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April 21, 2005


Specter is on floor, with an extended plea to avoid the showdown. Durbin was on earlier -- breaking out of a Judiciary Cmte mtg -- to report they're headed for the showdown.

Interesting. I think of Specter as a weathervane on this issue, and if he's calling for restraint, I take that as an indication of second thoughts in the Republican caucus.

And Durbin's a savvy operator; I think it's entirely possible that he suspects they'll back off, but is saying they're moving forward to make the shock effect even greater when it doesn't happen. Maybe they really are moving forward, but I just think Durbin is a really sneaky (in a wonderful and positive) guy.

Since the Judiciary Committee pushed through Owens and Brown today I don't think they have the option of putting it off now. Baby Hewy Hewitt has been getting all 10 of his listeners to call Frist and force him to go nukular.

I think we are seeing another one get away from them. I've been hoping for a loss of control on their part for a while and it looks like it's finally happening.

I've written in other threads today that I see the GOP taking on major damage regarding both Iraq and the economy. But this development -- along with DeLay, and lingering Schiavo blowback -- suggest yet another front on which the Dems can gain ground: that, in area after area, the GOP is just "going too far".

In many ways, Dems have already benefited from this perception. The fact that so many states are so dependably blue (NY, CA, IL, virtually all of New England) is at least partly attributable to the sense that the GOP has gone over to the loony right. This wasn't enough to win last time out, but it made even an incumbent re-election frighteningly difficult for the Republicans -- a far cry from the Nixon/Reagan years.

The press is consumed with how Dems need to change their party image, so it doesn't appear so "liberal", but they ignore the other side of the equation. The events of recent months show us there's an at least equal danger of Republicans sliding off the end of the earth.

Frist probably thinks that no matter the outcome of the nuclear intra party battle, he can say to the fundy base, "I tried" and be on his way to the nomination with their loyalty.

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