Tuesday, May 24, 2005

Not the the end, not even the beginning of the end 

But it is, perhaps, the end of the beginning.

I sympathasize what Riggsveda says:

If the nominees being given a pass by the compromise include Pryor, Brown and Owens, who are probably the most objectionable of the lot, I don't know why the Dems should bother even putting up a fuss on the rest.

And before the compromise was reached, I would have said (probably did say) the same things. The thing is, though, there is even more at stake than the judges. If the nuclear option had gone through, what would have happened is that the entire winger agenda would have been rammed through, with no Democratic opposition at all. And it would have been very hard to undo all that damage, even if captured one of the electable branches of government again.

Bad as the three are, I'll trade that for (say) Alpo Accounts going through on a 51 vote majority (which you know is exactly what they would have pulled next). Plus, it looks like the rest of Bush's whacko judges won't go to a vote, and that's a victory too.

So, like so much else in politics, I'd rather eat half a shit sandwich semi-voluntarily, then be forced to eat a whole one, and then be forced to ask Please sir, can I have some more?

Here's what the Princeton filibuster team has to say:

It is a strange sort of victory, isn't it? If you believe that Senator Frist's nuclear option would have been illegal and unprecedented - as we do, along with many constitutional scholars and political analysts - then the Republican leadership should not have considered it in the first place. Is it a victory when the world is returned to what it should be? Do we celebrate normalcy?

We are not, however, ready to thank Senator Frist or his allies for their distasteful and ill-considered threats. They used the integrity of our system of governance as a bargaining chip to accomplish their short-term political gain. Because of their actions, the system of checks and balances has been tarnished. The federal bench may now have on it three judges who could not win the support of a mere 60 Senators. This is the moment when all of us as citizens must inform ourselves about the nominees and communicate our conclusions to our elected officials. This is the beginning, not the end, of this particular democratic process.

The Princeton team also makes an excellent point on "extraordinary circumstances":

The procedural mechanism of the filibuster is designed for extraordinary circumstances. If the circumstances are not extraordinary, the laws or nominees in question will be able to win the supermajority needed for cloture.


So, we didn't get everything. We need to exercise our victory muscles a bit, and learn to recognize a win when it happens. This fight was Bush, Frist, and Dobson's to lose—and they lost it.

Damn, what's that quacking noise?

NOTE So, I'm still wild about Harry, and I like his site. However, these magnificant talking points on the six rules that the nuclear option violated were only put up on May 20. They should have been put up much, much earlier. This is the best material I've seen, so why not let us in the blogosphere propagate it?!

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