|This Deal Is Not About What You Think It Is|
First, before I expound on the title of this post, let me sample some of the reactions from around the blogosphere.
First, from the Right:
Powerline: What a hideous deal! The Democrats have agreed to cloture on only three nominees, and they have made no commitment not to filibuster in the future, if there are "extraordinary circumstances." Of course, the Dems think any nominee who is a Republican is "extraordinary." The Dems have just wriggled off the hook on some of the nominees that, politically, some of them did not want to be seen voting against.
Someone explain to me why the Republicans haven't been rolled once again.
Captain's Quarters: This, in short, has been a clear victory for the Democrats and a massive failure for the GOP and the White House. The GOP just endorsed the filibuster, and will have no intellectual capacity to argue against its use later on. They sold the Constitution just to get less than half of its blockaded nominees through, and the result will be much less flexibility on future Supreme Court nominations.
Ramesh Ponoru: So: Democrats can filibuster nominees in "extraordinary circumstances," to be determined according to the "discretion and judgment" of Ralph Neas--I mean, of each individual senator. Republicans, on the other hand, are not getting any wiggle room to vote for a rules change in "extraordinary circumstances"--such as the Democrats' abuse of their wiggle room. It looks as though the majority party got taken in this deal.
And so it goes. The general feeling is very consistent across the board.
And, from the Left:
Ralph Neas: Nonetheless, we cannot endorse every aspect of the deal that was announced today. We are deeply concerned that it could lead to confirmation of appeals court judges who would undermine Americans’ rights and freedoms. We will urge Senators to vote against confirmation of nominees who have not demonstrated a commitment to upholding individual liberties and the legal and social justice accomplishments of the past 70 years.
Joshua Micah Marshall: We're supposed to say we got a great deal to win clearly through spin what could not be won so clearly on the merits. It seems an awfully bitter pill to forego the filibuster on both Brown and Owen, particularly the former. And the main issue isn't resolved so much as it's delayed. The moderate Republicans agree to preserve the filibuster so long as the Democrats use it in what the moderate Republicans deem a reasonable fashion. And yet the use of the filibuster, by its very nature, almost always seems unreasonable to those whom it is used against.
Talk Left: The worst, the compromise is in. Priscilla Owen, Janice Rogers Brown and William Pryor are in. Total capitulation by Democrats. Total victory for Frist. Let them spin it how they want, it's a loss for the Democrats. Henry Saad of Michigan is the fall guy. He won't get a vote. No one cared about him anyway. That's tossing the Dems a chicken bone.
Ken Salazar. Traitor.
So, while us on the Right are quite verklempt about this deal, it's not exactly Happy Days Are Here Again on the Left, either. So who really won in this deal?
Well, it's easier to start by talking about who lost first.
Bill Frist--anybody who can't hold a majority caucus together cannot be trusted to run the Executive Branch.
John McCain--a party that is still ticked off about Campaign Finance Reform will NOT forget about this deal. His ultimate ambition will have to happen from outside the Republican Party.
Chuck Hagel--while not one of the signatories on this deal, his wobbliness on the issue surely empowered its creation. Also, one whose Presidential ambitions are now a thing of the past.
the NRSC--the phone banks at the pledge center are probably powered by Cricket--or is it that they resemble the sound of crickets. . .
George W. Bush--et tu, Brute? Social Security, Tax Reform, now judges--the entire domestic agenda is screeching on the tracks.
Now, the winners. Actually, just one winner, and here's where I get back to the title of this draft.
Hillary R-Clinton--who has been conspicuously silent about the whole thing. In fact, she doesn't even have a statement on her website about the filibuster, the judges, or any topic related to this.
Why does Hillary win? Because, with the exception of the delusional John Kerry, she has no serious competition for the Dem nomination in 2008. And now, arguably the top three candidates from the GOP have just been taken out; on top of that, count on small Dem pickups in the mid-terms, and it will look like she's riding a wave of progressive sentiment into a momentous 2008 Presidential bid. When, in reality, she's just hanging out in the troughs between waves of GOP faithful anger.
That's right, in the long run, this battle will be about the 2008 Presidential campaign, and right now there's only one viable candidate still standing.