Monday, May 23, 2005

That ticking sound . . .

A roundup of opinions on the filibuster/nuclear option stuff (since I'm too disheartened and uninformed to form my own at this point. As a friend expressed to me this weekend, I'm getting tired of saying "They'll Never Do That!" only to see them do it anyway . . .):

Blogenlust is slightly optimistic:
It seems pretty clear that we're heading for a showdown on the Senate filibuster in the next two days. So far I think the Democrats have done a pretty good job mounting a defense against what I think is a fairly obvious power grab by the Republicans, and certainly the public seems to be on our side, which is a good position to be in going into the showdown.


Lindsay on the American Street wonders why the Nuclear Option's, oh, how you say, unconstitutional nature hasn't gotten more attention:
Even those who don’t support the judicial filibuster should repudiate the Republicans’ underhanded tactics. Like real-life nuclear brinksmanship, the Republican nuclear option is breathtakingly irresponsible. This isn’t just about a few extremist judges, or even about Supreme Court appointments. It’s not even about preserving whatever collegiality remains in current Senate. Thanks to the nuclear option, integrity of the Senate is at stake. If the nuclear attack is successful, it will establish the principle that whichever party holds the majority in the Senate can write and rewrite the rules to suit itself. The Republicans aren’t just trying to undermine the power of the minority. The so-called “constitutional option” is a ploy to unhinge Senate proceedings from precedent and procedure. The Republicans want to allow the majority to make up the rules as it goes along.


Talking Points Memo plays the semantics game: Let's call it "The Crybaby Option!"
As he puts it, "Oh, boo-hoo, we only got 95% of what we wanted so we're changing the rules. Waaaaah!"

Sort of like at a seven-year-old's birthday party where they want the parent to change the rules of Pin the Tail on the Donkey because they're not winning every time.

They really are babies. So call them on it.


WaPo gives some background, shows what could happen, and details the potential fallout of the nuclear option (Warning: informative but very, very boring. Think Freshman Civics.):
Fred Graham, who was chief counsel of a Senate Judiciary subcommittee during a classic filibuster during the 1960s and now is chief anchor and managing editor of the Court TV cable channel, said existing rules allow Republicans to accomplish what they have promised.

"If Bill Frist asks for a ruling from the chair from Dick Cheney, of course Cheney will rule in his favor," Graham said. "What are the Democrats going to do, appeal to the Supreme Court? There's no place for them to go. That's the power of the majority."

And finally, Luis comes to a grim conclusion on the attempts by the 12 "compromiser" Senators to come to a middle ground:
My prediction, for what it is worth: The compromise efforts will fail, several Republicans (including McCain) will vote against the nuclear option, but Frist will succeed, all of the controversial nominees will get confirmed, and we will see Harry Reid trot out his plans for surviving the Senate's nuclear winter.

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