Day By Day© by Chris Muir.

Tuesday, May 24, 2005

What Mr. Smith really found when he went to Washington

Leave it to The American Spectator to point out the glaring idiocy behind the Left's constant use of Mr. Smith Goes to Washington to support their filibuster. The article is at some lengths to point out that the film is about government corruption arising from the New Deal:

There in a nutshell is the corruption that Mr. Smith Goes To Washington is focused on: the belief that there is something good, even noble, about robbing Peter (i.e. the taxpayer) to pay Paul. Bear in mind, the film came out in 1939 when FDR's New Deal was still in full swing. The movie argues that the deal's public spending projects corrupted lawmakers by giving them millions to dole out. Inevitably, favoritism, back-scratching and worse set in and once-noble legislators like Paine are corrupted. Worse yet, everybody in the film except Smith accepts this as normal. No wonder D.C. lawmakers denounced the film when it first came out. Paine warns Smith not to oppose the dam project, telling him that 'powerful forces' (i.e. Taylor and his newspapers) want it. 'They'll destroy you' if he stands in their way, Paine says. Smith is unmoved and makes clear that he'll challenge it on the Senate floor and expose how it will benefit Taylor. Paine responds by coldly betraying Smith, framing him for an ethics violation and trying to get him ejected from the Senate. In the film's climax, Smith refuses to relinquish the Senate floor, preventing the other Senators from voting to oust him. This is the film's famous filibuster and it has nothing to do with keeping a judicial nominee off the bench. It is all about Smith fighting for his own survival against the entrenched interests in Washington. It's also worth noting that this is the old-fashioned kind of filibuster, where Smith must speak constantly or yield the floor. The rule has been changed since then. These days Democrats merely need to say they're filibustering a judge and they can still be home for dinner.
The last point especially has struck home with me, because the movie does make an important point about the filibuster -- it's not just a strategic maneuver, it's a sacrifice. Hat tip: The Paragraph Farmer