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My personal musings about anything that gets on my radar screen--heavily dominated by politics.
|The First Sign Of Folding?UPDATED AND BUMPED|
I have wondered over the past several months if all of the brinksmanship over the filibuster was little more than high-stakes political poker. It did seem that neither side would be very well-served by a "nuclear showdown", so the question seemed to be who would blink first.
David Broder writes today on the subject, and says it should be the Dems who blink.
Here is what should happen: The Democratic Senate leadership should agree voluntarily to set aside the continued threat of filibustering the seven Bush appointees to the federal appeals courts who were blocked in the last Congress and whose names have been resubmitted. In return, they should get a renewed promise from the president that he will not bypass the Senate by offering any more recess appointments to the bench and a pledge from Republican Senate leaders to consider each such nominee individually, carefully and with a guarantee of extensive debate in coming months.
The recess appointment has been used increasingly over the last twenty years as the confirmation process has bogged down, and that is one power ascribed to the President in the Constitution, but I would be okay with setting that aside if real appointments got their day in court.
But what is key here is not Broder's solution, it is his justification:
Why should the Democrats be the first to step back from the abyss of the "nuclear option," the possible rules change that would eliminate all judicial nomination filibusters and thereby make confirmation possible with 51 -- not 60 -- votes?
The principled answer is that elections matter. Voters placed Republicans in control of the White House and the Senate . . . (emphasis mine)
Really? You mean it meant something when Tom Daschle got voted out of office largely because of his pointless obstructionism? Three consecutive Congressional elections hold a message? Really?
What remains to be seen is whether David Broder matters to the political left, or if the left has any ability to stick to a deal they make. But if both if those "ifs" work out, then this idea could pull everybody back from the brink a few steps.
UPDATE AND BUMP: Thanks to Powerline for doing the dirty work of listening to "This Week", especially when it features Joe Biden.
More important, because Joe Biden is offering a compromise. Earlier today, Biden said on "This Week":
I think we should compromise and say to them that we're willing to -- of the seven judges -- we'll let a number of them go through, the two most extreme not go through and put off this vote [to end the filibuster].
Democrats play to win--unlike, sometimes, Republicans--and if they had a winning hand on judges, a subject dear to the hearts of their richest supporters, they would play it. Biden's willingness to compromise means they don't have the votes.