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May 30, 2005

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Novacula is unhappy with the deal.

link

"Even if Bolton is confirmed, nobody knows now the fate of Bush's other judicial nominees and his future selections for the Supreme Court."

DemFromCT,

He's one unhappy asshat.

Heh. Here's another: Krauthammer.

The Republicans flinched

WASHINGTON — A week ago, Republicans were within hours of passing a procedural rule that would have eliminated the Democrats' unprecedented use of the judicial filibuster. It would not only have freed from filibuster limbo seven Bush nominees to the circuit courts, but it would have assured future nominees, particularly to the Supreme Court, an up-or-down vote.

Then the Republicans flinched. They settled for something less. Far less. How much less is still a matter of dispute, but the fact that they settled when they had within their reach the means to restore Senate practice to the status quo ante 2001 is indisputable. That in itself is a victory for the Democrats and a defeat for the Republicans.

The Missouri Compromise of 2005, like its predecessor, has left a few things uncertain (including the fate of two long-languishing nominees, Henry Saad and William Myers), but two things are quite certain.

First, the compromise legitimized the principle of the judicial filibuster. Until 2001, not once in more than 200 years had a judicial nominee been denied appointment to the court by Senate filibuster.

The Democrats broke all precedent by systematically using it to block Bush nominees in his first term in the hope that they would recapture the presidency in 2004. They did not, and have continued the filibuster into his second term. This violation of Senate tradition has now been codified in writing as legitimate so long as circumstances ("extraordinary," in the eyes of the beholder) warrant.

The second sure thing is that the seven Republicans who went against their party are the toast of the Washington establishment. On Monday night, they came out of the negotiations beaming. And why shouldn't they? They are now being hailed as profiles in courage, prepared to put principle ahead of (Republican) party. We will soon see glowing stories in the mainstream press about how they have grown in office. (In Washington parlance, the dictionary definition of "to grow" is "to move left.") After that, the dinner-party circuit, fawning articles about their newfound stature and coveted slots on the Sunday-morning talk shows.

i don't know if either of them are right (they're usually not), but they sure look like they recognize the GOP has lost the PR battle.

here's a (relatively) neutral source: Brownstein:

On Filibuster and Stem Cells, GOP Bears Pain of Compromise
The divergent partisan reactions to last week's Senate deal on judicial nominations says less about the substance of the agreement than the mood within the two parties.

Like any plausible compromise, the agreement caused pain for both sides. But conservatives are much more incensed about it. Social conservative leader James Dobson virtually threatened to excommunicate from the Republican Party the seven member senators who supported the accommodation, under which Republicans agreed to oppose a ban on judicial filibusters so long as Democrats use the tactic only under "extraordinary circumstances."

Among Democrats, some have claimed outright victory, though that seems more about playing to the cameras than a genuine assessment of the terms of the deal. Many on the left condemned it as a capitulation, among them leaders of the Congressional Black Caucus. Most Democrats seem to regard the deal less as a victory or a defeat than a disengagement that defers the toughest battles.

It's difficult to say substantively that either side won. Democrats achieved their highest objective by maintaining the right to filibuster judicial nominees, at least in principle. In practice, the deal has unquestionably circumscribed that right.

here's the good stuff from brownstein:

It's difficult to overstate how tough it is for Democrats to accept a nominee with such militant views. And yet it is the right, far more than the left, threatening the peacemakers.

What gives? One explanation may be that the deal challenges the dominant political strategy among Republicans, while upholding both of the approaches contending for dominance among Democrats.

Especially since Bush's reelection, Democrats have been divided on electoral strategy. One camp believes the key to revival is courting centrist swing voters (a la Bill Clinton's "third way"). The second says the party must emulate Bush and focus on mobilizing its base by stressing unity.

In different ways, the judicial deal is at least tolerable to both camps. Third-way types applaud it for promoting bipartisan compromise. The party-unity group likes it because it kept Senate Democrats unified against the filibuster ban.

By contrast, the deal threatens the ruling political paradigm among Republicans. Since 2001, energizing the conservative base, even at the price of straining relations with more centrist voters, has been the core of Bush's legislative and political strategy.

...

But last week's deal reflected a fear among some of its GOP participants that the White House had pushed that polarizing approach to the point of dangerously alienating moderate voters. Bush's approval rating has tumbled below 50% and runs lower among independents and moderates. The numbers for Congress have been sinking like Nasdaq after the Internet stock bubble burst. In a CBS poll last week, Congress' approval rating among independents fell to an anemic 26%.

Krauthammer annoys me to no end, but that one made me smile. Thanks, Charlie K.!

OK, but Krauthammer is totally lying. He was prebutted here by Norman Ornstein on the precedent issue, and it seems to have made no difference. I despise Krauthammer with the passionate hatred of a thousand burning suns. He's the most dishonest of the lot.

But how do you really feel about him, praktike? (Your opinion's shared by many others...)

Yeah, Krauthammer is just awful. I couldn't believe that article. Completely dishonest about the Clinton years. Makes you wonder a bit about some of Chuck's supposed areas of "expertise" also . . .

I must say, I thoroughly enjoyed Fukuyama's smackdown of him - was that a year ago now?

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