Tuesday, May 24, 2005

Thoughts From the Brink

I haven't said much on the whole "nuclear option." I think both parties behaved badly, the GOP being a bare winner in the slimefest. Frankly, I'm thankful that there was no nuclear option and that a compromise was reached. It's not perfect, but it will stop the Senate from becoming a war zone (if it isn't already). The downside: the Senate will likely approve William Pryor to the bench, who is known to be very anti-gay. However, the upside is far greater: a working Senate. In allowing Pricilla Owen, Janice Rodgers Brown and William Pryor to recieve and up or down vote, you'd think the far right would be happy. Wrong. Instead we hear supreme whining from them that they didn't everything they want. Listen to what James Dobson said of the deal:

"This Senate agreement represents a complete bailout and betrayal by a cabal of Republicans and a great victory for united Democrats. Only three of President Bush’s nominees will be given the courtesy of an up-or-down vote, and it's business as usual for all the rest. The rules that blocked conservative nominees remain in effect, and nothing of significance has changed. Justice Clarence Thomas, Justice Antonin Scalia, and Chief Justice William Rehnquist would never have served on the U. S. Supreme Court if this agreement had been in place during their confirmations. The unconstitutional filibuster survives in the arsenal of Senate liberals.

"We are grateful to Majority Leader Frist for courageously fighting to defend the vital principle of basic fairness. That principle has now gone down to defeat. We share the disappointment, outrage and sense of abandonment felt by millions of conservative Americans who helped put Republicans in power last November. I am certain that these voters will remember both Democrats and Republicans who betrayed their trust."

Oh please, Mr. Dobson. I didn't hear you complaining when the Republicans blocked nominees under President Clinton. He fails to mention that the Dems have actually passed a good number of the President's nominees. Yes, two may not get to be judges, but not every nominee gets an up or down vote. The GOP had every right to say they didn't like Clinton's nominees in ways other than a vote, and so do the Dems. What's disturbing is that Dobson and others on the far right expect that the Opposition should simply comply with what the majority says. What people like Dobson want at the very least is a content and happy minority acting in the words of anti-tax leader Grover Norquist like "fixed animals." I sometimes think at the very worst they want firing squads for anyone who doesn't see things their way.

All in all, I'm happy that centrism won the day. And I'm thankful for the "gang of 14" who worked for the interst of the grand institution and not narrow partisan interests.

For more on the filibuster shakedown, you might want to read my fellow moderate, Charging RINO. He has some worthwhile posts, here and here.

Professor Stephen Bainbridge also has a worthy take and a "get real" message to his fellow conservatives who are complaining about the compromise. He also uses a wonderful quote from conservative icon Russell Kirk that shows how far conservatives have strayed from their roots.


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