My personal musings about anything that gets on my radar screen--heavily dominated by politics.


This Is A Stupid Idea

The WaPo lead editorial this morning tries to elevate Sen. Ben Nelson (Nebraska) to the level of deal-maker.

Mr. Nelson's proposal is that six members of each party sign a memorandum of understanding under which the Republicans would pledge to oppose the "nuclear option" and the Democrats would pledge to support cloture on some of the seven currently filibustered nominees. They would also pledge to refrain from supporting future filibusters except under the most extraordinary circumstances.

First of all, SOME of the currently filibustered nominees?? Which ones? Under what circumstances? So the GoP should just hang a few of these judges out to dry while the Dems get everything that they want in the procedural battle--some compromise.

What exactly would constitute such extreme circumstances is not entirely clear -- which is actually the point. Democratic signatories would know that their understanding of extreme circumstances might not correspond to that of the Republican signatories. A decision, in other words, by any of the six Democrats to support a future filibuster could -- if the Democratic case is not widely accepted -- cause the Republicans to consider themselves released from the deal. The deal would therefore preserve the current rules, yet it would also give Democrats genuine reason to think twice before derailing a future nominee who enjoys majority support.

Which, if I'm not mistaken, is exactly where we are right now. In what way does this deal give the majority party anything that it wants?!? Why should the current rules be preserved if any of six members of the Democratic Caucus can go back on this deal at any time? The point of the rules change is to preserve the CONSTITUTION--this deal does nothing to accomplish that.

If the reporting on FOXNews from last night is accurate, Snowe, Collins, and Chaffee are goners from the rules change, as well as McCain. Hagel, Warner and Specter are the undecideds, with powerful committee chairs Warner and Specter considered unlikely to break from the party. That leaves the ball in Hagel's court, and even if he goes with the Dems, it would be a 50-50 tie which VP Cheney will break.

One more thought: if Hagel goes the other way on this one, not only will I vote against him in a GOP primary and work for whoever his opponent is, but Nebraska is not too far away to prevent me from going there a few times to work for his opponent in the next Senate election.

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