Tuesday, May 17, 2005


Hubris Ascendant

Wither Frist or Wither Filibuster?

The long game of posturing and talk of seeking a compromise on judicial nominees appears to be in the end stage. Us folks here in DC are preparing for the battle that is expected to follow shortly, one that will pit 214 years of a tradition of unlimited debate against the absolutist tendencies of the radical right that now serves as the puppetmaster of the GOP. The funny thing is that 'compromise' was never really an option. From the start Senator Frist acknowledged that it was an all or nothing affair (like everything else with this silly bunch), with each single nominee allowed a full floor vote. Why? Because the leaders of the so-called 'Christian Right', James Dobson, Tony Perkins, Pat Robertson and their ilk, know that controlling the judiciary, appointing ultra-conservative justices and overturning the right to privacy will finally allow them to achieve their final objective...Imposing federal control over personal matters such as consensual sex, birth control, access to abortion, end of life decisions and the like. How best to sum up their end game? I think senator Santorum summed it up best this week.

"Now we are forced to do something that societies often do when people can't control their desires. We have to pass laws to stop their desires." - Rick Santorum

So what is the fate of our young democracy? I'm still sanguine. After all, senator Frist couldn't even muster up a simple majority on the gay-bashing Federal Marriage Amendment, and there was no political upside to opposing that. The current split in the Senate is 55(R)-44(D)-1(I). A party line vote would clearly give Frist a victory, but looking at preliminary whip counts you get a more hopeful picture. Republican senators John McCain (AZ), Lincoln Chafee (RI), and Olympia Snowe (ME) have already announced they'd vote against it...which gives the opponents of ending the filibuster 48 votes. Susan Collins (ME) is also expected to vote against Frist's motion which gets us up to 49. Five other Republican Senators have also expressed reservations about Frist's plan...Garnering two of those votes, perhaps John Warner (VA) and John Sununu (NH) would kill the plan. Better yet, no one likes to vote for a losing proposition (ala FMA), so as the debate progresses, if it becomes clear that Frist doesn't have a majority, then expect the motion to go down with an even wider margin.

Democrats, GOP End Talks on Filibusters
Senate Showdown Over Nominees Nears


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