Bush's birthday as well.
Unless a crafty and honest Democrat like Russ Feingold stands up to them, of course.
History is too important, from the standpoint of lessons learned, to allow it to be shaped by partisan politics. Feingold gets this, and raising the lesson of internment camps, etc. is a totally appropriate reminder.
[A] spokesman for Sen. Jon Kyl (R-Ariz.), said if Feingold’s amendment is truly noncontroversial, he should simply go through the regular committee process and move it to the Senate floor.What our children's children learn about what went on in our lifetimes is at stake. Let the pissing match begin.
[Cross-posted at Blue Mass Group.]