Thursday, May 12, 2005

Republicans vs. the Constitution: Frist punches the nuclear button 

Here we go:

The Senate continued its march toward a historic partisan showdown today, as the Republican-controlled Judiciary Committee approved another of President Bush's controversial nominees to a federal appeals court despite vows from Democrats to block the nomination with a filibuster.
(via WaPo)

What Kos says:
Open-ended debate? Frist doesn't have the votes and hopes that having the issue on the floor of the Senate for several days will be enough to bear pressure on the wayward members of his caucus.

Some people have been frustrated at efforts within the Democratic caucus (including Reid) to craft a compromise with the other side. However, that is a necessary component to stopping this thing in its tracks.

Remember, the end game isn't seven judges nominated to the appelate court. It's the Supreme Court. Therefore, letting some of these judges through to have the filibuster handy for the next Supreme Court battle is a legit tradeoff.

And from a strategic standpoint, keep in mind that the GOP will suffer a serious bloody nose if Frist loses. However, the only way he loses is if he suffers six defections within his ranks. So how does Reid ensure he gets those six votes? Well, not by being an unbending, uncompromising ass.

Those Republicans that vote with Democrats are going to need a great deal of political cover, lest they get hit hard by their base and the GOP leadership. The easiest way to give them that cover is to point to repeated efforts by Democrats to compromise, including deals that would've essentially given most of these judges an up or down vote.

Talking to my sources on the Hill, no one has any clue how this will turn out. Reid is playing his cards close to his chest. But Frist's actions speak louder than words. If he had the votes, this thing would've happened by now. Instead, he'll hold an open-ended "debate" to try and twist as many arms as he can. It's up to Reid and his GOP allies, whoever they may be, to run out the clock.

Let's hope.

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