Tuesday, May 24, 2005

The conventional option

I have to say that my reaction here is pretty much the same as Matt's. They get their three awful judges and we don't get to send the GOP legislative agenda to a nuclear winter wonderland. Reid's proposals for how we'd force votes on lots of stuff we liked that the GOP wouldn't swallow would've been fun to watch. In retrospect, I would've liked to see the Democrats make the substantive case against the judges themselves more. Why didn't we hear more about how Priscilla Owen let poor Willie Searcy die? Or about how Janice Brown more or less thought the New Deal was unconstitutional? Making the substantive case against the nominees probably would've done more to rally public opinion than institutionalist arguments about Senate procedure.

Everyone is talking about how this hurts Bill Frist. Here's what I'm thinking: it's time to declare an end to John McCain's hopes of ever becoming the GOP nominee. If you think Dobson's going to be mad at Frist for not delivering the goods, think how he'll feel about McCain robbing the train. This is one of the rare days when it's more fun to read the right-wing blogs than the left-wing ones:

So go ahead and bask in the praise, Lindsey Graham. Soak in the applause, John McCain. And all the rest of you turncoats...

Enjoy it now. We’re not going to forget this. Not now. Not ever.

And there goes your most electable future candidate. Conventional weapons are good for circular firing squads. I wonder if any of those northeastern GOP moderates will seek political asylum from Harry Reid. I leave you with words from Dobson himself:

This Senate agreement represents a complete bailout and betrayal by a cabal of Republicans and a great victory for united Democrats.

3 comments:

Anonymous said...

There's a lot about Owen and Brown which wasn't discussed.

The National Women's Law Center elaborates upon some more specific examples: http://www.nwlc.org/details.cfm?id=2284§ion=newsroom

Justin said...

I don't know, this seems to me like a pretty solid Democrat victory.

As you acknowledge, that the Republican base is angry at McCain+others (but especially McCain) is good for Democrats. I suspect some of this rubs off on Giuliani too -- it may reinforce on Republicans that they really want a conservative.

That McCain+Others come across favorably to pretty much everyone besides the Republican base is good for Democrats -- if there needs to be some Republicans looking good, these are the ones we want.

That Frist looks incompetent is good, independently from his actual incompetence. (His actual incompetence is good too though.)

That James Dobson and others are attacking the compromise so vocally is *very* good. Not just b/c it's pleasant to see such people unhappy, but because (1) the idea that Dobson et. al are the real force in the Republican Party is a great theme for Democrats (even in Red States), and (2) it helps reinforce these people's extremism. The more press releases from people like Dobson attacking Democrats and Republican moderates b/w now and 2006, the better Democrats are.

The Republicans who weren't part of the deal come across as unwilling to compromise. A number of the Democrats who weren't part of the deal still seemed happy with it, and seem to me to come across well.

The Democrats who were part of the deal didn't break any core principles, and while there may be room for the base to be sort of frustrated with them, obviously they aren't going to draw the same sort of ire that the Republican deal-makers will.

If the nuclear option is going to happen, Democrats should want it to happen over a superme court nominee. There's a sense of proportionality here. I worry that stopping the senate in response to a few bad appellate judges comes across as an overreaction. If the battle had been fought here, I worry that Democrats would have lost -- either they wouldn't have had general public backing, or not enough of it to put pressure on Republicans. Then the fillibuster is lost by the time you get to the Supreme Court nominee. If the fillibuster is going to be killed, it seems to me that Democrats should want it to happen on as big a stage as possible, while Republicans should want it to happen on as little a stage as possible.

Given the utils (not literally) in hand here plus the potential utils down the line which were set up, it seems to me that even when you subract utils for the 3 judges who went through, you end up on the positive side of the ledger.

Rousseau said...

Hope you read my own entry on this Neil. http://rousseau.blogspot.com/2005/05/minor-reaction-to-senate-compromise.html

As to whether this is a "win" for dems... well it certainly makes PR sense for the dems to trumpet it as a win. The press loves a winner, since they're the minority they really expected nothing, it energizes our desperate base, it keeps us having some influence on SCOTUS nominee maybe.

However, this meme of all the liberal bloggers says "if Dobson hates it, ah love it" is far too tempting. How many times of ther past 6 years have we thought "Ha! we've finally divided the moderate GOP from their reactionary base, their power will crumble now. No one in america would vote simply for these crazy extremist." Sigh.