Tuesday, May 24, 2005

The Missouri Compromise?

The Seven Dwarfs (and I don't mean the Democratic Seven) think they have made a deal to re-establish comity in the Senate and put this issue to rest indefinitely. The right caption for the seven Republicans who are waving this agreement is "Peace in Our Time 2005." [This is actually NOT meant to compare the Democrats to Nazis which is a puerile tool overused by the Left.] It is meant to describe the arrant stupidity of Senators McCain, DeWine, Warner, Chafee, Collins, Graham and Snowe.

Why is this a bad deal for the Republicans?
1. They gave up Henry Saad and William Myers
2. NYT
reports there Democratic officials said an unwritten aspect of the pact was that two nominees not named in the deal - Brett M. Kavanaugh and William J. Haynes - would not be confirmed and would be turned aside either at the committee level or on the floor
3. What in the bloody hell is 'extraordinary'?
4. In Part II the Democrats are bound by 'conscience' and the Republicans basically by 'Rules Change'. Any change of heart by the Democrats will be 'conscience-driven' but a change by Republicans will be 'breaking an agreement and the Rules'
5. They delayed a resolution when they had the votes to determine the outcome

Why I think the Seven Dwarfs went for it:
a. the belief that the 'Rules Change' portion is not binding if the 'extraordinary' clause is being abused
b. A misguided belief that a great tradition of the Senate was at stake
c. Looking for a better time to take a stand and possibly use the constitutional option, perhaps when a Supreme Court nomination is at stake
d. Enough of them were concerned that the public sided more with the Democratic spin
e. they trusted enough of the seven Democratic signatories that at least five would vote for cloture under most circumstances. (this is a bad crutch to lean on. Byrd and Ken "Lying Rat Bastard" Salazar can't be trusted at all so all Reps and all five other Democrats would have to vote for cloture)
f. Concerned that someday a Republican minority would not be able to filibuster liberal judicial nominees

Ultimately this memo of understanding may well be the equivalent of the Missouri Compromise which delayed but could not prevent a much larger conflict. It's my hope that should the situation require that enough of the Seven Dwarfs will find the fortitude to call a spade a spade and withdraw from the agreement.

The Democrats should be very happy.

For the admittedly non-trivial price of Janice Rogers Brown and Priscilla Owen they:
i. retained good freedom of operation - 'extraordinary' isn't defined
ii. managed at minimum a delay in a fight they probably would have lost
iii. may permanently forestall the constitutional option if they hold through 2006 and can net win a couple of Senate seats
iv. have probably gutted the Presidential chances of John McCain who would probably have been a tough opponent and now will never be forgiven by the conservatives for this perfidy


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