What are Democracies?
That depends on what page you are reading in the New York Times.
The following was on page 1, "'Democracies have certain things in common - rule of law and protection of the minorities and a free press and a viable opposition,' Mr. Bush said after a private meeting that lasted more than an hour, chiding Mr. Putin gently though more directly than ever before. 'I was able to share my concerns about Russia's commitment in fulfilling these universal principles."'
Now we move on through the first section till we get to page A20. The article is titled "Senator Critical of Proposal on Filibusters.""Senator Bill Frist of Tennessee, the Republican leader, has said his party might use its majority to declare filibusters out of order on judicial nominations."
Earlier in the article:"Mr. Specter, 75, [the chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, a Republican from Pennsylvania] agrees with his party that Democrats should not have mounted filibusters in Mr. Bush's first term to block ten appeals court nominees. But he also was the first Republican to assert prominently that his party had behaved badly when it blocked - 'slow-walked,' he said, many of President Bill Clinton's judicial nominees in an effort to keep them off the bench."
In the interest of full disclosure, I admit to not being a fan of Mr. Bush. I could be suffering from a degraded vocabulary, but trying to inhibit the minority, Democrats, from being able to use the filibuster, does not seem to be allowing "a viable political opposition." Since I am internet-challenged, I cannot check the history of the use of the filibuster but would be willing to bet that the Republicans have used it in the past when they found themselves in the minority.
I also wonder about the "free press" when this administration has prohibited the taking of pictures of the flag draped coffins arriving at Dover Air Force Base, and continues to pre-screen audiences and questions at events that the President attends.