by Rod D. Martin
May 25, 2005
How do you tell whether the left or the right is unhappier with John McCain’s deal? To hear T.A. Frank tell it at the New Republic, it’s one of the biggest wins ever for Bush, Frist, and Republicans:
Republicans will allow Democrats to keep the filibuster as long as Democrats never use it. This way, both sides win (except for the Democrats).
Once again, the Republicans have shown their skillfulness when it comes to resetting parameters. Until recently, the perception had been that Bush had consistently filled the courts with extreme conservatives, with only a handful of truly batty nominees failing to meet the standards of Democrats. Now, facing the threat of the “nuclear option,” Democrats have backed down on these as well. Thanks to the “finest traditions of the Senate” (Robert Byrd’s words yesterday), there’s a new agreement under which, presumably, only the certifiably insane can possibly be blocked — or, to put it as the senators did, nominees can “only be filibustered under extraordinary circumstances.” That way, if Bush’s pick for a judgeship finally goes too far even for Republicans â€” if he nominates, say, an Irish setter who, during confirmation hearings, runs up and bites Orin Hatch in the leg, then Democrats will be allowed to play the bad guys and employ their filibuster. Otherwise, they’d better hold off, since, if they don’t, Republicans might have to take the filibuster away for real…