Thursday, September 22, 2005

Fighting the next battle

I've left this position in comments on a few blogs now, and I was thinking of saying it to Laura and Amanda, so I guess I'll just post it here: the Democratic base shouldn't be getting too worked up about how anybody votes on Roberts. Even with all Democrats voting against him, he wins. Frist has too much power over the pro-choice Republicans for them to vote with us and defeat Roberts. Filibustering would be a bad move here, since the compromise Republicans will desert us, the GOP will push the nuclear button, the filibuster will be destroyed, and we'll be defenseless before whatever maniac Bush wants to send in as the O'Connor replacement. When the Senate math guarantees Roberts' confirmation, Democratic Senators would be wise to take up positions that'll win them the next battle.

That's what they 've done. If Bush nominates, say, Priscilla Owen, Leahy gets to say, "I'm willing to vote for competent Bush appointees -- heck, I voted for Roberts! But Priscilla Owen is simply not fit for the Supreme Court." In terms of winning the media battle, this is a more powerful position than universal opposition, and it'll make Owen look like the extremist she is. If Owen makes it out of committee, Harry Reid launches the filibuster. Then, if the right-wing judges are indeed regarded as genuine extremists by the public, compromise Republicans will be able to let the filibuster stand.

Another possibility is that the White House thinks through the above situation, looks at Bush's low poll numbers, and decides that an extremist won't be able to make it into O'Connor's seat. They nominate a relative moderate, and expose Dobson to the risk of another David Souter. Given how little power Democrats have, I'll be congratulating Harry Reid for at least the third time this year (Social Security Privatization, the Katrina Whitewash Investigation) on how well he's played his cards.


Neil Sinhababu said...

I like that strategy, dadahead. Overall, I'd be surprised if Bush goes off the deep end with his O'Connor replacement.

Neil Sinhababu said...

So you think the advantage Leahy gains in being able to lead the opposition next time while appearing non-obstructionist is outweighed by... what? Perhaps symbolic things mean more to you than they do to me.

Neil Sinhababu said...

Okay, fair enough. What we've got here is a differing estimation of the value of being able to go on TV saying, "I voted for Roberts but I'm not voting for this lunatic." Given that you see it as having no value, the rest of your position follows.