FILIBUSTER ROUNDUP….It’s only two days old, but I have to admit that I’m already tired of reading about the filibuster compromise forged on Monday. Does this mean I should turn in my political junkie ID card?
Still, it’s hard to resist musing about it. Here’s a bit of thinking out loud:
I continue to think that this hurts Republicans worse than Democrats. Tony Blankley is beside himself that a small group of moderates now controls the Senate agenda, but as James Joyner points out, that’s not exactly unusual in U.S. history. The difference, I think, is that Democrats are so accustomed to herding cats that they just shrug their shoulders when a small group goes off and does its own thing. That’s Democrats for you! Modern Republicans, conversely, have gotten so used to the idea of ironclad party discipline that they hardly know what to do when it breaks down. I think they’re a bit at sea right now.
Yes, many lefties are angry about this deal, but the wingnut right is really foaming at the mouth. Combine this with a few other culture war issues they’re not getting much support for, and there could be open warfare before long between the Christian right and the rest of the Republican party. That should be extremely satisfying to watch, don’t you think?
On the other hand, Max has a point: “The Senate Dems’ main achievement might be to have prevented the Republicans from overreaching.” I suspect that confirming a few nutball judges wouldn’t really have cost Republicans very much, but still. Conservative overreach is clearly one of the best hopes liberals have at the moment, and anything that slows down their apparent desire to sail merrily over a cliff is probably a bad thing.
But speaking of that, Ronald Brownstein and Janet Hook make an awfully good point today: George Bush is now the man to watch. Will he take this as a sign to moderate his judicial picks and avoid future fights? Or will he take this as a challenge to his leadership?
Well, you know what I think. George Bush loves showdowns, and my guess is that this compromise really ticks him off. He wanted to go to the mattresses over this, kill off the filibuster, and leave Democrats gasping for breath. That’s just the kind of guy he is.
In other words, my guess is that sometime fairly soon he’s going to pile some logs back onto this fire by nominating a deliberately provocative judge. Maybe he’ll nominate Roy Moore! At any rate, this fight isn’t over, and wingnut fury combined with Bush’s natural combative tendency has the potential to hasten conservative overreach instead of reining it in. Remember what Bill Clinton did to Newt Gingrich?
Other comments are welcome, of course. Only time will tell how this works out, but for now I’d say Harry Reid and the Dems got slightly the better of the deal.