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Ballsy move by Harry Reid. He's either got the votes and he's calling Frist's bluff, or he's playing one heck of a game of chicken. From a statement just released:
I still consider this confrontation entirely unnecessary and irresponsible. The White House manufactured this crisis. Since Bush took office, the Senate confirmed 208 of his judicial nominations and turned back only 10, a 95% confirmation rate.  Instead of accepting that success and avoiding further divisiveness and partisanship in Washington, the President chose to pick fights instead of judges by resubmitting the names of the rejected nominees.

This fight is not about seven radical nominees; it's about clearing the way for a Supreme Court nominee who only needs 51 votes, instead of 60 votes. They want a Clarence Thomas, not a Sandra Day O'Connor or Anthony Kennedy or David Souter.  George Bush wants to turn the Senate into a second House of Representatives, a rubberstamp for his right wing agenda and radical judges.   That's not how America works.

I believe there are two options for avoiding the nuclear showdown, which so many of us believe is bad for the Senate, and bad for America.

But I want to be clear: we are prepared for a vote on the nuclear option.  Democrats will join responsible Republicans in a vote to uphold the constitutional principle of checks and balances.  

Reid lays out two alternatives -- Reid's proposal from a few weeks ago, or a regular vote to change the rules (which requires 67 votes). And he throws the guantlet:
Either of these options offers a path away from the precipice of the nuclear option.  But if neither of these options is acceptable to you, let's vote.
I've included the full statement in the extended entry.

As Prepared for Delivery:
Two weeks ago, Bill Frist and I exchanged proposals in an attempt to avert a vote on the nuclear option.  

One proposal allowed for up or down votes on all but four judges - which many of us on both sides of the aisle considered to be the goal of this hyped battle over judicial nominations.  

It also took the "nuclear option" off the table, which even Ken Starr said yesterday was damaging to the Senate as an institution and "amounts to an assault on the judicial branch of government." This compromise would break the gridlock over these seven judges, and allow us to get back to doing the people's business.

Senator Frist's proposal does nothing to end the judicial impasse, as it would wipe away the very checks and balances that have prevented an abuse of power for more than 200 years.

That result is unacceptable.  

I still consider this confrontation entirely unnecessary and irresponsible. The White House manufactured this crisis. Since Bush took office, the Senate confirmed 208 of his judicial nominations and turned back only 10, a 95% confirmation rate.  Instead of accepting that success and avoiding further divisiveness and partisanship in Washington, the President chose to pick fights instead of judges by resubmitting the names of the rejected nominees.

This fight is not about seven radical nominees; it's about clearing the way for a Supreme Court nominee who only needs 51 votes, instead of 60 votes. They want a Clarence Thomas, not a Sandra Day O'Connor or Anthony Kennedy or David Souter.  George Bush wants to turn the Senate into a second House of Representatives, a rubberstamp for his right wing agenda and radical judges.   That's not how America works.

I believe there are two options for avoiding the nuclear showdown, which so many of us believe is bad for the Senate, and bad for America.

But I want to be clear: we are prepared for a vote on the nuclear option.  Democrats will join responsible Republicans in a vote to uphold the constitutional principle of checks and balances.  

If it does come to a vote, I asked Senator Frist to allow his Republican colleagues to follow their consciences.  Senator Specter recently said that Senators should be bound by Senate loyalty rather than party loyalty on a question of this magnitude.  But right wing activists are threatening primary challenges against Republicans who vote against the nuclear option.   Senators should not face this or any other form of retribution based on their support for the Constitution.  In return, I pledge that I will place no such pressure on Democratic Senators and I urge Senator Frist to refrain from placing such pressure on Republican Senators.  

I also suggest two reasonable ways to avert this constitutional crisis.  

First, allow up or down votes on additional nominees, as I addressed in my proposal to Frist two weeks ago.   If this is about getting judges on the courts, let's get them on the courts.

Second, allow the Senate to consider changing the rules without breaking the rules.   Every one of us knows that there is a right way and a wrong way to change the rules of the Senate; the nuclear option is the wrong way.  Senator Dodd will go to the floor this afternoon to expand on the way the Senate changes its rules.

I suggest that Senator Frist introduce his proposal as a resolution.  If he does, we commit to moving it through the Rules Committee expeditiously and allow for a vote on the floor.  It takes 67 votes to change the rules.  If Senator Frist can't achieve 67 votes, then clearly the nuclear option is not in the best interest of the Senate or the nation.

Either of these options offers a path away from the precipice of the nuclear option.  But if neither of these options is acceptable to you, let's vote.

Originally posted to Daily Kos on Tue May 10, 2005 at 12:05 PM PDT.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Wow (4.00)
    If this works, it'll be awesome. Especially because Reid is providing a role model for how Democrats can actually accomplish something--a model a lot of the Vichy crowd sorely needs.
    •  it works no matter which way the vote turns out (4.00)
      It's a win/win for Reid and he knows it.

      http://dumpjoe.com/

      by ctkeith on Tue May 10, 2005 at 12:11:02 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  This guy is fucking crafty (4.00)
        Really. He's one of the rare Dems who seems to think six or seven moves ahead. He's a chess player--something we've been lacking for too long.

        Show the love by contributing to the DSCC.

        •  didn't you get the memo? (3.65)
          he shouldn't be majority leader, since he doesn't get 4's for his views on abortion <snark>

          Some of you folks hid behind your Bible then, too, to justify your cultural prejudices, your denial of liberty, and your gunpoint robbery of human dignity.

          by jkennerl on Tue May 10, 2005 at 12:20:41 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Now, now (4.00)
            We who rather think that the will of the majority of the voters (women) ought to matter, sigh, have written that we are watching him on that issue and find it worrisome -- since it generally signifies lack of understanding of so many other issues such as education, income, etc., for women -- but we also agree that he has done darn well for the Dems of late.  

            We just judge you guys by your actions -- all your actions, not just your words.  I know that's so unsettling, snark snark yourself.:-)

            (Of course, even more unsettling was that Armando agreed with us and not with Kos.)

            "Let all the dreamers wake the nation." -- Carly Simon

            by Cream City on Tue May 10, 2005 at 12:39:31 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  tired of.... (3.69)
              "We who rather think that the will of the majority of the voters (women) ought to matter, sigh, have written that we are watching him on that issue and find it worrisome."

              Pro-life Democrats should be welcomed into the party. We should not practice a policy of driving people over to the GOP. As Kos noted earlier today, pro-women groups were partly responsible for the fact that Chafee won't have a Dem challenger in the 2006 elections. A few pro life Dem senators are not a threat to a women's right to choose. I'd rather have the Senate office.

              Thanks, NARAL, and whoever else was involved.

              •  Harry Reid's got big 'uns! (4.00)
                WALK WITH PRIDE, LAD!

                Swinnnnnnng loooooow.....

              •  Please just once (4.00)
                can't we all just get along?
              •  Chafee will have a challenger (4.00)
                It won't be the one picked by the DC Dems is the only difference.If this guy had the backing of RI Dems he would still be in the race.

                http://dumpjoe.com/

                by ctkeith on Tue May 10, 2005 at 01:00:49 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  yeah, but the RI dems only have so much $$$ (none)
                  The D.C Dems could pump in $$$ from the great American ATM- California.
                  •  Dour (none)
                    Ever been to RI?
                    They play hardball politics there as well as anywhere on earth.It wasn't money or California liberals that took this guy down it was RI Dems.

                    http://dumpjoe.com/

                    by ctkeith on Tue May 10, 2005 at 01:33:14 PM PDT

                    [ Parent ]

                    •  Which guy are you talking about? (none)
                      If it's Chaffee, I'm hoping we do vote him out.. the man is a louse. Was an absolutely horrible mayor in my town.. he managed to get where he is on his father's legacy, and help from RI Planned Parenthood's endorsement (as long as he helps preserve an illusion of choice). He is anti-workers rights, anti-social security, votes the wrong way on virtually everything that is of real import to the people.

                      As to the National DNC, as a RI'er I haven't viewed them as the problem.. it's long been the head of the RI dem party.. Bill Lynch (dem in name only).

                      If you're talking about anyone else it's completely bypassed me.

                      "Dogma does not mean the absence of thought, but the end of thought. " - G.K. Chesterton

                      by Mary from RI on Tue May 10, 2005 at 07:48:08 PM PDT

                      [ Parent ]

              •  You know what (none)
                That's pretty offensive.  Geez.  I mean, its along the lines of "hey, he's a segregationalist Democrat, but he's a Democrat" --

                Thanks but no thanks.  Its a little too close to home for me to say "just one more special issue" -- This party will get nowhere alienating women voters. And while women come down on both sides of this issue . . . there are an awful lot of us who don't want to see the return of the illegal back-alley abortionist.  

                •  I'd look at Reid's actual (none)
                  statements. I've seen some--which I can't find now, I just tried--that indicated his personal views are not exactly parallel to his political strategy. I remember that things weren't precisely as they seemed when I first looked into this. (Sorry I can't be more specific; maybe you'll have better luck or smarter search strategies than me!)
                  •  wow (none)
                    where were you last night when the bloodbath occurred?

                    Some of you folks hid behind your Bible then, too, to justify your cultural prejudices, your denial of liberty, and your gunpoint robbery of human dignity.

                    by jkennerl on Tue May 10, 2005 at 07:30:22 PM PDT

                    [ Parent ]

                •  How much is Reid doing for abortion rights... (4.00)
                  just by fighting the nuclear option? A whole hell of a lot. In fact, the defeat of the nuclear option is the most important fight for any Democratic group you can name, because for all we disagree, we should be able to agree that if Bush can pack the courts with whomever he wants, ALL of our causes are set back generations.

                  Women voters should take care to remember that before they dismiss Harry Reid for his personal stance on abortion.

                  •  Exactly, so I'm not dismissing him (none)
                    I'm grateful to him, as I've posted many times here . . . but I'm watching to see how he votes if EVER it gets to those infamous up-or-down votes!

                    "Let all the dreamers wake the nation." -- Carly Simon

                    by Cream City on Tue May 10, 2005 at 05:09:00 PM PDT

                    [ Parent ]

              •  Yeah, and what about guns? (none)
                I hope people know that Reid voted against the ban on assault weapons.

                I mean, that's not "party line" at all, but as a Nevadan and a gun owner, I totally agree with his position.  

                the "Internets" are gonna kill you guys. The revolution isn't being televised. -Me, banned on freepland and lgf

                by quartzite on Tue May 10, 2005 at 03:05:52 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  Just as a complete curiousity... (none)
                  why do you feel people should be able to own assault weapons? This is not a flame, I'm just curious as to how you support your position...

                                                      SpecialEFX

                  •  The problem with the assault weapons ban... (4.00)
                    ... was that it was mostly pointless. If I remember correctly, the first incarnation of it just banned specific model numbers of weapons. The manufacturers immediately changed their model numbers and went back to business as usual. The second incarnation banned weapons based on some specific, and with the possible exception of the limitation on magazine size, not very relevant features. And even the magazine size limitation wasn't particularly effective, since a) you could still buy large magazines manufactured before the ban went into place, and b) anyone with basic sheet metal skills can fabricate large capacity magazines with no trouble at all. Making them isn't exactly rocket science.

                    The thing is, there's nothing you can do with a so-called "assault weapon" that you couldn't also do with a hunting rifle. Passing the assault weapons ban was an exercise in appearing to do something about gun crime, rather than actually doing something about it. Gun control laws of this nature are a lot like the war on drugs - the people who intend to commit crimes with guns don't care if the weapons they use are illegal.

                    Sean

                  •  Personally... (none)
                    I think everyone should be allowed assault weapons so that when the government becomes a tyranny, it won't have a monopoly on effective weapons.  And yes, I would go so far as to extend that to ownership of missiles, tanks, etc.  The people need to have power over their government, and that includes the power to destroy it if necessary.

                    A gun in every hand, and a patriot missile in every garage!  Tsuraan for president!

              •  Chaffee most certainly will have a challenger (none)
                It will be Matt Brown or Sheldon Whitehouse.  I understand you are upset about the departure of Langevin, but please, such irresponsible and blatantly false statements do noone any good.
              •  I find it interesting (none)
                That anyone who takes the position the above user took ends up getting twos for doing so.

                Come see the house that Tom Delay built.

                by Goldfish on Wed May 11, 2005 at 01:33:02 AM PDT

                [ Parent ]

            •  Re: Now, now (4.00)
              We who rather think that the will of the majority of the voters (women) ought to matter

              The odd thing is that poll after poll after poll show women identifying as prolife with greater frequency than men.

              •  Not odd; what the suffragists said would happen (none)
                And I paraphrase one of my local favorite woman suffragists:  "Women have the same right to vote as men do, and the same right to make mistakes when they do."

                Plus, Republican women have had an edge for eons.  With suffrage, their party allowed them to organize separately, gaining much more autonomy and experience.  The Dem men, natch, only allowed a women's auxiliary.  (Read: to do the typing, the coffee-making, etc., for years.)

                "Let all the dreamers wake the nation." -- Carly Simon

                by Cream City on Tue May 10, 2005 at 02:21:47 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  You Choose (4.00)
                  In an ideal world, you would not have to make these choices.  The fact of the matter is, that we are not living in an ideal world.  And the world we live in, in fact, is more wildly divergent from the ideal at this point than at any other point I've lived through.

                  So in times like these decisions must be made and wounds must be licked.  The right to govern your own body is, I believe, natural.  Others do not believe that.  People who love on that belief along are going to be electing individuals that vote on thousands of issues other than abortion.

                  You're willing to sacrifice all of those issues for the one?  I know it's terrible to ask something like that of women.  And it's ludicrous that at this point in time, in the 21st century, we are still having this discussion.  But- this is a time of vigilant compromise and time well bided.

                  I can somewhat relate, however.  Do you think that I require Democrats to be 100% pro-civil rights for homosexuals?  In an ideal world, I would.  But honestly- I know that fight is years in the making.  And there are battles right now that must be won or the struggled for marriage, adoption and relationship tax equality -will- be set back even further the longer Republicans reign.

                  I want very much to raise a child.  Being able to adopt -is- central to my life because it will determine the state I live in.  That will determine the quality of the relationships I maintain with my family; it will determine the job I ultimately work; it will determined any future relationship with my partner.  It is central to my future.  Yet I don't force that upon Dem Senators (yet) because that future- where I raise my daughter- is so uncertain as long as Republicans are in power.  It's a terrible thing to ask of myself and of my community.  But it is more important to have a branch of the government fall under control of the Dems, because there is simply too much destruction being wrought right now for me to really only think of one aspect of my personal life.

            •  When it comes to "all women".... (none)
              Alot of us, haven't appreciated the way NARAL, Planned Parenthood and NOW have pretty much written off those of us not already comfortably ensconced above the glass ceiling. I'm as pro-choice as anyone, however, their endorsing republicans running for office whose commitment to choice is limited to those affluent enough to afford it (not that different from the pre-Roe vs Wade days, in my not so humble opinion). Their indifference to said republican candidates stands on worker's rights, health care, education because they've already got theirs.

              If you wonder why throughout the '90s so many women felt the movement had become irrelevant, perhaps it is because when you come right down to it... women are MORE than a reproductive system... yet that is one of the few issues considered sexy enough. Add to that the fact that "Take your daughter to work day", does nothing to improve our daughter's futures.. especially if you're a factory or service industry worker... and lest they forget, the un and underemployed, the blue collar, struggling middle class women are of every race, as well as being of every sexual orientation, and as hard as it might be for some to take seriously, there are other issues that are as, if not more important.. because they are survival issues.

              As far as I'm concerned, when it comes to whose endorsements I take seriously when considering who to vote for, I completely ignore NOW, NARAL and Planned Parenthood. Their stream of conscienceness is as narrow as that of the G.O.P.

              "Dogma does not mean the absence of thought, but the end of thought. " - G.K. Chesterton

              by Mary from RI on Tue May 10, 2005 at 04:06:29 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

          •  What Is This? (4.00)
            "First, allow up or down votes on additional nominees, as I addressed in my proposal to Frist two weeks ago."

            Maybe I don't get it, but doesn't this allow Bush to withdraw the seven objectionable wingers, and allows him to substitute seven even more objectionable wingers with a guarantee of non-filibuster up or down votes. If so, Reid may not be so crafty after all.

            Iraq is deja vu all over again.

            by chuco35 on Tue May 10, 2005 at 12:45:12 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

          •  memo received... (none)
            yea, cause I am certain being from nevada has nothing to do with how acceptable his position on abortion is...

            yup, yup.. nothing to do with it at all.

            You can lead an elephant to water but you can't make 'em think.

            by bill in wa on Tue May 10, 2005 at 01:24:23 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

          •  The other risk... (none)
            is that, like Daschle, he's from a red state and so vulnerable to losing his seat. You can bet he'll be the GOP's top target.

            NV isn't SC, of course: It's only marginally red, and trending blue (thanks to the continuing growth of its largest city). But come election time, he'll still be forced to concentrate on his own state, not the wider Democratic campaign.

          •  What's wrong with S,L,R? (none)
            Is there something wrong with safe, legal and rare?  That's Reid's viewpoint...

            the "Internets" are gonna kill you guys. The revolution isn't being televised. -Me, banned on freepland and lgf

            by quartzite on Tue May 10, 2005 at 02:07:46 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  Do you have a cite for this? (none)
              Because I just failed to find it. I remember reading something that indicated he actually was not pro-criminalization.
              •  Looking... (none)
                I think it was in a WaPo article, I'll keep searching or email him since I'm a constituent.  

                He's making strides towards education and prevention (unwanted pregnancies) in the link below.

                http://www.dailykos.com/story/2005/2/13/15476/1726

                I would think people would be more freaked out about his votes on assault weapons.  I own a gun so it's no biggie to me, but that seems like a party line.

                He voted for a ban on late terms.  I know tons of liberals that feel the same way.  Me, I guess I'm just about as libertarian as you can get on these issues, but I'm realistic about "soft" socialism like public schools, lands and roads.

                Smallbottle, I appreciate your contributions.  Your comments are spot on at least to me.

                the "Internets" are gonna kill you guys. The revolution isn't being televised. -Me, banned on freepland and lgf

                by quartzite on Tue May 10, 2005 at 03:29:22 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  Oh my lord (none)
                  I'm an idiot. I forgot he introduced the Prevention First act! I don't know if I love everything in it, but the idea was spot on. Brilliant. I think he stole it from some Kossack's diary!

                  I just wish he'd start to use this word for the extremists in the "pro-life" movement: pro-criminalization. Because I know a lot of folks who hate the idea of abortion, but because of events in their own family, are repelled by the idea of jailing women or their doctors. They'd rather start with preventing unwanted pregnancies.

          •  I GOT the memo (none)
            its just that I chewed it up and used it as a spitball.  I was raised in catho;ic schools, and I'm only now getting all that abstinence-only crap out of my head (I just have poor luck with women) but I know good preventive medicine when I see it.

            (I also see suicidal PR when I see it, but thats a whole other story)

            IMHO: code for the meager thoughts of someone with the social grace of duckweed. --T. Pratchett

            by Cynical Copper on Wed May 11, 2005 at 08:26:48 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

        •  Chess (3.66)
          Love the chess metaphor. Too many Democrats, like Kerry, never seem to have heard of the game. Reid appears to be a master, though.
        •  Not chess (4.00)
          Poker. Definitely poker. You don't bet the farm when you're playing chess.

          Frist either has to call his bluff or fold.
          However, I think Reid has a royal flush. Or 4 aces.

          Frist might have a pair of jacks. ;-)

        •  Run what ya brung, m-f.... (2.50)
          71 Chevelle Malibu, hugger orange with big black stripes, crate 350, mild cam, 4-barrel, edelbrock performer intake manifold.  
        •  Exactly (none)
          I was thinking the same thing myself just the other day.  I think Frist is in the mode of competing against Daschle where we were never thinking strategically.  In contrast, Reid is brilliant and I think is blowing Frist's mind.  The visual of the Repubs banging their head against the wall and going crazy makes me smile every time.  

          Reid is running laps around Frist in terms of positioning the Dems and keeping the Dem Senators exceptionally agile.  I am consistently amazed as I think most of the people are here.    

      •  Reid Plays Poker And Wins The Hand (none)
        Reid is showing us how to play Hold 'Em Poker.  He has guts, fire, and intellect.    He wins this hand no matter what the River Card shows!  Democrats without courage, spirit and moxie......take note!   This is politics as it can and should be executed.  It's apparent that the GOP believes Democrats will melt and go away the minute they are accused of "obstructionism and opposition tactics".   The minority party always has an obligation to its constituents whether Dem Or Repub.:   To try for concilliation and agreement......and/or compromise.   Failing that, on really important issues....stand up for what you believe in, and play the political cards you have to win for your position.    Yes.
        •  Frist is holding KQ, unsuited... (none)
          and Reid has just flopped the nut flush draw.

          Reid slow plays and traps the Feline Flayer...and then goes all in!

          This is better than the WPT!

          "But then I viddied that thinking is for the gloopy ones and the oomny ones use, like, inspiration and what Bog sends." -- Alex de Large

          by rgilly on Tue May 10, 2005 at 06:55:27 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

      •  it works no matter which way the vote turns out (none)
        That's the problem. There's no good inference from the fact that Reid is doing this to the conclusion that he's got the votes.
    •  There won't be a vote (4.00)
      Bill Frist knows he can't get 67 votes for this - if he could, then the fillibuster owuld be meaningless - he'd just get cloture. This isn't a farseeing chess move, it's a minor manuever to push Frist towards a corner - a good manuever, a very good maneuever in fact, but not nearly as dramatic as people here seem to assume.
      •  See things in context. (4.00)
        In the context of the way Daschle worked the senate minority leader angle (with a larger minority), or the way many 'thinker' in the Democratic party and centrist punditocracy think things should be done, this is pretty dramatic. If the Democrats were normally at all crafty in the past 5 years, I'd say you were right, but in the context of recent history, this is shocking.

        Let's stop worrying about who will lead us in 2008 and instead work on who we'll be in 2005.

        by pHunbalanced on Tue May 10, 2005 at 12:29:08 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  If Frist backs down, he can kiss the presidency (none)
        goodbye.

        Cat-killer.

        •  Kiss the Presidency Goodbye? (4.00)
          Hell, it's already 5 miles down the tracks and gaining speed, while he's looking for it to pull smoothly around the bend, into the station.

          "The face of evil is the face of total need." - Wm. Burroughs

          by oblomov on Tue May 10, 2005 at 12:34:56 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Frist has (4.00)
            faith-based presidential aspirations. (and a load in his shorts)
            •  He must be hearing voices (none)
              if he thinks right-winger pandering will hand him the presidency.

              Maybe he's just hoping to get career things out of being a presidential candidate. That way he can leave the Senate, hit the trail, be a footnote in a campaign history book, and maybe end up with a good consultancy, or a couple major book deals, or whatnot.

              "Think. It ain't illegal yet." - George Clinton

              by jbeach on Tue May 10, 2005 at 12:54:43 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  I agree with you completely. (none)
                 The religious rights impact in '04 was completely overstated. It was the Chimps use of 9-11 as an election tool that swung it....not to mention Blackwells shenanigans. Frist is buying into it and becoming a parody of himself. He is not going to get the "security Moms" or other such scared and confused Americans who voted for the Chimp. He is pandering to a lunatic minority whose stink will stick with him in '08.
          •  Yeah (none)
            Which is too bad in some respects because he would have been so beatable.  That is probably why he won't get the nomination to begin with though isn't it.  
            •  But who else do they have??? (4.00)
              They've got three brands now:

              • The people who have kissed too much fundie butt and now are unacceptable to the soccer moms (Fristie, Jeb!, Romney)

              • The people who look good on teevee but are also pro-choice and pro-gay so will be nuclear to the fundies (Giuliani, Ridge, Pataki)

              • The people who might make good candidates but aren't crazy enough for the neocon cabal making the final choices (McCain, Hagel)

              The problem is they're a victim of their success--all their constituencies are demanding payback now, which is only going to cause bigger and bigger ruptures in the coalition.
              •  Three Points: (none)
                1. What has Romney done to cozy up to the fundies on a national level? Sure he opposed gay marriage, but first, that's not that extreme, and it was more of a local thing, unlike Bush & Schiavo, and Frist and the Nuclear Option.

                2. There's still George Allen.

                3. What about Robertson's quasi-endorsement of Giuliani? If Robertson's willing to put his weight behind Giuliani, I think that ought to be enough to help him squeak through. In fact, if he looks like the voice of moderation against a Santorum or a Brownback who the fundies really get behind, that would make him a lot stronger in the general.
                •  That's the million dollar question: (none)
                  Will the consevatives in Iowa who show up on caucus night vote with their heads (Giuliani) or with their conservative principles (Allen, Frist, Gingrich).  Methinks that if Giuliani can keep racking up endorsements from people like Robertson, Dobson, and the rest of the fundie funnies, he may be able to get conservatives in Iowa to vote for him out of fear that if they don't, they'll be helping Hillary become president.

                  Which is funny because I honestly think that Hillary matches up better against a guaranteed flip-flopper like Giuliani (watch him try to parse his stance on gay rights) than she does against someone who doesn't seem like a total phony to conservatives.

                  I know the insiders are saying that George Allen will emerge as the dark horse nominee.  But inside the beltway thinking convinced people last year that Dean had the nomination sewed up with endorsements from people like Gore and Harkin.

                  Outside the beltway, Giuliani's name recognition seems to be giving him a big head start against Allen.  The only way that Allen (or whoever emerges as the conservative consensus choice--could even be Gingrich--shudder) could overcome that head start would be to feed the fundies so much of that raw red meat they love to chew on that conservatives begin to find any moderate candidate to be unacceptable.

                  Hey, it happened three years ago in California.  The fundies knew that they might have a decent chance of winning if they could just swallow their pride and nominate a pro-choice, pro-gay rights candidate (LA mayor Dick Riordan).  But they just couldn't do it.  They stuck to their principles and LOST MISERABLY in November.

                  (Then of course, they found a sneaky way of getting an electable Republican past the primary hurdle.) (But I've already whored this diary way too much.) (I'll stop now.)

              •  But that's what's supposed to happen (none)
                Once you start winning, your supporters get greedy. Before, when they were losing, they were willing to accept somebody, anybody, even if they disagreed with them on some issues, if just to win the election (see Kerry, John 2004). Now, they have some victories under their belt and have visions of grandeur. The same thing happened to us in the 1960's (the left turning on Hubert Humphrey of all people), 2000 (3 million people voting for Ralph Nader), etc. The Republican coalition is about to break, temporarily, but still quite satisfying. I agree that there is a very good chance it will happen in 2008, but even if they avoid the inevitable for one more election, the rubber band will break and the American Political Party system will continue, despite what any tin-hats might believe.
              •  Haley Barbour (none)
                You forgot the assbag from Mississippi.  Remember, the R's have a tradition of nominating previous party chairs for President -- see Bush I and Dole.

                And you forgot Peckerhead Cheney.

                There is nothing wrong with America that cannot be cured with what is right with America. -- Bill Clinton

                by ThirstyGator on Tue May 10, 2005 at 01:53:59 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  Hey, that's "Governor" Assbag to you (none)
                  and I'm using that pejorative from now on!

                  Haley is not only a serious possibility for 2008, he won the "Presidential March Madness" competition recently, and the punditry class is beginning to shill for the fat bastard. Example: Howard Fineman . . .

                  People here remember Haley Barbour as a slightly raffish Mississippi good ol' boy with a low center of gravity and a syrupy drawl who became chairman of the Republican Party, made a bundle as a tobacco lobbyist and then went home to--of all things--become governor: A shrewd inside player, but not someone who automatically springs to mind as presidential material.

                  It speaks volumes about the condition of the GOP that at least a few people around town are talking up Barbour as a Republican presidential contender in 2008--and that at least a few of his fellow Republicans (and not just his former business partner, Ed Rogers) seem to be taking the idea somewhat seriously.

                  Haley is demurly all "Elbow Length Gloves and Sugar Bear Hugs" about it, which means he's paying attention:

                  "It's always flattering for people to talk like you could run for president, but I don't intend to do that," Barbour said Thursday in Jackson.

                  Asked if that could change, Barbour chuckled and said: "I could lose 50 pounds. I might even grow four inches. You never know. But, that's not my intention."

                  We'll keep an eye out for the van outside the Governor's mansion with "Jenny Craig Deliveries" on it . . .

              •  Don't forget Senator George Allen (none)
                He gave a talk to Pat Robertson's Regent University, I think the Commencement Address this past week. Don't count him out.  He is quietly pandering but appears slightly moderate on the outside but is still from the South.  A lot of people think he is the real dark horse and he is pulling in a lot of money.  He was head of the Repulican Senate Campaign Committee and is owed a lot of favors.
        •  It is only his (none)
          immense senatorial (and doctor's) ego that leads him to think he could be elected president in the first place - he'e an even worse public speaker than Pataki was at the RNC.

          Big Media is hated by the GOP because they sometimes tell the truth. We should hate Big Media for the other 97 percent of the time when they don't.

          by Ugluks Flea on Tue May 10, 2005 at 12:39:43 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  The difference between Frist and Reid (none)
            All politicians have big egos -- they have to, or they'd run home screaming and crying every day -- but you've hit the nail on the head:  Frist is a physician (a surgeon, at that).  Reid, conversely, is a lawyer.  

            We're witnessing the difference between a doctor and a lawyer playing politics.  My money is on the lawyer every time in that game.  Which, yes, gives me some worry about about the current DNC Chair.

            There is nothing wrong with America that cannot be cured with what is right with America. -- Bill Clinton

            by ThirstyGator on Tue May 10, 2005 at 01:58:21 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  Dean was a Wall Street trader (none)
              Before he was a doctor.  How do those rate on the scale?

              "Patriotism is not short, frenzied outbursts of emotion, but the tranquil and steady dedication of a lifetime." -- Adlai E. Stevenson

              by eebee on Tue May 10, 2005 at 02:31:19 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  Not an anti-Dean comment (none)
                Don't get me wrong, I love his energy and vision.  And the professions don't always play out like this, but who do you hire if you need a difficult negotiation handled (above-board)?  You hire a lawyer -- and Reid is one shit-hot lawyer. By the way, I'm not a lawyer or a doctor.  Or a stock trader, for that matter.

                There is nothing wrong with America that cannot be cured with what is right with America. -- Bill Clinton

                by ThirstyGator on Wed May 11, 2005 at 05:56:16 AM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  oh, no... (none)
                  I didn't read it anti-Dean... this was just an off-hand comment.  I agree with you, lawyers are probably better politicians than doctors, and I wouldn't take that kind of generalization too seriously in any case.  I just wanted to toss in a reminder that Dean's got another side to him.  Although people who know him say he does have a doctor-sized ego.

                  It's funny, I've been reading a book on the Black Death, which occurred right around the time of the rise of professionalized medicine and medical schools in Europe.  There were excerpts from advice given to new physicians about how to behave with patients - things like, "even if you are in doubt, always act as if you are certain," and "if you don't know what to do, just prescribe anything you don't think will hurt." It's amazing how the attitudes have lasted 700 years.

                  "Patriotism is not short, frenzied outbursts of emotion, but the tranquil and steady dedication of a lifetime." -- Adlai E. Stevenson

                  by eebee on Wed May 11, 2005 at 07:26:51 AM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

        •  Meow meow meow meow, meow meow . . . (none)
          . . . meow meow, meow meow meow meow MEOW meow meow meow.

          I just can't get that cat food ad outa my head whenever I see him, the kitty killer. . . .

          "Let all the dreamers wake the nation." -- Carly Simon

          by Cream City on Tue May 10, 2005 at 12:41:08 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

        •  Well... (none)
          ...according to this he already has discounted any presidential aspirations.

          During the election, your name was popping up as a vice-presidential candidate, and now there are suggestions of you as a future presidential candidate. What are your plans for the future?

          Anyone who looks into a crystal ball has to be ready to eat crushed glass. Eight years ago, I had never thought about running for the United States Senate. Three years after that I found myself on the floor of the highest legislative body in the free world as a United States Senator debating day in and day out. That demonstrates to me the challenge and the impossibility that we all face if we try to predict the future. My goal right now is to spend the next six years in the United States Senate, making headway on issues like AIDS in Africa, a patients' bill of rights, and health care insurance. Beyond that I envision myself returning to the practice of medicine. A presidential or vice-presidential position is simply not a goal of mine.

          But that's of course from a college rag interview from pre 9/11 (May 2001), so we all know how that changes things.

      •  Frist to Use 'Option' on Owen (none)
        nomination.

        From THE WASHINGTON TIMES By Charles Hurt May 10.

        Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist plans for Texas Supreme Court Justice Priscilla Owen to be the judicial nomination on which he uses the "nuclear option" against Democratic filibusters later this month, according to Republicans familiar with his plans.

        They burn our children in their wars and grow rich beyond the dreams of avarice.

        by Limelite on Tue May 10, 2005 at 12:39:44 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  It changes the nature of the debate (none)
        Let's say this comes up for a floor vote. It does, and it doesn't get the 67 votes it needs (no big surprise). Then the narrative changes-- suddenly the word in the press is "Republicans lose vote to eliminate filibuster." Frist has to confront questions from the press about "How do you handle it now that your plan to eliminate the filibuster has been defeated?"

        The Republicans look like they've "lost" a fight and any further attempts to get around this look like they're gaming the system to get a second crack at doing something they already failed at.

        •  Frist needs only 51 votes, not 67 (none)
          to end Senate filibusters on all matters.

          The "nuclear option" consists of a parliamentary tactic in which a Republican Senator -- perhaps Frist himself -- raises a point of order, claiming that filibusters against judicial nominees are "unconstitutional."  The Senate Parliamentarian would rule that the point of order is not correct.  Then the presiding officer of the Senate -- probably Vice President Dick Cheney -- would overrule the Senate Parliamentarian and hold that the point of order is correct and that filibusters against judicial nominees are "unconstitutional."

          The full Senate then would vote on a motion to sustain the ruling of the presiding officer, with only 51 votes -- a bare majority -- needed to sustain the ruling.

          Since its inception in 1789, the U. S. Senate has permitted unlimited debate on "all matters before the Senate."  The Republican power grab would end this practice and would give George W. Bush a "rubberstamp" in the Senate on all nominees -- whether executive or judicial -- and on all legislative initiatives.

          The object is to confirm without opposition upcoming nominations to the U. S. Supreme Court.
          Chief Just Rehnquist, now 81 years old and afflicted with thyroid cancer, is expected to retire at the end of the Court's term next month.

          Justice Sandra Day O'Connor has said repeatedly that she wants to retire to Arizona.

          And Justice John Paul Stevens, nominated to the Court of Gerald Ford (to his credit), now approaches the age of 85 years.

          Once Republicans control the Executive, Legislative and Judicial branches, they will be in complete control of the government, wiping out the scheme of checks and balances inherent in our national charter.

          Civil war may ensue.

          •  true, but... (none)
            ...they could have used this tactic for anything requiring a supermajority. In light of that, there's no Senate business that requires more than 51 votes, because this tactic is always available.

            The only reason it's meaningful to say that things require a supermajority (67 to change the rules, 60 for cloture) is because the chair always considers precedent and the rulings of the parliamentarian to be binding.

            That's the reason this tactic has never been used before, and that's why this tactic is such an abuse of power.

          •  Has to be Cheney? (none)
            Does Cheney have to be the one to override the Parliamentarian?  Can they use an acting President of the Senate?  I'm seeing a PR coup for us, bust for them, if they have Darth Cheney pushing the nuclear button and making the consolidation of powers under one branch of government look pretty transparent.
            •  Another question I had... (none)
              ...is if the vote on the motion to sustain the chair's ruling is 50-50, does that mean that the chair breaks the tie, thereby affirming his own ruling?  Doesn't that seem like a conflict of interest?
          •  Actually that's breaking the rules (4.00)
            Rules can't be changed by 51 votes. Repubs plan to change the rules by breaking the rules.

            95% success isn't enough. Repubs want 100%--absolute power.

          •  True, but... (none)
            Yes, that's what Frist wants to do. I'm saying that Reid is trying to preempt Frist by calling for a vote on a change in the rules, requiring a 2/3rds majority (right?). Frist's way of changing the rules has a chance of winning. Doing it the "normal" way has no chance of success. So if Reid succeeds in getting the "rules change" vote onto the floor that inevitably fails, then the nature of the national debate on the issue will be about how the motion failed on the floor of the Senate, and Frist's parliamentary maneuvering will look like sour grapes after he suffered a huge defeat.
      •  Frist needs 51 votes, not 67, to break the rules (none)
        Clearly he doesn't have 67. It would seem he doesn't even have 51.
        •  He needs 50 not 51.... (none)
          Cheney is the tie breaking vote. Frist can't get to 51 as 50 is the best he can do considering internal opposition.
          •  Which makes it all the more nefarious... (none)
            ...since Frist can't get the 51, then Cheney gets to cast the tie-breaking vote on an appeal of his own ruling??  WTF?  Isn't that sort of contrary to at least the spirit of the appeal, if not the Senate rules themselves?

            I mean, if this is what really happened, man I'd be hammering the point home all day long.  Cheney just declared himself the modern-day Augustus with that move, by essentially voting to consolidate all power under the Repug banner.

          •  Obviously he has the ONE - it's the other 50, yes? (none)
      •  Hey (none)
        I thought the point of the the nuclear option is that it doesn't require 67 votes: the VP rules that the filibuster is out of order -- breaking the Senate's rules -- and then a simple majority ratifies it.
  •  Great move (4.00)
    IMO.

    "Just say no to torture." -Semi-Anonymous Blogger.

    by Armando on Tue May 10, 2005 at 12:05:55 PM PDT

  •  It's 10 years too late... (4.00)
       ... but we've finally got some leadership to match the GOP's.  We've rolled over for too long trying to be cooperative and working for the good of the country rather than just the party.  This is politics, not a tea party.  Here, here!  Three cheers for Reid!
  •  Whats happening right now? (none)
    Is this moving along today like some thought it might?

    Who among us is plugged into C Span today...

    In the midst of life we are in debt, etc.

    by ablington on Tue May 10, 2005 at 12:07:14 PM PDT

  •  Reid (none)
    Glad he's on our side.

    And if anyone missed this Decembrist post on how much better Reid is than Fristie, it's probably a good time to go back and read it.

    •  Our Western strategy will win... (4.00)
         I've been saying for a while that there aren't enough votes in the NE to propel us to victory, and we're locked out of the South until this religious fervor plays itself out.  The West coast is also a lock for us.  Therefore, our way out of this desert is in the desert - in the deserts of Nevada and mountains of Montana.  We're making gains in the state offices and now we should build on those on the national level.  Democrats coming out of the west have a much better chance on the national stage than those coming out of the NE and there just aren't anymore realistic dems in the South.  Our best hope is to turn the west blue.  Schweitzer, anyone?
      •  I've even heard that the long-dormant (none)
        Utah (!) Democratic Party has started to make some modest statewide gains. Though obviously not a place we'd think we could get a foothold, from what I understand from the eight million religion diaries I've read here of late, Mormons and fundamentalist Christians are not natural allies, so there's not an automatic jumping into the same camp. Also, lots of out-of-staters are moving into Utah. So yeah, another Dem bench slowly being filled in the West.

        The public wants what the public gets, but I don't get what this society wants -- Paul Weller

        by jamfan on Tue May 10, 2005 at 12:29:57 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  asdf (none)
          I heard the other day that Utah is one of the fastest growing areas in the US, in large part due to retirees coming from California.  Those retirees could very well be reliable Dem votes if we target them now - paging Dr. Dean?  

          A lot of the evangelical Christers (they're not Christians - the old testment was repealed!) look at the LDS as a cult, just as they do the Catholic church and Vatican.  But the Catholic conservatives and Evangelicals have made common cause, so I do think it's possible the Mormons will find a way into their coalition.  Maybe not though...

          •  Peter Caroon (none)
            Salt Lake County mayor, is Dr.Dean's cousin, I believe. Howard came to campain for him last year. Still, Utah is very red, and gerrymandered to stay that way. I've heard that they are trying to play let's make a deal w/ D.C. for each to get a seat in the house. Utah's would cancel out D.C.'s for sure.
        •  Start talking about... (none)
          the "martyrdom" of Joseph Smith and the Mountain Meadows Massacre between these two groups. Watch out as the old wounds and hatreds are brought to the fore.

          Reconciliation. Doubtful.

          Recriminations. Oh my, yes!

          Schism? Pushed hard enough, perhaps.

          "But then I viddied that thinking is for the gloopy ones and the oomny ones use, like, inspiration and what Bog sends." -- Alex de Large

          by rgilly on Tue May 10, 2005 at 06:15:54 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

      •  Western non-coastal states... (none)
        In order of future winability (for president) are...

        New Mexico
        Nevada
        Colorado
        Montana
        Arizona
        Wyoming
        Idaho
        Utah

        Of these the top 4 and maybe Arizona (but not if McCain runs) are winnable.  Idaho, Wyoming and Utah are all stone cold locks for the repubs.  

        Agree or disagree?  

        •  Agree... (none)
             And if, as I'm hoping, Schweitzer capitalizes on his success in Montana and goes for it in 2008, Montana becomes very much in play and the top oh two or three there become virtual locks as well.  He'll play great throughout the west.
          •  Word from my Momma (none)
            on the Montana/Wyoming border is that this latest "No Roads" repeal is starting to tip the scales.  People are looking to their aquifiers and other fresh water sources.  They understand "erosion" and wildlife habitat. Include that with the fire-sale of mineral rights directed by Norton earlier in the Administration, the ensueing salinazation of the groundwater, the continued hold on Canadian beef, and the assault on farm subsidies and it starts to look like there may be a problem for the Reds next cycle.  People are starting to notice exactly who is in power now...

            It's still upsetting for some people to know that the hippies were the ones telling the truth about Vietnam and trying to help America. - Anonymous

            by eunichorn on Tue May 10, 2005 at 12:50:46 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

        •  Mostly agree (none)
          I might put Arizona above Montana, but yeah, you're on the money.
          •  Forget About Montana (none)
            Here's the ranking of the swing states from 2004 (Kerry's percentage from best to worst):

            1. Minnesota     51.0
            2. Pennsylvania  50.9
            3. New Hampshire 50.2
            4. Wisconsin     49.7
            5. Iowa          49.2
            6. New Mexico    49.0
            7. Ohio          48.7
            8. Nevada        47.8
            9. Florida       47.0
            10. Colorado      47.0
            11. Missouri      46.1
            12. Virginia      45.4
            13. Arkansas      44.5
            14. Arizona       44.4
            15. Montana       38.5

            Montana is way way down the list. Dems won't win on the Presidential level in Montana. Montana is more like Alaska percentage wise than it is like Arizona. Nevada seems to be the best short term bet for Democrats in the West. The Nevada state population is quicly absorbing folks from close by LA (progressive Californians). Reid won't have to worry about any kind of challenge in Nevada by the year 2010. The Hispanic vote totals did not look good for Dems in New Mexico in 2004 -- very disapointing. The whole key to the Southwest in future campaigns, and thus to Democrats prospects in general in on the Presidential level, is the Hispanic vote. (There is much more upside for Democrats right now in the quickly growing Southwest, than in the Southeast). That is why a main priority of Schumer and the DSSC right now should be to be actively looking for Hispanic Democratic candidates to take on Sen. Kyl (R-AZ) and Sen. Ensign (R-NV) in a year and a half in November 2006.
        •  I sorta agree... (none)
          I live in Wyoming. Basically, we need a candidate from this area of the country. So many more people will vote for say a Bill Richardson as opposed to a Kerry or Clinton who are percieved as East Coast and out of touch with our realities out here.
            •  I don't know... (none)
              Schweitzer is kind of like Obama or Spitzer.  Great canidates, but are they still the-not-ready-for-prime-time-players?  
              •  we need a break from the past... (none)
                  ... if we don't get behind an outsider candidate now and give him the boost he needs, entrenched management will give us Hillary or Kerry or Leiberman - exactly the person we don't need.  We have a lot of way-too-ready-for-prime-timers in the NE, but that's a recipe for failure that we've tasted already.  Schweitzer has a good backstory - a  strong victory in a red state, a good way with people and none of the baggage that our stable of NE liberal senators bring.  People will give him a chance if it means getting away from the beltway.  And hell, has there ever been a less-ready-for-prime-time candidate than Bush?  If he can do it, my cat can do it.
                •  I agree... (none)
                  the Kerry/Clinton crowd are not good for 2008.  The ticket I would like to see the most would be an Edwards/Reid (and now the crucifixion from the pro-choice crowd comes) ticket.  Richardson is also good.  

                  Schweitzer (West), Obama (Mid-West), and Spitzer (who has clearly put himself on outsider status with all the lawsuits against Wall Street) I feel are three of the best candidates for the future.  

                  •  Edwards didn't even win his own state (none)
                    for the Dems last go around. He's worthless as well. Schweitzer would be good on a ticket, as Guvs tend to not need as much seasoning to do well. Obama need to be in the senate longer. Not sure about Spitzer, though I wish he was my attorney general!
                    •  First... (none)
                      I know this is starting to just go back and forth but...

                      Edwards was very badly misused last time.  As kos mentioned this is mostly the Kerry/Cahill camps fault.  

                      If you thought the two America's thing played well in the primary in 2004, wait till 2008 when the economy has tanked and the toppers parachute out.  

                      I would definitely agree with you that we need to look west to balance the ticket, as Virginia and Arkansas look to be the only possible true southern winners (I don't consider Florida south).  

                      Also you have to consider that Bush rode the (blind) conservative wave to presidency in 2000 and 2004.  As much animosity as there will be to Republicans in 2008, a democrat can not get away with the same thing.  

                      How about we compromise, Schweitzer for president in 20??.  

                  •  Schweitzer, Spitzer, & Obama... (none)
                    will make for one hell of a primary in 2016. 2008 is too soon for all of them.
              •  prime time (none)
                I wouldn't classify the Big Dog as "prime time" in his first election.

                I think Schweitzer could be the real deal in 08.

                nobody loves me but my mother - and she could be jivin' me too... bbking

                by town on Tue May 10, 2005 at 02:52:53 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

          •  Dear God a real westerner (none)
             
            Richardson is a guy not to mess with. Rough and Tumble thy name is New Mexico politics. He would mop the floor with Frist before breakfast and take Cheney on with coffee. A Howard Dean type without the hysterics. My only concern would be skeletons.
        •  Iowa (none)
          Just talked to an Iowa guy at a public television conf last week. He said where he lives, in the "West" the most popular program is about conservation (their word for environmentalism.)
        •  ID and WY not completely out (none)
          if the ticket was Schweitzer/Clark

          "pay any price, bear any burden"

          by JimPortlandOR on Tue May 10, 2005 at 01:52:37 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

        •  in perfect order (none)
      •  I agree, but don't forget about... (none)
        Colorado, Arizona and New Mexico,
      •  Yes, Schweitzer looks great for 08 (none)
        a 'real' westerner.  Plain talking, semi-populist, gets things done.

        I'd like a Schweitzer/Clark ticket, which could take the middle of the nation plus both coasts.

        "pay any price, bear any burden"

        by JimPortlandOR on Tue May 10, 2005 at 01:50:52 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Freeze out the... (none)
          remnants of the old "sesesh" once and for all.

          "Southern Strategy", your time is at an end...

          "But then I viddied that thinking is for the gloopy ones and the oomny ones use, like, inspiration and what Bog sends." -- Alex de Large

          by rgilly on Tue May 10, 2005 at 06:20:06 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

      •  Here's a Southern strategy for you (4.00)
        If we can win in the West and write off the South nationally, here's what I suggest.

        Massive states-rights outreach for the South. Do whatever it takes to deliver the South into the heart and soul of theocracy.

        After one generation, the South will never vote Republican again.

    •  In all due respect... (none)
      ...to Tom Daschle, it might have been the best thing that could have happened to the Dems for him to be replaced by Harry Reid.  

      Reid is braver, smarter, and craftier, and doesn't take crap like Daschle all too often did.

      As for the matchup of Reid and Bill "Kat Killah" Frist...it's not even close.  Reid is running rings around that hapless idiot.

      (sorry: Dr. Hapless Idiot...)

  •  As I said before (4.00)
    In another diary on the same topic, does this not bode well for Dems?  Reid has tried to deal.  He has tried to compromise.  Frist doesn't want to play ball, he just wants to win.  

    So, doesn't this look VERY good for us?  Dems should utilize every outlet available to repeat, "We tried to compromise.  WE tried to play ball.  WE are NOT the obstructionists, THEY are!"

    "Revolutionary change does not come as one cataclysmic moment...but as an endless succession of surprises, moving zigzag toward a more decent society."

    by saint on Tue May 10, 2005 at 12:08:46 PM PDT

    •  I agree this looks very good for us IF... (none)
      ... IF the public knows about it.  Alas, it seems so many trust their Rush Limbaugh sources and believe whatever spin is given them.  I hope that somehow, just somehow, the truth gets through.

      I think one of our best hopes, if not our best hope, is that at least a few Republicans show some integrity.

      •  Admittedly only one example (none)
        I almost never watch TV, but I did look at CNN Headline News for awhile yesterday and the newsreader covered Reid's compromise offer. It sounded very fair to me, including a mention of the # of Clinton appointees Republicans blocked. Frist came off looking hopelessly outclassed, so much so that even a few of his supporters probably noticed. If this is the way most media outlets are playing it then people will hear what Reid is saying, which isn't good for the Fristians.
    •  It looks good IF.... (none)
      The spin isn't that we're unprincipled and compromised because we were too weak to win.  I think the former, as opposed to the latter, is the more important image to protect against going into 2006.
  •  Ballsy for sure (none)
    Wouldnt expect any else from a senator who represents the gambling capital of the world. :) It strikes me if Frist had the votes, he would have done it. And it seems like many GOP senators over the days have expressed concern in some way. Good to see Reid is pointing the fingers at Bush too, dont think he can get away.

    Alan Keyes is so anti-gay he doesnt even believe in same state office seeking- Lewis Black

    by jj32 on Tue May 10, 2005 at 12:08:47 PM PDT

  •  Would Reid have any reason for saying this (none)
    if he did not believe Frist is going to continue to delay a vote on the nuclear option?

    And would Frist delay that vote for any other reason than that he does not have the votes, at least not yet?

    •  He can say it if . . . (4.00)
      He know Frist doesn't have the votes yet.

      Frist is frying in the place between his outraged constituents (I personally dropped a save the filibuster petition with 2200+ names at his Nashville office on Monday), and his outraged far-righties.

      I'm just wild about Harry!!

      Talk doesn't cook rice -- Chinese Proverb

      by OldYellerDog on Tue May 10, 2005 at 12:20:13 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Hey (none)
        I'd've signed it had I known of it <g>.  It figures that his office is a stone's throw from Belle Meade, while Rep. Cooper's is downtown and Alexander's is on West End.

        Whenever a Voice of Moderation addresses liberals, its sole purpose is to stomp out any real sign of life. -James Wolcott

        by latts on Tue May 10, 2005 at 12:28:48 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  Doesn't have the votes? (3.50)
        But haven't you heard Mitch McConnel say he has the votes?  You know Mitch, that solid rock of oracular certitude, who is married to the woman in charge of the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

        "The face of evil is the face of total need." - Wm. Burroughs

        by oblomov on Tue May 10, 2005 at 12:39:35 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  Reid channeling Harry Truman (4.00)
    I love this guy's style -- we may disagree on individual policies, but DAMN I'm glad he's on our side.  And besides, if everybody agreed with me all the time I'd become irrelevant ...

    There is nothing wrong with America that cannot be cured with what is right with America. -- Bill Clinton

    by ThirstyGator on Tue May 10, 2005 at 12:09:05 PM PDT

  •  Ah, time for the endgame (4.00)
    Reid set this up perfectly with his compromise offer that he knew Frist couldn't accept (at least without torpedoing his '08 aspirations).  Now, it looks like Reid knows he has the votes and is calling Frist out, while at the same time painting Frist and the other GOP Sens in the grasp of the theocons as the true wingnuts they are.  Perfect.

    The power of accurate observation is commonly called cynicism by those who have not got it. --George Bernard Shaw

    by Categorically Imperative on Tue May 10, 2005 at 12:09:07 PM PDT

  •  Reid's previous proposal (4.00)
    is UNACCEPTABLE. Either we stick to our principles and stand for something or all is lost no matter happens afterward as we've lost ourselves.

    If Reid thinks he's got the votes, then more power to him. If it's just a bluff to put that compromise back on the table, fuck him.

    •  I shake my head (4.00)
      and wonder what you are thinking.

      "Just say no to torture." -Semi-Anonymous Blogger.

      by Armando on Tue May 10, 2005 at 12:11:48 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Another possibility: (none)
      Reid has a better understanding of what the blowback will be if they actually pass it. So, if he has the votes to win, great, but if not, then he knows that there'll be hell to pay, and he has the Dem Senate Caucus well-positioned to give that hell to them and force them to retreat on the nuclear option, just as they had to retreat on the ethics rules in the House.  Either way, we win. It is really just a matter Frist deciding how much we get to beat up on them before they sound the retreat.
    •  Why unacceptable? (3.50)
      There are certainly judges among the Frist Seven who are worth going to the wall to resist.  I'm not so sure about the Michigan judges, though -- yeah, Clinton's nominees were screwed by the Republicans, but, well, we've had our payback now.  Unless there are strong policy reasons to say "NO" to them, it seems like a perfectly acceptable compromise to me.
      •  The Michigan nominees ... (none)
        ... aren't that far out there as neocon nominees go.  They're pro-business and that's about it.

        Part of the problem is the fact that the Michigan senators get nothing out of the compromise ... and Levin is related to one of the Clinton nominees that got bottled in committee.  

        "I intend to live forever. So far, so good." Steven Wright

        by gsbadj on Tue May 10, 2005 at 12:48:49 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  Rigid and categorical thinking puts you in the (2.50)
      butt can.

      "The face of evil is the face of total need." - Wm. Burroughs

      by oblomov on Tue May 10, 2005 at 12:40:52 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  all hail Reid, master of the game (none)
    wish we'd had a leader from Nevada years ago.

    Democracy demands discussion, disagreement and dissent. - Wes Clark

    by djinniya on Tue May 10, 2005 at 12:09:56 PM PDT

  •  Lets hope (4.00)
    this provides the momentum necessary to get the Dems out of the corner theyve been hiding in for the past 10 or so years.  

    Reid is showing that confronting the repugs openly clearly achieves results, while submitting to them (which seems to be the prevailing Dem strategy until late) only achieves more beatings and demands.  

    Take note, Kerry & Friends, this is how an opposition party is supposed to act.  

    Better late than never, I suppose...

    "Whensoever the general Government assumes undelegated powers, its acts are unauthoritative, void, and of no force."
    - Thomas Jefferson

    by Billy Shears on Tue May 10, 2005 at 12:10:17 PM PDT

    •  Confrontation (4.00)
      But Reid has offered more than confrontation. He has only pulled this after 3 weeks of dancing. In the process, he has made two "compromise" offers, both of which were rejected. I'm fairly certain that is what got Ben Nelson on board. And I'd be very very surprised if the two compromise offers didn't also get a bunch more people solidly on board.

      I'm all about backbone and confrontation, really I am. But Reid is doing one better than that.

  •  tick tock tick tock (4.00)
    Frist is fucked.

    visit my brand new blog.

    it's pretty. and informative. it's pretty informative.

    by Georgia Logothetis on Tue May 10, 2005 at 12:10:26 PM PDT

  •  Standing firm (none)
    Never forget -- we are RIGHT!

    Did I fail to notice your Tip jar?

    Talk doesn't cook rice -- Chinese Proverb

    by OldYellerDog on Tue May 10, 2005 at 12:10:46 PM PDT

  •  "That's not how America works" (none)
    LOVE it! What a great meme :) Go get'em Harry!
  •  Reid is (none)
    playing poker with a great hand. By forcing the issue, fristy is going to look like the wingnut he is and suffer a humiliating defeat. I am all for it.
  •  Reid Rocks! (none)
    How fitting a Nevada Senator... Harry "Goin Nuclear on your ass" Reid!

    "We can have democracy in this country, or we can have great wealth concentrated in the hands of a few, but we can't have both." - Louis D. Brandeis

    by VA6thDem on Tue May 10, 2005 at 12:11:54 PM PDT

  •  The butterfly (4.00)
    Reid is treating Frist like a butterfly in a speciman case.  He has him pinned down so that no matter what he does he can't escape the fallout.

    If he accepts what Reid is calling for, he knows he can't get the 67 votes and he loses.
    If he accepts Reid's initial offer, he loses because the far right wingnuts will wants his heart torn out.

    Even if they do vote and the Republicans can muster enough votes, he loses, because the majority of Americans are against this change and the right wing power grab is all the more blatant.

    And perhaps the most important thing is that Reid has placed Frist in a reactive position.  He has consistently been first in laying something out, and doing so in a reasonable manner, forcing Frist to react.

    Beautiful.

    Bush, so incompetent, he can't even do the wrong things right.

    by JAPA21 on Tue May 10, 2005 at 12:12:42 PM PDT

    •  One additional point (4.00)
      Reid is also, aside from the filibuster issue, starting to creat a theme that I think we will see a lot of next year.
      "I still consider this confrontation entirely unnecessary and irresponsible. The White House manufactured this crisis."
      The sense of "manufactured crisis" will be heard a lot, whether it relates to this, SS, tort reform, etc.
      It will be a consistent point on which Dem candidates will attack their Republican opponents, specially the incumbents.

      Bush, so incompetent, he can't even do the wrong things right.

      by JAPA21 on Tue May 10, 2005 at 12:18:19 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  "Manufactured Crisis" (4.00)
        Is also a great way to deflect the anti-gay marriage stuff, if the Dems have the guts to do it. Simply dismiss the entire controversy as manufactured by the far right and used by the GOP to hide the real problems in the country.
      •  Another Republican Manufactured Crisis. (none)
        A great negative meme. Could someone write a song.Maybe to the tune of "Old Shoe".

        Infidels in all ages have battled for the rights of man, and have at all times been the advocates of truth and justice... Robert Ingersol

        by BMarshall on Tue May 10, 2005 at 12:38:08 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  Manufactured Crisis #1 (none)
        of course, is the WMD that we have spent $300 billion to control.

        I've got blisters on my fingers!

        by Elwood Dowd on Tue May 10, 2005 at 01:10:47 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  That's exactly the point (none)
          There are so many, that we can easily make a list and pound away on it.

          And what's more, it is basically an insult to the American intelligence (although sometimes maybe deserved).  They are like the old snake-oil salemen, but this time they are selling crisis after crisis to create a background for the corporate takeover of America.

          Bush, so incompetent, he can't even do the wrong things right.

          by JAPA21 on Tue May 10, 2005 at 01:15:48 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  You are all on it. (none)
            Bush's entire administration has been about manufactured crises.  With manufactured crises, people are anxious, fearful and put on edge.  They go looking for daddy and mommy to take care of them.

            That is the story of Bush's administration.  

            Telling this story to the American people would be a good way to wake us from this nightmare.

    •  Reid is a genius (none)
      He has not only hung this issue on Frist like a cheap suit, but he's already forced Rove into playing his hand and exposing the WH's orchestration of this sordid affair. IMS, it was Rove who first rejected an earlier compromise offer before Frist could respond.  Manufactured crisis indeed.

      Reid put them in a LOSE - LOSE position and now it's a damage control and salvage operation.

      Reid to Frist: "Bring it on"...you gotta love it!

      nobody loves me but my mother - and she could be jivin' me too... bbking

      by town on Tue May 10, 2005 at 03:09:46 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  I don't think (none)
    he (Frist) has the votes :(
    But I'm a pecimist.

    Now, why am I wrong?

    I really want to be wrong.

    Celebrating the one year anniversary of ~americanEntropy~.
    Serving truth addicts since 2004.

    by hfiend on Tue May 10, 2005 at 12:13:25 PM PDT

    •  I mean Reid (none)
      not Frist.

      I mean I think Frist has the votes to break the rules to change the rules.  Sorry.

      Celebrating the one year anniversary of ~americanEntropy~.
      Serving truth addicts since 2004.

      by hfiend on Tue May 10, 2005 at 12:14:38 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Doubt it (4.00)
        When Chuck Hagel goes on a Sunday talk show and says "the Republicans' hands aren't clean on this, either...we blocked 62 of Clinton's judicial nominees"

        When Arlen Specter says that Senate loyalty is more important than party loyalty

        When the GOP waits it out while their base calls for an all-out assault,

        Bill Frist doesn't have the votes.  Too bad for him he doesn't have the balls to just take Reid's compromise offer.

        The power of accurate observation is commonly called cynicism by those who have not got it. --George Bernard Shaw

        by Categorically Imperative on Tue May 10, 2005 at 12:19:34 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  GOP waits it out (none)
          Wonder how much dirt RoveCo. is digging up on GOP senators to ultimately threaten them with exposure unless they toe the line?
          •  Rove has about a week (4.00)
            To get his boy's presidency back on track. If the moderates turn on the Bolton nomination (not saying they will, but I do think that may be related to why Reid is pulling this NOW, before Thursday's fireworks), you will have a clear, majority swinging group that will have veto power over Bush's agenda.

            If I were a moderate, if I were seeing Bush's polls, the way the Fundies forced the GOP into mass stupidity over the Schiavo mess, and were watching the way the nuclear option was being pushed, I'd be recognizing that now was as good a time as any to reclaim my party. But then, I'm not a moderate.

            •  The dance. (none)
              This is setting up a paleo-con v. neocon battle for '08.

              Paleocons like Hagel will begin challenging the neocon PermaWar and PermaFear and Xtreme Power as unAmerican.  (which it is.)  The problem is that once again, we may have an internecine GOP power play sucking the wind out of our issues in the MSM.

              •  Not only that... (none)
                ...just watch how fast the MSM lines up to fellate the GOP if and when the paleocons (which the MSM will call "moderates") take back the party.  Oh, God, it'll be sickening.

                Two-step, lockstep, goosestep: Herr Busch's three-step plan to a righter tomorrow.

                by The Termite on Tue May 10, 2005 at 02:37:28 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

            •  God, we need to defeat Bolton... (none)
              That would go a long way to bringing down the whole house of cards.
              •  I think Bolton brings things down regardless (none)
                He's like a wrecking ball, destroying everything in his path. Can you imagine how much of an embarrassment he will be for Bush at the U.N.? They're trying to push Bolton aside by giving him a job they don't care about, without recognizing the enormity of the platform he will have to speak from. I oppose him because he will be an embarrassment for my country if he wins confirmation (he is the least-diplomatic person I have ever heard of, and I was a court mediator briefly in California), but it will be even worse for Shrubya than it will be for the rest of America.
          •  Heh (none)
            If that's what Rove is spending his time on, so much the better.  It'll keep him occupied while the Dems save Social Security and the United Nations.  Besides, I don't think Senators like Hagel, McCain, and Specter really give a crap about what Rove might be doing.  These guys have been around long enough to have seen every dirty trick and supposed skeleton in their closet paraded around before.

            The power of accurate observation is commonly called cynicism by those who have not got it. --George Bernard Shaw

            by Categorically Imperative on Tue May 10, 2005 at 12:58:55 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  I disagree about McCain, Hagel, and Spector (none)
              Certainly the first two, McCain and Hagel, have presidential aspirations, and so they certainly do care about staying the the good graces of the party leadership.
      •  So what? It's win-win (4.00)
        1) If Frist does, Reid is now on record as:

        a) having offered up every possible way out for Frist, at a time when the polls are against the GOP stance WRT the Nuclear Option, AND:

        b) having the guts to stop monkeying around and call for a vote.

        This means that when the Democrats implement Operation Read Every Single Damn Bill In Its Entirety, the Republicans can't complain about it.

        2) And if Frist loses the vote, he looks like a total wuss.  

        Like I said, win-win.

      •  If he did (none)
        If he did, they'd be changed already.  The only reason Frist hasn't forced the issue yet is because he can't guarantee a victory.

        "Well... you could always hang yourself!"

        by Jugwine on Tue May 10, 2005 at 12:20:25 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  If he had the cards he'd play 'em. n/t (4.00)

        Resistance to tyranny is obedience to God.-Thomas Jefferson
        We are the resistance.

        by boadicea on Tue May 10, 2005 at 12:20:30 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Exactly (none)
          The GOP is so much into seizing power that THE VERY SECOND that they think they have the votes, everything else in the Senate will get thrown aside and they'll take an immediate vote.

          "I intend to live forever. So far, so good." Steven Wright

          by gsbadj on Tue May 10, 2005 at 12:53:48 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

    •  What's pecimist ? (none)
      Some type of peckerhead ?

      I had to ask.

    •  Reid counts votes; Fristie gets emails (4.00)
      Go read this Decembrist article. It should make you feel a lot better about Reid's ability to count votes.
    •  He's got 47 votes for sure (none)
      Watch Snowe, Collins, Hagel, and Spectre.  They're our best hopes.

      We need all 4.

      Three would be nice because it forces Cheney to vote which is like throwing a stink bomb into the Senate.

      •  Snowe, I think, has said that.... (none)
        she's against the nuclear option.  I don't have a direct quote from her, but a NYT article on the filibuster said Snowe is against, Collins is undecided.
        •  Collins.... (none)
          I don't really like her... She gives just about the worst speeches ever. (I'm from Maine.) Maine is about 55-45 in favor of dems. They have the majority in the House and Senate on the state level, so if she votes for something like this you bet your ass that I'll be campaigning against her when the time comes.  

          Snowe isn't as bad, but I'm still not voting for her. :p

      •  I've been leaning (4.00)
        hard on Lindsey Graham (SC) with letters to him and LTE at local papers.  He has shown signs of opposition, he knows it's wrong and has said as much publicly.  

        In typical Repub fashion though, he intends to go with the herd despite his moral conscience.

        Celebrating the one year anniversary of ~americanEntropy~.
        Serving truth addicts since 2004.

        by hfiend on Tue May 10, 2005 at 12:36:56 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  Of course Reid has the votes (none)
      If Frist tries to enact the nuclear option via a resolution, like Reid is suggesting, the Republicans need 67 votes, not 51 to get it. 34 Democrats will vote against the nuclear option - that's a hell of a safe assumption. Reid isn't risking anything, he's just making an offer that Frist can't accept, and trying to push back a bit, but there's no way in hell Frist will try to push a resolution requiring 67 votes.
    •  Seems like we only need 6 (none)
      given what Hagel and Specter have said, that's 2.

      Snowe and Collins of Maine often break with the party, and this definitely looks like one of those issues, esp. given that this would look terrible in Maine.  that's 4.

      I haven't heard what McCain's said yet, but he would be a likely 5, although if anyone wants to link to a statement, that'd be great.

      Chafee, who is as moderate a Republican as they come, might be a good 6, esp. given his reelection fight in RI, one of the bluest of states.  

      none of these are sure, but remember, we also possibly have Warner (VA) and Murkowski (AL) in the mix, and maybe DeWine?  not sure where that's coming from, but I read it in another response thread.  

      Point being, are we sure that Frist doesn't have the votes?  no.  but, given Reid's willingness to call him out, and this lineup, that prospect is at least looking reasonably likely (how's that for hedging my language).

      •  thanks (none)
        you angle is refreshing.  McCain has said he is against it, to the best of my knowedge.  but I can offer no proof.  Also my senator, Graham (SC), has spoken against the nuke but said he wouldn't break party lines, what a pussy ehhh?  I'll keep working him ;/

        Celebrating the one year anniversary of ~americanEntropy~.
        Serving truth addicts since 2004.

        by hfiend on Wed May 11, 2005 at 01:02:32 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  updated info (none)
          reading other sources today (and other threads) i saw that

          -McCain is a definite, as you said
          -as is Chafee
          -and Snowe
          -Collins is officially undecided, but i still like our chances
          -I think Hagel is also a very good shot
          -and though Specter has continued to work for compromise, I don't think it means he won't vote no, esp. since I believe he was just reelected by a pretty blue PA

          there's your 6, and like I said, there's still Warner (VA), Murkowski (AL), and DeWine (OH) whose comments are on one of the other threads.

          It'll be exciting to see this play out as political theatre, although admittedly, I'd rather just win as opposed to enjoying political theatre.

          •  Especially (none)
            with a supreme court seat opening up in Rehnquist throws in the towel.  We'll need that filabuster then too.  
            It'll be exciting to see this play out as political theatre, although admittedly, I'd rather just win as opposed to enjoying political theatre.

            agreed!

            Celebrating the one year anniversary of ~americanEntropy~.
            Serving truth addicts since 2004.

            by hfiend on Wed May 11, 2005 at 01:25:40 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

  •  For all you Reid fans (4.00)
    today the Washington Post had a great article, whose angle was Reid's sharp tongue. Here are some of his juicier quotes:

    "I think [Bush] is a loser," Reid told students in Las Vegas. The reply broke the tradition of withholding negative comments about a president when the commander in chief is traveling on foreign soil. Bush, at that time, was beginning his trip through Europe.

    "Last week, I met with the president and was encouraged when he told me he would not become involved in Republican efforts to break the Senate rules," Reid said two weeks ago. "Now, it appears he was not being honest, and that the White House is encouraging this raw abuse of power."

    "Amateur leadership," Reid said, assessing Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist, R-Tenn. He later apologized to his GOP counterpart.

    "I always would rather dance than fight," Reid said last fall. "But I know how to fight." had a great article today whose angle was Reid's sharp remarks.

    Next NYC Kossak Meetup: May 25 @ 7pm. Email me for details!

    by JaneKnowles on Tue May 10, 2005 at 12:14:36 PM PDT

  •  I like this (4.00)
    Second, allow the Senate to consider changing the rules without breaking the rules.   Every one of us knows that there is a right way and a wrong way to change the rules of the Senate; the nuclear option is the wrong way. Senator Dodd will go to the floor this afternoon to expand on the way the Senate changes its rules.

    I suggest that Senator Frist introduce his proposal as a resolution.  If he does, we commit to moving it through the Rules Committee expeditiously and allow for a vote on the floor.  It takes 67 votes to change the rules.  If Senator Frist can't achieve 67 votes, then clearly the nuclear option is not in the best interest of the Senate or the nation.

    Great couple of graphs. As Kangro X has been saying repeatedly, the idea that they are breaking the rules to change them is a big plus for us. Here Reid is calling Frist, and every Repub senator, out on their shit. Are they willing to cheat and destroy the last remnants of honesty in the Senate?

  •  my one quibble (3.50)
    This fight is not about seven radical nominees; it's about clearing the way for a Supreme Court nominee who only needs 51 votes, instead of 60 votes.

    This is far too easy for the Republicans to rebut -- so easy that I pretty much agree with it:

    "The Constitution does not require 60 votes for the approval of judicial nominees; it requires a majority.  Indeed, in the immediately preceeding clause, the Founders demonstrated they knew how to require a higher threshold when it was appropriate:

    [The President] shall have Power, by and with the Advice and Consent of the Senate, to make Treaties, provided two thirds of the Senators present concur; and he shall nominate, and by and with the Advice and Consent of the Senate, shall appoint Ambassadors, other public Ministers and Consuls, Judges of the supreme Court, and all other Officers of the United States, whose Appointments are not herein otherwise provided for, and which shall be established by Law: but the Congress may by Law vest the Appointment of such inferior Officers, as they think proper, in the President alone, in the Courts of Law, or in the Heads of Departments.   (Art II, sec 2, cl 2)

    "So, Senator Reid, if you would like to amend the Constitution to formally require 60 votes for Supreme Court nominees, propose a Constitutional amendment.  We'll have hearings in Committee right away, and if it gains the desired support, so be it.

    "But it's illegitimate of you to try to amend the Constitution through backdoor means by abuse of the Senate Rules.  If you want us to follow the proper procedure for enacting permanent rules changes, so should you."

    "Let's put our heads together/And start a new country up/Our father's father's father tried/Erased the parts he didn't like" - R.E.M., "Cuyahoga"

    by Adam B on Tue May 10, 2005 at 12:15:47 PM PDT

    •  You're talking legalism (none)
      and Reid is talking politics. He has the winning hand. Maybe folks should care about a statement like your rebuttal, but they don't. If constitutionalism mattered Bush would be on his way to impeachment by now.

      But the GOP may still pull this off by doing what they do best: having an O'Reilly Shriek Week about how Reid is a bedwetter.

      •  but what I'm suggesting (none)
        Is that it's a loophole that might undo the whole strategy: Frist can get up and say, "You've now made it official and clear that your filibuster strategy has nothing to do with any effort to extend debate on nominees, but rather it's just a backdoor effort to write your preferences into the Constitution.  The American people understand there's a process under the law for doing that, and you refuse to follow it."

        "Let's put our heads together/And start a new country up/Our father's father's father tried/Erased the parts he didn't like" - R.E.M., "Cuyahoga"

        by Adam B on Tue May 10, 2005 at 12:26:38 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  Not legalism (none)
        Sophistry and red herrings.

        the legal issue is changing the Senate rules in accordance with the Senate rules.

        Adam wants the filibuster eliminated. fine. But he should just say so instead of building strawmen.

        "Just say no to torture." -Semi-Anonymous Blogger.

        by Armando on Tue May 10, 2005 at 12:37:47 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  There is no "legal" issue (none)
          Insofar as we have no redress to the Courts if they have the votes and can pull it off.

          "Let's put our heads together/And start a new country up/Our father's father's father tried/Erased the parts he didn't like" - R.E.M., "Cuyahoga"

          by Adam B on Tue May 10, 2005 at 12:45:41 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Rules issue? (none)
            So the rules only matter if we can seek redress in the courts? I disagree. Strongly.

            "Just say no to torture." -Semi-Anonymous Blogger.

            by Armando on Tue May 10, 2005 at 12:49:42 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  In a real sense (none)
              That's all they matter.  They're just combinations of letters on paper that only have as much force as we choose to give them.

              Now, that said, it's important as a rhetorical strategy and as sound governance to promulgate respect for and obedience to the Rules, but without any kind of force to mandate allegiance to them, they are, in a real sense, voluntary.

              "Let's put our heads together/And start a new country up/Our father's father's father tried/Erased the parts he didn't like" - R.E.M., "Cuyahoga"

              by Adam B on Tue May 10, 2005 at 01:02:56 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

    •  um . . . (none)
      And this deserved a '1' from richardg because . . . ?

      "Let's put our heads together/And start a new country up/Our father's father's father tried/Erased the parts he didn't like" - R.E.M., "Cuyahoga"

      by Adam B on Tue May 10, 2005 at 12:27:26 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  You're missing the point (none)
      The nuclear option would prevent a filibuster of a SC nominee--THAT'S the 60 votes Reid's referring to.  

      Not the actual confirmation vote.

      •  well (none)
        What he said: "This fight is not about seven radical nominees; it's about clearing the way for a Supreme Court nominee who only needs 51 votes, instead of 60 votes."

        Clarence Thomas is the only justice in the 20th Century to be confirmed with less than 60 votes.  All the justices who were filibustered or defeated (likely) lacked that majority support.

        "Let's put our heads together/And start a new country up/Our father's father's father tried/Erased the parts he didn't like" - R.E.M., "Cuyahoga"

        by Adam B on Tue May 10, 2005 at 12:30:53 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  So what? (none)
          What is the point of your comment? What Reid clearly is talking about is the filibuster.

          You know, it is time you just spit it out - you think the filibuster should be eliminated.

          Fine. That's a point of view. I don't share it. And neither does Reid.

          "Just say no to torture." -Semi-Anonymous Blogger.

          by Armando on Tue May 10, 2005 at 12:36:32 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  What I've Said Elsewhere, Repeatedly (none)
            Is that I would not mind if it were gotten rid of across the board -- it is neither constitutionally required nor constitutionally barred -- but that 1995-2000 justify our using every means available from 2001-2006 to retaliate for the treatment of Clinton's nominees.

            No, I do not believe that the use of a filibuster to circumvent the Constitutional advise/consent role is generally justified.  It is here, but I want rules in place so that Presidents from both parties can nominate and have confirmed non-crazy judicial nominees of their choosing.

            "Let's put our heads together/And start a new country up/Our father's father's father tried/Erased the parts he didn't like" - R.E.M., "Cuyahoga"

            by Adam B on Tue May 10, 2005 at 12:45:02 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  We NEVER broke the rules (4.00)
              to end it. As we could have in 1993-94.

              I reject your casual appproach to this.
               

              "Just say no to torture." -Semi-Anonymous Blogger.

              by Armando on Tue May 10, 2005 at 12:48:43 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  there was no problem 1993-94 (none)
                Clinton had 19/22 of his appellate nominees confirmed while he had a majority.  It was only afterwards that we got screwed.

                "Let's put our heads together/And start a new country up/Our father's father's father tried/Erased the parts he didn't like" - R.E.M., "Cuyahoga"

                by Adam B on Tue May 10, 2005 at 01:04:34 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  There is no problem now (none)
                  Bush got 95% of his nominees approved.

                  "Just say no to torture." -Semi-Anonymous Blogger.

                  by Armando on Tue May 10, 2005 at 01:18:38 PM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  on a rhetorical level, I agree (none)
                    On a factual level, focusing on the appellate nominees only (which, you and I would likely agree, are the more important ones), you can understand where they're coming from.

                    "Let's put our heads together/And start a new country up/Our father's father's father tried/Erased the parts he didn't like" - R.E.M., "Cuyahoga"

                    by Adam B on Tue May 10, 2005 at 01:27:38 PM PDT

                    [ Parent ]

                    •  no, nope, non and nyet (none)
                      Factual level my ass.  That so-called "factual level" is cover pure and simple -- and you're providing it.  Or at least trying really hard to provide it.

                      A half-lie is still a lie.

                      The chips are down. Find your outrage.

                      by sj on Tue May 10, 2005 at 02:29:28 PM PDT

                      [ Parent ]

                      •  huh? (none)
                        Please elaborate.  We're grownups here.  We like to give reasons for our beliefs, and then we can debate them.

                        "Let's put our heads together/And start a new country up/Our father's father's father tried/Erased the parts he didn't like" - R.E.M., "Cuyahoga"

                        by Adam B on Tue May 10, 2005 at 02:35:56 PM PDT

                        [ Parent ]

            •  Inconsistent (none)
              You say the filibuster "is neither constitutionally required nor constitutionally barred..."

              Then you argue against "the use of a filibuster to circumvent the Constitutional advise/consent role..."

              These two point seem inconsistent to me.

              If the Senate is Constitutionally able to adopt a 60-vote cloture rule, then that rule sets the parameters of "advise and consent." The President needs to convince 61 Senators to tolerate his nominee.

              Conversely, if you believe that the broad term "advise and consent" necessarily implies a majority vote, you are claiming a prohibition in the Constitution.

              I've got blisters on my fingers!

              by Elwood Dowd on Tue May 10, 2005 at 02:25:54 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  it's consistent (I think) (none)
                If you believe -- which the Republicans do -- that the "advise and consent" clause places an affirmative duty upon Senators to render some judgment upon executive nominees which supersedes the Article I ability of the Senate to set its own Rules.

                As a constitutional matter, I believe we're right.  I just don't think that can end the inquiry here.

                "Let's put our heads together/And start a new country up/Our father's father's father tried/Erased the parts he didn't like" - R.E.M., "Cuyahoga"

                by Adam B on Tue May 10, 2005 at 02:35:03 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  Bullshit (none)
                  The Republican position is strictly political posturing (i.e. lies). If they really believed that the "advise and consent" clause placed any kind of affirmative duty upon Senators, then they wouldn't have bottled up so many of Clinton's nominees in committee without a vote. They have absolutely no credibility when they claim to believe otherwise now.
                  •  Of Course It's Bullshit (none)
                    I should have said "as they claim to believe now".  But we were on the opposite side then too, claiming that the President was entitled to an up-and-down.

                    Rawlsian veil of ignorance: make an agreement that takes effect on January 1, 2009.  

                    "Let's put our heads together/And start a new country up/Our father's father's father tried/Erased the parts he didn't like" - R.E.M., "Cuyahoga"

                    by Adam B on Tue May 10, 2005 at 03:28:38 PM PDT

                    [ Parent ]

                    •  2009 (none)
                      I've seen that proposal and found it appealing, until I realized that it is impossible. Today's Congress cannot bind the 2009 Congress on such a matter.

                      I've got blisters on my fingers!

                      by Elwood Dowd on Tue May 10, 2005 at 04:08:23 PM PDT

                      [ Parent ]

                      •  The Senate (none)
                        Is a continuing body, since only 1/3 can change every two years.  The Rules don't get re-adopted.  They're just there.

                        "Let's put our heads together/And start a new country up/Our father's father's father tried/Erased the parts he didn't like" - R.E.M., "Cuyahoga"

                        by Adam B on Tue May 10, 2005 at 09:18:34 PM PDT

                        [ Parent ]

            •  Not retaliation (none)
              This isn't about retaliating for the treatment of Clinton's nominees.  It is about stoping the Republicans from giving way out, wacko conservatives lifetime appointments to the judiciary.  

              In theory I agree that each nominee deserve an up or down vote.  I just don't believe that the this has anything to do with giving the President an up or down vote on his judicial nominees.  It has to do with the Republicans finding a way to 'legally' ignore the opinion of the minority regarding appointments to our Nation's courts.

              I said, "Step pause turn pause pivot step step", not, "Step pause turn pause pivot step pause"! Ugh... shudder!

              by Blue Neponset on Tue May 10, 2005 at 02:37:58 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  But We Can't Erase History (none)
                To be sure, every one of the Democrats in the Senate may have a different reason for opposing the nuclear option.

                If we're being honest, though, not all of these nominees are wackos.  Some, to be sure, are -- Brown being the prime example, and in a more bipartisan time, less ideologically divisive time, Republicans would provide the key votes to block her in an up-or-down as they did with some of Reagan's in the 1980s.  

                But people like Pryor?  If we had gotten our nominees approved in the 1990s, I'd have no problem with voting to confirm him.  Some here would stop him with any means, regardless of what happened in the 1990s, because they believe that the dictates of politics mean to oppose, oppose, oppose.  I take a broader view.

                "Let's put our heads together/And start a new country up/Our father's father's father tried/Erased the parts he didn't like" - R.E.M., "Cuyahoga"

                by Adam B on Tue May 10, 2005 at 02:47:49 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  Wacko-ability is debatable for sure (none)
                  Why 45 Senators believe a judicial nominee is a wacko is a completely different argument.

                  My argument is that if 45 Senators think a nominee is a way-out wacko then their opinion should mean something.  The Republicans are trying to make that opinion irrelevant.  This is a power grab pure and simple. The Republicans are trying to drape a Constitutional coat over this power grab, but it is a power grab regardless.

                   

                  I said, "Step pause turn pause pivot step step", not, "Step pause turn pause pivot step pause"! Ugh... shudder!

                  by Blue Neponset on Tue May 10, 2005 at 02:56:59 PM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  ideally (none)
                    That's what the true filibuster is for: we are going to seize control of the Senate, and debate nothing other than this nominee for days on end to bring public attention to what you're doing and bring pressure to bear both externally (from constituents) and internally (from your desire to move forward with other matters) for the majority to decide just how important the nominee is.

                    The question then becomes, okay, it's a week later, Senate hasn't done anything else, and every conceivable argument against a nominee has been aired.  Then what?

                    "Let's put our heads together/And start a new country up/Our father's father's father tried/Erased the parts he didn't like" - R.E.M., "Cuyahoga"

                    by Adam B on Tue May 10, 2005 at 03:05:00 PM PDT

                    [ Parent ]

                    •  vote for cloture (none)
                      If 60 Senators vote for cloture they have defeated the filibuster and a vote will be taken.

                      I am not sure what point you are trying to make.

                      In essence, the filibuster isn't about being heard it is about being listened to. There is a huge difference between the two.  

                      I said, "Step pause turn pause pivot step step", not, "Step pause turn pause pivot step pause"! Ugh... shudder!

                      by Blue Neponset on Tue May 10, 2005 at 03:14:17 PM PDT

                      [ Parent ]

                      •  y'know, I'm not sure either on that one (none)
                        Sometimes, I have to get out of theory-land.

                        I guess my point is that not all of these nominees truly deserve a filibuster under those abstract terms.  On that, we might agree.

                        "Let's put our heads together/And start a new country up/Our father's father's father tried/Erased the parts he didn't like" - R.E.M., "Cuyahoga"

                        by Adam B on Tue May 10, 2005 at 03:18:23 PM PDT

                        [ Parent ]

                        •  The catalyst for a filibuster (none)
                          has been the judicial committee vote.  If all of the Democrats on the committe vote against the nominee, the Senate vote on that nominee has been filibustered.

                          I can live with that threshold.  

                          We don't agree about filibustering each of these nominees. I think they all should be filibustered again if it comes to that.

                          I am not sure of your political offiliation, but as a Democrat I say there is no reason to compromise or play nice with this group of Republicans.  I don't want to be too dramatic, but I believe the Repub leaders truly hate Democrats, and would go out of their way to stick it to us.

                          To bastardize Clausewitz, 'Politics is War by other means'.  The Republicans are at war with the Dems and we forget that at our peril.  

                          I said, "Step pause turn pause pivot step step", not, "Step pause turn pause pivot step pause"! Ugh... shudder!

                          by Blue Neponset on Tue May 10, 2005 at 03:34:54 PM PDT

                          [ Parent ]

                          •  If You'll See Above (none)
                            (Or below.  I can't tell from here.)  I believe that the Republican tactics from 1995-2000 were abominable and justify whatever responses we have in our arsenal to do the same to their nominees.  That we've been able to succeed as well as we have with a minority in the chamber is extraordinary.

                            I'm just saying, in a world where 1995-2000 never happened, that Pryor gets through my Senate.  

                            "Let's put our heads together/And start a new country up/Our father's father's father tried/Erased the parts he didn't like" - R.E.M., "Cuyahoga"

                            by Adam B on Tue May 10, 2005 at 03:42:40 PM PDT

                            [ Parent ]

                •  Read about Pryor again (none)
                  You have no idea how much of an extremist he is if you would even consider voting for him. Pryor was a leader of the theocratic wing of the Republican party in Alabama before his recess appointment. Opposing him has nothing to do with payback or mindless opposition.
                  •  I've read it all (none)
                    When pushed, he led the fight against Judge Roy Moore.  

                    To be sure, I disagree with most of what he'd hold in disputed cases.  But we didn't win the 2004 elections, and we don't get to nominate, and in 2009, when O'Connor retires, I want President Clinton to be able to put one of our activist AGs (Spitzer, Blumenthal) on the bench.

                    "Let's put our heads together/And start a new country up/Our father's father's father tried/Erased the parts he didn't like" - R.E.M., "Cuyahoga"

                    by Adam B on Tue May 10, 2005 at 03:47:34 PM PDT

                    [ Parent ]

    •  The counterresponse... (none)
      ...is that the framers also granted each house of Congress the right to set its own rules, and it is the President's obligation to work with the Senate to get consent on the terms the Senate sets in its own rules.

      There is no Constitutional obligation for the Senate to exercise its prerogative to withold consent from a nominee only through a negative vote. The Senate can set whatever rules it wants, and it is the President's job to secure consent within those rules.

      And, the good part is, while it works just as well as the Republican argument as a legalism, and is (IMO) equally useful in terms of PR, it also appeals directly to the Senators involved.

      •  insufficient (none)
        Frist then says (and please, stop me from having to channel a felicidist): "Sure, but we're using a legitimate means to amend the Senate Rules here."

        Don't get me wrong; I believe the nuclear option is illegitimate.  But he can say that with a straight face.

        "Let's put our heads together/And start a new country up/Our father's father's father tried/Erased the parts he didn't like" - R.E.M., "Cuyahoga"

        by Adam B on Tue May 10, 2005 at 12:34:47 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  It's legitimate to break the rules? (4.00)
          Your argument simply does not hold water.

          And what bothers me is that I think you are forwarding it for reasons that have nothing to do with its merit - to wit, you want the filibuster eliminated.

          Nothing wrong with that  but just say so.

          "Just say no to torture." -Semi-Anonymous Blogger.

          by Armando on Tue May 10, 2005 at 12:44:07 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Geez, Armando (none)
            Were you afraid I wouldn't respond to that allegation, since you posted it 3-4 times in a row.

            And it doesn't matter whether it's "legitimate" if they have the power to do it -- and once they do it here, we have no way to stop that 51-vote SCOTUS nominee.

            "Let's put our heads together/And start a new country up/Our father's father's father tried/Erased the parts he didn't like" - R.E.M., "Cuyahoga"

            by Adam B on Tue May 10, 2005 at 12:50:02 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  What? (4.00)
              You make the same comment 3 or 4 times in a row and I give the same response to the same comment 3 or 4 timwes in a row and you complain?

              I'll make a deal with you - stop writing the same comment and I'll stop responding with the same response.

              "Just say no to torture." -Semi-Anonymous Blogger.

              by Armando on Tue May 10, 2005 at 01:12:46 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

        •  but they are not. (none)
          They means they are using is having Dick Cheney issue a ruling from the chair that the judicial filibuster is unconstitutional.  Which he is not supposed to do.  And then proposing to change the rule by majority vote, which itself is against the rules.

          "Patriotism is not short, frenzied outbursts of emotion, but the tranquil and steady dedication of a lifetime." -- Adlai E. Stevenson

          by eebee on Tue May 10, 2005 at 12:47:08 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

        •  Legitimate means? (none)
          They are asking Dick Cheney to rule the existing Senate rules unconstitutional, despite the fact that there is nothing in the text of the Constitution that prohibits the Senate from making and applying the rule in question -- in fact, the Constitution specifically allows Congress to make its own rules, and no one can point to any provision of the Constitution which excludes from that power the right to set any threshold it wants for cutting of debate on a Presidential nominee.

          They're asking to have the rules adopted by the Senate ruled unconstitutional not because they are, in fact, contrary to the Constitution, but because they don't like the results of the rules.

          Legitimate means? Hardly. They are seeking to do exactly what they accuse "activist judges" of doing.

          •  factually, I agree (none)
            This is not a legitimate means.  I'm just saying that he can say it without laughing.

            "Let's put our heads together/And start a new country up/Our father's father's father tried/Erased the parts he didn't like" - R.E.M., "Cuyahoga"

            by Adam B on Tue May 10, 2005 at 01:28:50 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  He might be able to... (none)
              ...say it without laughing, but he won't be able to say it withotu being laughed at if the facts are on the table.
              •  but if that mattered (none)
                We wouldn't be in this mess, because Frist wouldn't come close to 51.  Sadly, enough of his fellow Senators buy it, and that's the audience that matters.

                "Let's put our heads together/And start a new country up/Our father's father's father tried/Erased the parts he didn't like" - R.E.M., "Cuyahoga"

                by Adam B on Tue May 10, 2005 at 03:23:44 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  If enough of his fellow Senators were buying it... (none)
                  ...he would have already pulled the nuclear trigger. He's hoping he can wage a war of rhetoric while fundy groups work a ground game to drum up political support so that he can get the votes, but the votes aren't there, or they wouldn't keep threatening and stalling.
                •  His fellow Senators don't buy it (none)
                  They're not stupid people. They all realize that what Cheney and Frist are proposing violates established Senate rules. What they are doing is calculating that the damage to the rules is justified by the political gains they get from it. The audience that matters is the general populace, and they will be pissed if the media reports on this objectively. Which they seem to be doing so far. Reid is winning the PR war.
    •  Nonsense (4.00)
      Your rebuttal, one you have repeated on many occasions, simply misses the point - it is for the Senate to decide its rules.

      The rules require 67 votes to change the rules.

      The rules currently permit filibuster unless 60 vote for cloture.

      It is that simple.

      Why do you continue missing the point here?

      "Just say no to torture." -Semi-Anonymous Blogger.

      by Armando on Tue May 10, 2005 at 12:34:23 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  I don't miss the point (none)
        I just disagree with you.  Because in truth, it's not what the Senate is supposed to do that matters here; it's what they have the power to do.  We are dealing with a Republican majority that no longer cares to abide by the traditions of the body, but wants to push through anything they've got 51 votes for.

        And you and I both know that if he has those 51 votes, there's nothing we can do to stop them.

        So the only thing we have left are appeals to reason, in hoping that veterans like Specter and Warner care more about their legacy and the institution of the Senate than they do about the here and now.  And in making those appeals, we can't go too far and cede too much ground, and I fear we've done that here.

        "Let's put our heads together/And start a new country up/Our father's father's father tried/Erased the parts he didn't like" - R.E.M., "Cuyahoga"

        by Adam B on Tue May 10, 2005 at 12:41:40 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  The rules don't matter? (4.00)
          How can you say that?

          I completely disagree with you.

          Is it a question of Constitutional rules? Of course not.

          But that does not make it not a question of the rules.

          I reject your characterization of this as just a question of power.

          This is very much a question of principle - the principle of following the rules.

          That is no mere legalism. If the rules and the laws mean nothing, then what are we? Certainly not a nation of laws.

          "Just say no to torture." -Semi-Anonymous Blogger.

          by Armando on Tue May 10, 2005 at 12:46:56 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  That's Just Rhetoric (none)
            If they can do it, boom, it's the law.  Whether it's right or not, whether it's justified or not, whether it's constitutional or not is, in a real sense, irrelevant: they've done it and we can't stop it.

            You seem to think that just because we're right about this -- about how the rules of the Senate ought to be observed -- that that means that they can't still pull it off.

            In a very real sense, it does not matter whether, in some pure, Platonic sense, we're right.

            "Let's put our heads together/And start a new country up/Our father's father's father tried/Erased the parts he didn't like" - R.E.M., "Cuyahoga"

            by Adam B on Tue May 10, 2005 at 12:53:33 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  Sheesh (4.00)
              That strikes me as one of the most unbelievable arguments I have ever heard.

              And your resort to ascribing opinions to me that I have never expressed, indeed, my posting pattern has shown it to be the opposite - that they CAN'T do it, really sinks this discussion to a new low.

              If you can do it it is the law is your argument.

              Well, that is a despicable point of view I won't argue with.

              Later.

              "Just say no to torture." -Semi-Anonymous Blogger.

              by Armando on Tue May 10, 2005 at 01:03:11 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  it's called legal realism, Armando (none)
                (And, to a certain extent, critical legal studies.)

                And you should remember from law school.  What I'm outlining is not a normative theory; it's a descriptive one.  At the end of the day, the only "law" that matters is that which forces someone to do some thing or punishes someone for a thing already done.  

                Let me put it this way: if the President ordered a batallion of soldiers to be quartered at my home, and the Courts refused to stop them, would it still be unconstitutional in any meaningful sense?

                "Let's put our heads together/And start a new country up/Our father's father's father tried/Erased the parts he didn't like" - R.E.M., "Cuyahoga"

                by Adam B on Tue May 10, 2005 at 01:14:12 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  I'm not describing in objective terms (none)
                  Despicable is a pejorative, and an intentional one.

                  "Just say no to torture." -Semi-Anonymous Blogger.

                  by Armando on Tue May 10, 2005 at 01:38:16 PM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  Gosh, Really? (none)
                    I didn't know what that word meant before.

                    I don't know why you refuse to engage me on this point: saying that the nuclear option is "illegal" resolves the issue no more than declaring the war in Iraq "illegal": on a normative level, it may be true in both cases, but that's no comfort whatsoever to the victims.

                    "Let's put our heads together/And start a new country up/Our father's father's father tried/Erased the parts he didn't like" - R.E.M., "Cuyahoga"

                    by Adam B on Tue May 10, 2005 at 01:42:13 PM PDT

                    [ Parent ]

                    •  Wha? (none)
                      What do you expect us to resolve here?

                      You were pursuing a disingenuous line of argument and I called you on it.

                      Now you accept that the nucl;ear option is "illegal," or more properly, breaks the rules, and that means something to me, if not you.

                      Is there something else you want to discuss about it? fine, I am game.

                      "Just say no to torture." -Semi-Anonymous Blogger.

                      by Armando on Tue May 10, 2005 at 01:51:57 PM PDT

                      [ Parent ]

                      •  huh? (none)
                        There is nothing disingenuous about my argument.  I have always contended that the nuclear option would violate the Senate Rules; however, as you properly note, we disagree as to whether that means anything so long as they can get away with it.

                        "Let's put our heads together/And start a new country up/Our father's father's father tried/Erased the parts he didn't like" - R.E.M., "Cuyahoga"

                        by Adam B on Tue May 10, 2005 at 01:56:51 PM PDT

                        [ Parent ]

                •  your words eat themselves. (none)
                  what you are describing is not at all "legal realism" or "critical legal studies".

                  legal sophistry is more accurate.

                  •  Then I'll Ask You This (none)
                    When Fifth Circuit Justice Priscilla Owen casts the critical vote to deny a death row inmate's final petition for a stay of execution, and he is, in fact, put to death, then how would it be meaningful to characterize her appointment as "illegal"?

                    If you're not familiar with the schools of legal philosophy being discussed here, then namecalling gets us nowhere.

                    "Let's put our heads together/And start a new country up/Our father's father's father tried/Erased the parts he didn't like" - R.E.M., "Cuyahoga"

                    by Adam B on Tue May 10, 2005 at 01:54:19 PM PDT

                    [ Parent ]

                    •  What legal philosophy? (none)
                      I don't remember anything like your philosophy from law school (except for the jerks in ethics class who were mainly interested in finding the limits of what they could get away with without being disbarred). What it sounds like is neo-conservatism. There is no objective right and wrong. Might makes right. He who has the power makes the rules. Screw precedent and consensus. That's a very democratic view of politics you have there. Read any Strauss lately?
                      •  Leo or David? (none)
                        I'm not employing it as a normative theory, only as a descriptive one.  

                        I believe in right and wrong, and that the nuclear option violates Senate Rules.  I just am saying, as a factual matter, that a 51 vote majority can do whatever it wants, regardless.

                        "Let's put our heads together/And start a new country up/Our father's father's father tried/Erased the parts he didn't like" - R.E.M., "Cuyahoga"

                        by Adam B on Tue May 10, 2005 at 04:16:11 PM PDT

                        [ Parent ]

                    •  Your purported familiarity... (none)
                      with "schools of legal philosophy" has unfortunately not made you adept at applying the concepts from these schools to examples in the real world.  

                      You are throwing around terms, imagining fanciful scenarios and making conclusory statements with little basis in fact or law.  Many of your statements are tautological and therefore add nothing to the thread.  

                      Sophistry is an apt description.

                      •  "conclusory" (none)
                        That's all I can say about this post above.  You tell the readers that I'm wrong without bothering to explain why.  Do you think so little of them, or is the fact that it's coming from you supposed to be sufficient?

                        "Let's put our heads together/And start a new country up/Our father's father's father tried/Erased the parts he didn't like" - R.E.M., "Cuyahoga"

                        by Adam B on Tue May 10, 2005 at 07:29:44 PM PDT

                        [ Parent ]

        •  It's 50 not 51 votes (none)
          when you have the VP to break ties for you.
        •  Except that (none)
          by every treatise on parliamentary law or procedure I've ever seen, a two-thirds or supermajority vote is required to change the rules of procedure once they have been established. The higher threshold is precisely to protect the rights of the minority, which is one of the goals of parliamentary procedure in the first place. You can pass some rules by majority vote, but adoption of a new set of bylaws or rules of procedure, and any changes to the rules or bylaws once they have been adopted, traditionally takes two-thirds or better.
        •  Stop, no, reverse, maybe... (none)
          And you and I both know that if he has those 51 votes, there's nothing we can do to stop them.

          The whole nonjusticiable question doctrine -- as clearly wrong as it is -- works both ways. It means that when we control the House and impeach all the judges they forced through with the unconstitutional procedure, there is no forum they can go to undo the impeachments, to protest that they were legal, or that, even if they weren't, that's not a ground for impeachment.

          And their embrace of naked activism in this case is a huge political hammer against their arguments about "activist judges", and the Constitutional argument is a powerful tool for our side to undermine their frame on that issue.

          Its not that we can force them to comply with the law, its that their unwillingness to comply with the law is a political weakness we can exploit which directly undermines one of the frames that is critical to their pursuit of their extremist agenda. And that we can use that to push back to weaken them politically, and if they still pull the nuclear trigger, we can punish them at the ballot boxes and, having done that, we can use the same unrestrained power that they have now to undo the damage they do.

          •  Absolutely (none)
            If they want to say that "as long as we've got our 51, anything goes," and all trappings of reasonableness and consensus are gone, then, hell yes, we bring out the baseball bats when we can.

            I hadn't thought of the impeachment retaliation before.  Wow.

            "Let's put our heads together/And start a new country up/Our father's father's father tried/Erased the parts he didn't like" - R.E.M., "Cuyahoga"

            by Adam B on Tue May 10, 2005 at 03:40:17 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  "An eye for an eye"... (none)
              ...may not be a good rule for a civilized society, but unless we have a consensus around a shared set of rules, we don't have a civilized society.

              We have a ungoverned situation where each side is maximizing its own utility, and its pretty demonstrable that in that case, lex talionis-style retaliation works, and is the only thing that works, until you can establish an agreed framework again from the mutual desire to end the retaliation.

              Which is why we've got to pull every political tool we have against them going nuclear, in a way which sets us up to win if they do, and then retaliate in direct proportion to their violation of the rules.

              •  But that's what worries me (none)
                If they win the vote, and then proceed to not only get these appellate judges confirmed but people on SCOTUS with a bare 51 votes, then as much as I like the idea of impeaching improperly-confirmed judges, it's not going to happen.  We've lost.

                We need to keep appealing to the better angels of Arlen Specter's nature, and hope for a win or a compromise we can live with.

                "Let's put our heads together/And start a new country up/Our father's father's father tried/Erased the parts he didn't like" - R.E.M., "Cuyahoga"

                by Adam B on Tue May 10, 2005 at 03:54:27 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  What do you mean... (none)
                  ...that "its not going to happen"? The only thing standing in the way is (1) Democrats not effectively winning elections, or (2) Democrats choosing to play nice.

                  Going nuclear won't achieve #1 unless the new judges are outright partisan tyrants that directly subvert democracy, in which case, yeah, that is something where the remedy is increasingly pushed out of the sphere governed by the 1789 rules and into the sphere of the 1776 rules.

                  Government resting on the consent of the governed is not so much an ideal as an unalterable fact; only as long as the people can be convinced to go along with it can governors take any action. In a sense, there is no other law -- its politics all the way down. So, yes, its ultimately a political question -- as are all questions of government -- that we must win in the public sphere.

                  But it shouldn't rely on Arlen Specter's "better angels", we should make it an issue of the present Congressional majorities political self-interest. Because, frankly, I don't want to rely on Arlen Specter having "better angels".

                  •  I think it's because (none)
                    Of (2) -- whatever norms the Republicans are breaking now, asking House Democrats to start impeaching judges en masse (when so many of them are in swing districts or are Blue Dogs) is something that I wouldn't predict happening.  At the least, I'd like to see some of them start to spread this meme right now: if you do this, Frist, we will impeach them.  Make those stakes clear.

                    I spent a year of my life studying Arlen Specter.  He has no angels, better or worse.  But what he does have is a desire to have power and wield it, and I'm convinced that he will force a compromise here to portray himself as one of history's Defenders Of The Senate.

                    It is the fact of these men's massive egos and their desire to have a legacy that will ultimately foil Frist's plan, I believe.  His desire to be President is not greater than Specter's, Hagel's or McCain's desire to be Historic Figures.

                    "Let's put our heads together/And start a new country up/Our father's father's father tried/Erased the parts he didn't like" - R.E.M., "Cuyahoga"

                    by Adam B on Tue May 10, 2005 at 04:12:43 PM PDT

                    [ Parent ]

                    •  Watching a revolution... (none)
                      Of (2) -- whatever norms the Republicans are breaking now, asking House Democrats to start impeaching judges en masse (when so many of them are in swing districts or are Blue Dogs) is something that I wouldn't predict happening.

                      If the Democratic Party is unwilling to respond to violation of the established rules with retaliation in proportion, then we are certainly all doomed, because it is the credible threat of that that is the only thing, ever that maintains the consensus of having rule-based regimes among self-interested actors.

                      Now, admittedly, there is political work to be done -- which some Democrats on the national stage are already doing -- to build the popular understanding that what the Republicans are doing is a violation of the rules and that that is a big deal, so that the retaliation can be contextualized when it is necessary. But if, put in that position, Democrats decline to retaliate out of timidity, then, yeah, the games up and the Republicans will continue to abuse every option available to them so long as they have no fear of retaliation.

                      Paul Krugman recognized quite some time ago that what enables the present right wing is that they are a revolutionary regime whose opponents fail to recognize as revolutionary. But if, when they make it so nakedly obvious, Democrats still refuse to recognize and respond to the crisis created appropriately, then the entire Constitutional order has no meaning, any more than the wonderful promises of the Soviet Constitution did. No set of rules matter if the people injured when they are violated declines to stand up and secure them.

    •  The problem with your argument is this: (none)
      Like most Republican responses/arguments, this one is simple-minded and leaves out the Rest of the Story. Yes, the constitution only requires at least a majority for approval. Given.

      BUT, it also allows the Senate to create its own rules.

      And those rules require a 60-vote margin for ANY business to proceed (or unanimous consent).

      It USED to require a 67 vote margin. And before cloture was added to the rules, for over a century of the Republic it required unanimous consent margin only (ie, 100%) to get anything and any nomination through the Senate. At that time any ONE senator could shut the place down. Now it takes 40.

      If the Republicans want to make a constitutional argument that the filibuster is unconstitutional, then they are quite free to change the rules via the regular process (67 votes) or challenge the unconstitutional part in the courts.  Though I'm not sure who would have standing... Bush, who made the filibustered nominations, or the Repub Senators? shrug

      •  That's My Whole Point (none)
        No one has the power to challenge internal Senate procedure in the Courts here.  Between the political question doctrine and nonjusticiability, whatever the Senate decides is, in a real sense, The Law.

        Work it backwards: what would an Order from the D.C. District Court look like that would either (a) bar the use of the filibuster to block judicial nominees or (b) restore the Senate rules allowing said filibusters?

        "Let's put our heads together/And start a new country up/Our father's father's father tried/Erased the parts he didn't like" - R.E.M., "Cuyahoga"

        by Adam B on Tue May 10, 2005 at 12:57:04 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  While we're debating slips of the tongue... (4.00)
          Frist's whole point has been that the Senate has a constitutional duty to have an up-or-down vote on every nominee the president sends. If the Senate affirms that they must so vote, what would be the value of this new constitutional obligation if it's not justiciable?

          Can anybody think of another constitutional obligation laid on any branch or any part of any branch of government that isn't enforceable by the courts? Would it be fair to call such an obligation constitutional at all?

          •  Yes (none)
            The Guaranty Clause (Art IV, sec 4): "The United States shall guarantee to every State in this Union a Republican Form of Government".

            Baker v Carr holds that claims under the Clause are nonjusticiable because "the Guaranty Clause is not a repository of judicially manageable standards which a court could utilize independently in order to identify a State's lawful government".

            "Let's put our heads together/And start a new country up/Our father's father's father tried/Erased the parts he didn't like" - R.E.M., "Cuyahoga"

            by Adam B on Tue May 10, 2005 at 01:25:53 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  So would a legal realist say... (none)
              that there is no constitutional guarantee of a republican form of government?
              •  Pretty much (none)
                It's as binding as the Preamble, until and unless a Court decides to enforce it.

                Think about the Takings Clause; regardless of how activist conservatives believe it should be enforced, it is right now perfectly constitutional for a locality to bar people from developing their private property without having to compensate them for the diminished value of their land.

                "Let's put our heads together/And start a new country up/Our father's father's father tried/Erased the parts he didn't like" - R.E.M., "Cuyahoga"

                by Adam B on Tue May 10, 2005 at 01:33:06 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  Takings? (none)
                  Takings is at least justiciable. You're talking about creating "rights" for which there are not only no remedies, but no forums in which petitioners can be told they have no remedies.
                  •  Yes And No (none)
                    All I'm suggesting is that regardless of what they'd argue should be unconstitutional -- such takings are, in fact, legal and constitutional.

                    Let me extend the point to this debate.  Suppose Frist has his 50+1.  They confirm Owen.  She gets sworn it.  She sits on the bench.  She makes rulings.  When they relate to criminal punishment, marshalls, sheriffs and prison guards use physical force to turn her words on paper into physical violence -- constraints on liberty, and punishment extending as far as death at the hands of the state.

                    Once she can do that, merely saying that her appointment was "illegal" is meaningless.

                    "Let's put our heads together/And start a new country up/Our father's father's father tried/Erased the parts he didn't like" - R.E.M., "Cuyahoga"

                    by Adam B on Tue May 10, 2005 at 01:48:30 PM PDT

                    [ Parent ]

                    •  You are wrong. (none)
                      Surely you know that our common law system is one of retroactive law.  So an activity is neither unconstitutional nor illegal until a judge says it is.  Until that time, (and this applies even to that conduct that may escape liability for statute of limitations) the legal character of the activity is in superposition.
                      •  But That's The Point (none)
                        If no judge or other governmental offical can stop them -- if the persons subject to a judge-so-appointed's judicial opinions treat them as binding -- then, de facto, this means of appointment was legal.  And it's my contention that because this is nonjusticiable/political question, if they get the votes, we lose.  Period.  And it doesn't matter what we call it.

                        "Let's put our heads together/And start a new country up/Our father's father's father tried/Erased the parts he didn't like" - R.E.M., "Cuyahoga"

                        by Adam B on Tue May 10, 2005 at 02:00:14 PM PDT

                        [ Parent ]

                    •  That's straying a bit farther afield. (none)
                      I don't contest the legality of her appointment. I question the existence of a constitutional obligation by the Senate to hold a floor vote, which  Frist insists is the basis for his position.

                      If there's any meaning to having an obligation, constitutional or otherwise, it has to be because that obligation is enforceable. But if questions arising from that obligation are non-justiciable, it's not enforceable. And if it's not enforceable, then there's no obligation.

                      Frist's doctrine creates a "right" to a vote, although it says nothing about in whom this right will vest. Small matter, though, since the right is also non-justiciable and unenforceable. Which a legal realist would tell us also means it's not a right at all.

                      Now, if Frist were to simply admit that it's purely a power play, I couldn't disagree. But he won't do that, because he's too much vested in the "constitutional" window dressing.

                      The flip side of this, of course, is that if Frist is right, a later Senate majority might just as well do exactly what appears to offend you so much: write into their (non-justiciable) view of the Constitution that confirmation votes themselves do in fact require 60, or for that matter 100, votes.

                      •  Oh, On That, I Agree (none)
                        Everyone citing to the Constitution here is just making rhetorical points; the text is only as operative as the actors determine it to be.  

                        I think we're on the same page here.  All of this is window dressing, and the reasons Senators are citing to text or history is to make their position plausible to the voters -- and that's why it matters.  

                        As citizens, we've determined that, on the whole, we base our votes on some set of reasons, some moral sense as to who will do justice in the world.  We could just as easily automatically vote for the taller of the two candidates.  We don't.  And it's because we have those standards, we force politicians to offer reasons to have any legitimacy.

                        Think of this: nothing in the Constitution requires the Supreme Court to hold oral arguments or issue written opinions that list (a) the reasons behind their decisions or (b) which judges voted which way.  So why do they do so?  Because their legitimacy -- their ability to have other people obey their words on paper -- depends on it.

                        "Let's put our heads together/And start a new country up/Our father's father's father tried/Erased the parts he didn't like" - R.E.M., "Cuyahoga"

                        by Adam B on Tue May 10, 2005 at 02:07:05 PM PDT

                        [ Parent ]

                        •  Great. (none)
                          That leaves Harry in the clear on the 60 vote comment. Or at least as much in the clear as Frist stands on his claims about constitutional obligations. Either one of them, given 51 votes, can    without challenge create the very circumstances they've described, even though each of them probably misspoke.
                  •  Stupid judiciary... (none)
                    Takings is at least justiciable. You're talking about creating "rights" for which there are not only no remedies, but no forums in which petitioners can be told they have no remedies.

                    And the amusing thing is, of course, that the "political question" doctrine itself is such a bald defiance of what Article III says on its face as to be a clear wrong with little remedy.

                    But, you know, what are you going to do? Except, perhaps, note that the Supreme Court is not bound even by its own precedent where there is clear error.

                    At any rate, its not true to say that there is no forum in which petitioners can be told they have no remedies -- if you file a "nonjusticiable" case in federal court, well, that is a forum, and you will be told, quite forcefully, that you have no available remedies for the claimed harm.

                    •  Will you? (none)
                      At any rate, its not true to say that there is no forum in which petitioners can be told they have no remedies -- if you file a "nonjusticiable" case in federal court, well, that is a forum, and you will be told, quite forcefully, that you have no available remedies for the claimed harm.

                      I suppose someone could feel kindly toward you and tell you that in addition to the court refusing jurisdiction, that you also have no remedy even if the court were to choose to take jurisdiction. But I don't know why they would.

                      •  The statement that a case is... (none)
                        ...nonjusticiable is a statement that there is no remedy at law, and that any available remedy is of some other kind.

                        (Actually, there is a forum to provide a remedy, its the court of public opinion. Chances are, though, that forum will, most of the time, tell you there is no remedy, too, though less explicitly.)

            •  Of course its probably not "really"... (none)
              ...nonjusticiable, because if Congress attempted to dictate details of state government under the Guaranty clause in vast and invasive ways, I suspect the courst would take up whether Congress had overstepped its power. No Constitutional provision can really be nonjusticiable without rendering the rest of it moot, since Congress can assert that the nonjusticiable part is an unlimited grant of power.
    •  60 votes are required for judicial nominees? (none)
      News to me, friend.  Maybe you could explain this.

      The Senate rules do not create a requirement of 60 votes for confirmation.  The requirement of 60 votes is for cloture IF the minority chooses to mount a filibuster, something it did not do in the case of Judge Holmes, or Justice Thomas.  There is absolutely no reason to think that the Framers intended to prohibit a supermajority requirement for cloture on debate in the Senate.

      •  Holmes (none)
        There was no filibuster per agreement between Senate Democrats and the President; Bush got 25 up-and-down votes on relatively noncontroversial nominees (save Holmes), and in exchange agreed to not make any more recess appointments to the bench.

        "Let's put our heads together/And start a new country up/Our father's father's father tried/Erased the parts he didn't like" - R.E.M., "Cuyahoga"

        by Adam B on Tue May 10, 2005 at 01:16:46 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  But (4.00)
          It doesn't matter if the Democrats decided not to filibuster because they made a deal, or because they didn't think these nominees were worth a filibuster, or because it was the wrong day of the week for a filibuster.  The fact is, the vast majority of nominations proceed without a filibuster, so it's incorrect to say a supermajority of 60 votes is needed for confirmation.

          Plenty of legislation passes with fewer than 60 votes, and plenty of nominees get approved with fewer than 60 votes.  Just because the minority CAN filibuster and require 60 votes for cloture in an extreme case doesn't mean that there is a 60-vote requirement for confirmation.  In other words, the first prong of the Republican argument you have articulated would be that a 60-vote requirement for cloture is the same, constitutionally, as a 60-vote requirement for confirmation; you are conceding this point, but I don't think you have to.

          •  A Valuable Point (none)
            And I hope people don't miss what you said.

            What worries me is precisely what you highlight: by being a little loose with his language (if, in fact, he was), Reid conflates the two himself.  I believe filibusters should be rare, and only used when necessary to preserve the rights of the minority when other means are unavailable.  A Carolene Products for the Senate, sorta.

            "Let's put our heads together/And start a new country up/Our father's father's father tried/Erased the parts he didn't like" - R.E.M., "Cuyahoga"

            by Adam B on Tue May 10, 2005 at 01:45:07 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

    •  The Constitution sets no number for confirmation (4.00)
      of any judicial or executive nominee.

      But Article I, Section 5, vests the Senate with the power to set its own rules for its proceedings.  Therefore, the Senate can adopt a rule (by a two-thirds vote) to require only ten votes for confirmation -- or 25, or 65 or 100.  The number of votes required for confirmation of a judicial nominee is entirely up to the Senate.

      The comment that "The Constitution does not require 60 votes for the approval of judicial nominees; it requires a majority. ..." is factually incorrect.

      The rules of the Senate, since its inception in 1789, have allowed unlimited debate on any matter before the Sente.  Under Senate rules, a two-thirds majority is required to change that rule.

      Frist and the Republicans are attempting to change the Senate rules regarding filibusters by violating Senate rules.

      •  this is going to be really dumb, then (4.00)
        Because I'm looking through the Senate Rules, and I can't even find the majority requirement for passing basic legislation.  Odd, no?

        "Let's put our heads together/And start a new country up/Our father's father's father tried/Erased the parts he didn't like" - R.E.M., "Cuyahoga"

        by Adam B on Tue May 10, 2005 at 02:30:25 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  This occured to me as well (none)
          Where does it say---anywhere..the Constitution, House or Senate Rules, or case law, that majority rules? It's a fundamental concept of Democracy that you need at least one more than half to win, but has this ever been tested?

          Resist much, obey little. ~~Edward Abbey, via Walt Whitman

          by willyr on Tue May 10, 2005 at 07:13:16 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

  •  Reid knows that Frist got nuttin' (4.00)
    If Frist had the votes, he'd have already called for a vote.

    Now do you all see the beauty of the Stormin' Mormon's poison pills, cleverly disguised as "suggested compromises"?

    Reid is now on record as having offered up compromise after compromise, only to see them all swatted down without so much as a discussion.  Having allowed Frist to help him lavishly establish Frist's stubbornness/captivity to the religio-racist right, Reid then lowers the boom with a put-up-or-shut-up motion that establishes Reid as not only reasonable, but gutsy.

  •  Reminds me of Tombstone (none)
    Where Doc Holliday has no patience for words games and threats, and just smiles at the cowboys and says "Say when."
  •  Shorter Reid: (none)
    "Bring 'em on"

    Only he really means it.  I'm starting to love this guy.

    US Dead in Iraq = 1605
    WMD Found = 0 (And that's final!)

    by Glenn in NYC on Tue May 10, 2005 at 12:16:21 PM PDT

  •  I'm still reeling (none)
    at how wrong I was about Reid. We actually have a strategic master in the Dem Party. I disagree with some of his stands, but that's to the good in present circumstances. He's making it possible for so-called moderates to come back to the Dem Party. Perfect.
  •  If somebody had opened up this thread with (none)
    something like:

    Frist

    is Fucked.

    Would that person have gotten all troll ratings?

    I am so far to the left I can almost see the right again.

    by beagleandtabby on Tue May 10, 2005 at 12:17:05 PM PDT

  •  Wipes away a single tear (4.00)
    That is a thing of fucking beauty.

    Resistance to tyranny is obedience to God.-Thomas Jefferson
    We are the resistance.

    by boadicea on Tue May 10, 2005 at 12:18:08 PM PDT

  •  I think we should also note... (4.00)
    that this may be the only area in which GWB has ever achieved a 95% success rate in his life.

    Whenever a Voice of Moderation addresses liberals, its sole purpose is to stomp out any real sign of life. -James Wolcott

    by latts on Tue May 10, 2005 at 12:19:00 PM PDT

  •  Nice move by Reid and Dodd (none)
    to illustrate the process on how the Senate rules are supposed to be changed through a 2/3 majority vote which consist of 67 Senators.

    "Act only according to that maxim by which you can at the same time will that it should become universal law"- Immanuel Kant

    by LeftistIndependent on Tue May 10, 2005 at 12:19:27 PM PDT

    •  Unless you count the time we changed it in 1978 (none)
      I think it was Senator Byrd who insisted then that when the president of the senate declares a filibuster unconstitutional, then a bare majority of the senate can uphold his ruling.

      But screw that.  Those were way different times.

      •  That is incorrect (none)
        You need to read Norm Ornstein on the subject. What you write is false.

        "Just say no to torture." -Semi-Anonymous Blogger.

        by Armando on Tue May 10, 2005 at 12:31:48 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Give me the link if you have it. (none)
          Because the wingers are trying to portray the 1978 move as their precedent.
          •  Check my front page stories on it (none)
            I've written it up extensively.

            another easy way is to go to Center for American Progress web site and review their symposium on the issue.

            "Just say no to torture." -Semi-Anonymous Blogger.

            by Armando on Tue May 10, 2005 at 12:54:47 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  I just read your front page story on the subject. (none)
              You quoted Ornstein as having called the "nuclear option" unprecedented.

              But I can't find that quote anywhere else.

              I am looking for it.

              All I could find was this quote from Ornstein:

              "In general, regardless of who's using them or how they're used, this is not supposed to be a procedure that sets up a supermajority hurdle routinely," explains Norm Ornstein, congressional scholar at the American Enterprise Institute. "It's supposed to be something reserved for an issue of great national moment when a minority feels intensely about it." There will be little interest in restoring the traditional filibuster across the board because the burden placed on senators forced to meet its round-the-clock demands conflicts with a modern, "family-friendly" Senate.

              I'm going to try the site you recommended.  Let me know when you find the quote.

              •  The link (none)
                therein. But try the site.

                "Just say no to torture." -Semi-Anonymous Blogger.

                by Armando on Tue May 10, 2005 at 01:08:53 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  I read the text of Ornstein's speech (none)
                  and he backs you up 100%.

                  In fact, even the wingers seem to be backing down from any precedent set in 1978 as Byrd received cloture votes, something that Fristy would never ask for because he knows he'd never get it and he'd look even more foolish than he does today.

                  Instead of trying to find a real precedent for what they're doing, the wingers are insisting that a March 1980 vote is their precedent.

                  But that vote had to do with an ambassodor to El Salvador, not a judge.

                  To me that's a big difference.  We'll see if the wingers can try to stretch that "precedent" to fit what they're trying to do now.

          •  The Dem Senate Comm. Center (none)
            Describes it all in detail here. Here's the bit on what really happened in 1977:

            Why 1977 Is Not Precedent for the Nuclear Option to Ban the Filibuster:

                * An example of the Senate following and enforcing the express language of Rule XXII, the rule for invoking cloture to end a filibuster, cannot reasonably be claimed to be precedent for destroying that very Rule, which is what the nuclear option seeks to do on nominations.  To claim otherwise is totally illogical.
                * In 1977, the Senate clarified that Rule XXII means what it says in that once members vote to invoke cloture then dilatory amendments or actions are not allowed.  This is an incremental and logical interpretation, not an amputation.
                * The 1977 discussion illustrates the difference between post-cloture and pre-cloture debate.  It illustrates that if cloture is not invoked dilatory actions are permissible.
                      o If Rule XXII is not invoked, "There are a number of legislative stall-tactics that a committed group of senators could invoke to block a potential nomination from coming to the floor for a vote, including: quorum calls, motions to adjourn, motions to recess, and roll call votes. . . .  The Senate is traditionally understood as a body of unlimited debate" unless cloture is invoked.  Judicial Watch v. U.S. Senate, pp. 18-19 (D.D.C. 2004) (citing WALTER J. OLESZEK, CONGRESSIONAL PROCEDURES AND THE POLICY PROCESS 212-13, 228 (2001)).
                * The nuclear option to ban filibusters would contravene Rule XXII, centuries of precedent regarding freedom of debate, and the very example of 1977 of a majority actually abiding by and enforcing Rule XXII, rather than destroying it.
                * [In 1979, to further enforce this interpretation, the Senate amended Rule XXII adding a cap of 100 hours of debate following the invocation of cloture, and in 1986 that was amended to 30 hours--both amendments occurred in accordance with Rule XXII.]


  •  Would Not Be Surprised To Find Out . . . . (4.00)
    . . . that Reid is getting support and encouragement from the other side as well.

    Granted, he has shown he has balls, but I also think he has "insider information" from the more sensible and thinking wing of repugs.  

    Frist might be surprised to find out that when he hitched his wagon to the chimp, the distanced himself from an important faction in his own party.

    I simply cannot believe that anyone with half the brains needed to the a United States Senator can help but look at the shrub and know he is an idiot.

    Ok, Frist, put you balls up on the desk, and get ready to see who has the biggest set, you or Reid.

    •  I think you're right... (4.00)
      ...and that one of Reid's GOP helpers is none other than Trent Lott, who was dumped as Senate Majority Leader so Karl Rove could install the far-more Bush-subservient Frist.

      Note that Lott's name is on one of the bipartisan compromises floated to -- and rejected by -- Bill Frist and his stringpullers.

      Oh, Karl, Karl, Karl.  Because you put subservience over skill, you have helped screw yourself and your cause.  

    •  GOP in the closet (none)
      It's easy to see that a lot of congressmen and senators are intimidated by Bushteam.
      I imagine some of them cannot wait until their extremist leaders do themselves in.
  •  Wait a minute (none)
    The above text has Reid saying the following:

    "I also suggest two reasonable ways to avert this constitutional crisis.  First, allow up or down votes on additional nominees, as I addressed in my proposal to Frist two weeks ago.   If this is about getting judges on the courts, let's get them on the courts."

    Is Reid agreeing to give every future nominee an up or down vote, meaning he is promising that there will be no more filibusters?  I'm really confused as to how this represents a good deal for the dems.  Why would we fight to keep the filibuster but promise never to use it, regardless of how radical future nominees might be?
    Can someone please explain?

    •  No Surrender (none)
      We should not allow Reid to get rid of the right to fillibuster a Supreme Court nomination no matter what.  
      •  Er (none)
        "Allow Reid"? What are you talking about?

        "Just say no to torture." -Semi-Anonymous Blogger.

        by Armando on Tue May 10, 2005 at 12:30:54 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  I may be over-hyperbolising here... (none)
        ...or maybe just reading this in the wrong intonation or something, but a phrase like "We should not allow Reid to get rid of the right to fillibuster a Supreme Court nomination no matter what." smacks of freeperspeak.  I'm not calling you a Freeper, but that sounds, to me anyway, kinda like an ultimatum; I think it's the "We should not allow $hillcritter" part.

        "We should not allow Frist to back out of the filibuster fight."

        "We won't let Tom DeLay fall prey to those trying to soil his name."

        or even,

        "We can't let Jeb Bush give in to those Schiavo killers."

        Apologies if I have misread things, but that's just the way it came across to me.  Reid has been pretty impressive, thus far, in my opinion.  To make war-cry demands just doesn't seem to be the right gesture here.

    •  If I remember correctly... (none)
      Reid offered to give an up or down vote to all but the most extreme nominees.  Of course, that leaves open the question of what your definition of "extreme" is.
  •  No Surrender (none)

    The Right is not going to compromise.  Frist will not call the vote until he has the votes, and the Right will use this issue against Republican senator's who vote to keep the fillibuster.  They won't be able to defeat all of them, but they may be able to give a few of them a hard time.  Plus it is great for fundraising, a way to gut the Republican party of people who are not willing to do the "will of God".  If they get rid of the fillibuster it is a oppurtunity to bring up issues that the minority think are important.  
  •  Harry Reid is proof positive (4.00)
    that one can be smart, clever and effective, and still be honest. His efforts in this whole nuclear option scenario clearly reveal the benefits of remaining "reality based" in one's thinking as a foundation from which to develop effective problem solving solutions.

    Go Harry!

    Defeat the sound-bite.

    by sbj on Tue May 10, 2005 at 12:21:43 PM PDT

  •  I Heart Reid (none)
    He reminds me a bit of Truman.  Tough as nails.
  •  God is gonna be pissed (4.00)
    If the nuclear option fails, how are we going to have the activist, er, faith based judges we need to keep Satan out of our schools?
  •  Hot damn (4.00)
    I wouldn't not want to be sitting across the poker table from this man.

    I can't imagine him doing this without having a pretty solid headcount. It might be as high as 53: McCain, Chafee, Snowe, Collins, Hagel, Specter, Warner, Smith. Heh.

    It's the last little nudge to send Frist over the edge. I can't imagine what his folks are advising him at this point. He either goes for broke, loses and fractures his caucus, or keeps delaying and increasingly pissing off his fundie masters. Talk about lose-lose! It couldn't have happened to a nicer guy.

    •  Thankfully (none)
      Frist does not come across as "nice" as Mr Bush, which I think would prevent him from getting the nomination.  The Republicans are going to have one hell of a mess on their hands in 08 trying to figure out who the nominee will be.
    •  I'm not counting on Specter (none)
      and Ben Nelson makes me nervous. Catch Washington Journal today; Nelson was on talking about ending the filibuster.
      •  I just don't see any Dems (none)
        jumping ship on this one. We're winning, why would he? Was it in the context of the deal he was trying to cut with Lott? Without this deal, he's on our side. I tried to watch the stream, but there's an error on the page. Do you have any quotes from it?
        •  No quotes (none)
          I watched it this morning. But here is a quote from Inside Politics from yesterday
          NELSON: Well, I think it's important not to be seen as an obstructionist. You can certainly disagree and vote against many of these candidates if you don't think that they are going to be good judges on the bench. But I think there is a major concern about just obstructing the process.

          But some people think that obstructionism is good. I just don't happen to be one of those. I've always wanted to support the president when I could, oppose when I must, look for compromise or solutions wherever possible, but not obstruct. That's certainly my effort. I think that's what the people in Nebraska sent me here to do.

  •  Hiroshima and Nagasaki (none)
    Do you think Reid would have nuked Japan?  Is that a great attribute to have?
    •  He would have if they were full of Republicans (none)
    •  hahahaha (none)
      completely OT, but your comment reminded me of a funny encounter i had with some fundagelicals once.  we were discussing matters metaphysical and at one point, his rebuttal was reduced to "well, god doesn't talk about <fill in the blank>.  i believe in the bible and it doesn't mention <fitb>."

      so i replied "well, the bible doesn't mention nuclear physics either, but we sure as hell bombed hiroshima and nagasaki."

      •  Word! (none)
        When you said i was OT i first thought you meant "Operating Thetan" like in Scientology, hah!  When are we going to come to terms with the mass murder this country did in Japan?
        •  WWII: essentially forever enshrined as a good war (none)
          so IMHO it will be a long while before that sort of question gets a critical look. (if you think the right is quick to criticize patriotism when someone questions the Iraq war....)

          I have been told that dropping the nukes was justifiable in that the number of fatalities was similar to expectations for a protracted conventional campaign to secure Japan's surrender, and also that a surrender would have been difficult without a show of overwhelming force given Japanese culture.  Not being an expert on conventional warfare or Japanese culture, I can't really evaluate this but it seems at least plausible.  Also, I remember in my high school history book that after the first one was dropped, the Japanese government was given 48 hours to surrender, and they did not; the second bomb was dropped, and then they did surrender.  It seemed that 48 hours was a bit short, but it would have been very desirable if only one bomb had been used, obviously.  What are your thoughts on this?

        •  Totally OT but... (none)
          You have a point, but I also don't think you can look at our decision to drop nuclear bombs on Japan without taking into account the last major battle of WWII, the battle for Okinawa.

          It was one of the most vicious battles of the entire war, in a whole series of vicious battles throughout the Pacific theatre:

          More people died during the Battle of Okinawa than all those killed during the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Casualties totaled more than 38,000 Americans wounded and 12,000 killed or missing, more than 107,000 Japanese and Okinawan conscripts killed, and perhaps 100,000 Okinawan civilians who perished in the battle.

          The battle of Okinawa proved to be the bloodiest battle of the Pacific War.

          The Japanese Army had convinced the civilian population of Okinawa that Americans were ravening monsters that would rape their women and roast their children alive. As a result, the Okinawan conscript army often fought to the death along with their Japanese counterparts, and there were mass suicides by the civilian population.

          It was feared that a land invasion of Japan would be far more costly than Okinawa, and resistance just as fanatical.

          Maybe we haven't faced up to our responsibility, but the Japanese haven't either, certainly not anywhere near the degree that Germany was forced to confront it's war crimes.

          You can make anything look good if you can write billions of dollars of hot checks. --Ross Perot

          by lanshark on Tue May 10, 2005 at 07:35:50 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

    •  WTF? (none)
      Don't you mean would Frist have nuked Hiroshima no?

      "Just say no to torture." -Semi-Anonymous Blogger.

      by Armando on Tue May 10, 2005 at 12:28:11 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  snatched from (4.00)
    the open thread, i think...dem bloggers has an excellent video of schumer sticking it, very politely, mind you, to hatch over the filibuster!
  •  Bill Frist after the "nuclear option" (4.00)

    "We can have democracy in this country, or we can have great wealth concentrated in the hands of a few, but we can't have both." - Louis D. Brandeis

    by VA6thDem on Tue May 10, 2005 at 12:27:27 PM PDT

  •  give 'em hell harry (none)
    Reid v. Frist is about as lopsided as the Harlem Globetrotters v. the Washington Generals.

    In fact, I propose that be Frist's new nickname: The Washington General.  Or Red Klotz.

    Getting the important point about changing the rules of the Senate, as well as bluntly stating that this is all a smokescreen to get extreme judges on the SCOTUS, is brilliant.

    "Killing a man to defend an idea isn't defending an idea. It's killing a man." -Jean-Luc Godard, "Notre Musique"

    by dday on Tue May 10, 2005 at 12:36:30 PM PDT

  •  Democrats with Balls. (none)
    I like the sound of that!

    Culture of life? More like Republican cesspool of violence.

    by vancookie on Tue May 10, 2005 at 12:37:02 PM PDT

  •  The Filibustanator (4.00)

    My favorite pic of the day

    jScoop - a new blog framework, soon to be offering up some cheap hosting.

    by pacified on Tue May 10, 2005 at 12:38:48 PM PDT

  •  Correction (none)
    50 Senators plus Cheney.

    BTW 208 out of 218 is the lowest numbers I've seen, but it's still over 95%.

  •  This should be the new mantra (none)
    "it's about clearing the way for a Supreme Court nominee who only needs 51 votes"

    Well-behaved women rarely make history - Laurel Thatcher Ulrich

    by jaysea on Tue May 10, 2005 at 12:42:13 PM PDT

  •  I believe the correct translation... (4.00)
    ... for what Harry said is:

    "Shit or get off the pot."

  •  Get 'em hell Harry (none)
    Where has this guy been hiding?  Especially when Tom Daschle was leader.
  •  Give 'Em Hell Harry! (none)
    Truman's my favorite president, so I don't throw around comparisons lightly, but if anyone deserves it it's Reid. Doesn't this guy deserve to be Majority Leader?

    I swear, John Thune is the best thing that ever happened to the Democratic Party. And whoever dropped Bill Frist on his head when he was a baby is number two.

  •  Harry Reid on CSPAN now! n/t (none)

    Most Americans are a lot dumber than we give them credit for- George Carlin 2004

    by maggiemae on Tue May 10, 2005 at 12:52:06 PM PDT

  •  I like his contrast (none)
    of the judicial makeup of a Thomas-esque court and a Souter/O'Connor/Kennedy court.

    He should've emphasized more a major irony of that contrast: all four of those judges are Republican appointees!!  Granted, Souter is to the left of Lincoln Chafee, but it's amazing to see conservatives turn their backs on Reagan appointees for not being extreme-right.  They must think, "OMG, his last name is Kennedy so he must have the same politics as Chappaquiddick Ted."

    "George was very much in the 'cool' group, and it seemed to me that he wasn't that interested in those who weren't"--Robert P. Marshall

    by BlueEngineerInOhio on Tue May 10, 2005 at 12:55:43 PM PDT

  •  a MIRV to the 'nads (none)
    I love it that Reid used "nuclear option" 8 times (well, 7 plus one "nuclear showdown".  Frist&Co's multiple reframe attempts of that failed miserably, and now Reid is kicking him in the balls with it.

    Proud member of the reality-based minority

    by Bearpaw on Tue May 10, 2005 at 12:56:18 PM PDT

  •  frist (none)
    I wonder if Frist (and his boss Rove) are calculating that it's worth putting the filibuster issue to a vote whether they win or lose--  if they win, great;  if they lose, they are essentially feeding some juicy red meat to their wingnut base.  Issues like this are the foundation of the GOP fundraising effort.
  •  Missing Soundbite "62-to-10" (none)
    Reid's statement is great, and the DNC e-mail alert and dedicated nuclear page are good as well.  

    Particularly heartening is the message focus: the phrases "95% confirmation rate," "rubber stamp," and "checks and balances" get play by both Reid and the DNC.  

    In addition, Reid describes the nominees as "radical," and the DNC says they are "outside the mainstream" and will "roll back equality, liberty, and individual rights of all Americans."

    So far, so good.

    But's what's missing here is the simple soundbite, "62-to-10."  As Senator Hagel admitted over the weekend, the Republicans denied votes to 62 Clinton nominees, while Democrats have only blocked 10 of Bush's nominees.  

  •  Wow! Reid just took Bush to the woodshed! (4.00)
    The last reporter to be allowed to ask a question asked if Reid thought this issue was impacted by Reid's comment last week about Bush Reid said "I want everyone within the sound of my voice to understand, I may have used an incorrect word, but the message is the same-this President has failed in many areas he has generated the false crisis re: SS, the economy, the NCLB failure", and on and on and on! It was awesome! It was like a feeding frenzy!

    Most Americans are a lot dumber than we give them credit for- George Carlin 2004

    by maggiemae on Tue May 10, 2005 at 01:05:53 PM PDT

  •  Do they rue they day (none)
    Does the right-wing rue the day they got Daschle out of the Senate?
  •  a question (none)
    How many Senators have to be present to form a Quorum?  What (if any) business can the Senate enact withouta Quorum present?

    I also liked the reframing of the debate to demonstrate that 67 votes are needed to change Senate rules, not 51.  Well done Reid & Dodd.

    (And in the process, they've limited Frist's political ambitions.)

    Remind me to NOT play chess with these guys.  

    Happy little moron, lucky little man. I wish I was a moron, my God, perhaps I am! -- Spike Milligan

    by polecat on Tue May 10, 2005 at 01:24:05 PM PDT

    •  At least under normal rules (none)
      Not much. Here's Robert's Rules:

      In the absence of a quorum, any business transacted (except for the procedural actions noted in the next paragraph) is null and void.

      edit

      The only action that can legally be taken in the absence of a quorum is to fix the time to which to adjourn, adjourn, recess, or take measures to obtain a quorum.

      edit

      The prohibition against transacting business in the absence of a quorum cannot be waived even by unanimous consent, and a notice cannot be validly given.

      --RONR, 10th edition, p. 336, line 25-p. 337, line 16. (Internal citations and references omitted.)

      The Senate has its own rules that are probably different. But I wouldn't expect them to be too far different from these. Normally, a quorum for the transaction of business is at least half of the representatives, or half-plus-one in some cases.

      •  the source (none)
        US Constitution, Article 1, Section 5

        Section. 5.

        Clause 1: Each House shall be the Judge of the Elections, Returns and Qualifications of its own Members, and a Majority of each shall constitute a Quorum to do Business; but a smaller Number may adjourn from day to day, and may be authorized to compel the Attendance of absent Members, in such Manner, and under such Penalties as each House may provide.

        .... 51 is a quorum

        •  Therefore (none)
          There is a way to defeat the measure without having certain Republicans being forced to vote against their party -- if they decided to not show up (ALL the Dems and a few select Repubs) then the Senate cannot vote to suspend or change the rules.

          Basically, it is a last resort, but a way to provide cover for some irregular allies.

          Happy little moron, lucky little man. I wish I was a moron, my God, perhaps I am! -- Spike Milligan

          by polecat on Tue May 10, 2005 at 08:09:16 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

  •  Harry Reid is my hero. (none)
    Finally, a Democratic leader who doesn't kiss Republican ass OR Democratic ass.

    And it works! I don't know of a single high-profile Democrat who "gets away" with as much rational centrism as Harry Reid. Usually, our top guys are much more beholden to single-issue Democrats; when they speak, they sound like they're threading a fucking slalom course.

    But Reid has made it crystal-clear that nobody's ass is going to get kissed, and that he's an asset for the party as a whole, and glory be! The single-issue folks seem to respect him for it. Hell, I don't agree with everything he says; I just trust him, and I'm glad he's working for us.

    Maybe there's hope for the Democrats after all, huh?

    We don't see things as they are, we see them as we are. - Anaïs Nin

    by Valentine on Tue May 10, 2005 at 01:26:55 PM PDT

  •  cut 'em off at the pass strategy... (none)
    the reason why a vote hasn't been held, in my mind, is the frist doesn't have the votes in hand.  so he's using the same tactics that the house uses in delaying a vote while he arm twists opponents into submission.  

    By Reid coming out and saying.. "put up or shut up" he's cutting the time Frist has to do this kind of tittie twisting to get people to capitulate.  Its a master stroke in my mind because it forces the hand.  Reid, most likely, has the votes against and by not responding Frist looks like total jerk off.

    Game of chicken yes, but sometimes you have to call the bluff otherwise you're just going to get stomped.

    You can lead an elephant to water but you can't make 'em think.

    by bill in wa on Tue May 10, 2005 at 01:29:57 PM PDT

  •  Reid's Bluff (none)
    Senator Reid is a real stand up guy on this issue, too bad he couldn't do the same gamesmanship on the bankruptcy legislation. Senator Reid has no choice but to go to the mat on this "nuclear" option and tie up the senate to keep extremists off the bench like my favorite white supremacist in blackface, Janice Rogers Brown. This naked power grab by the GOP reminds me of a Lord Acton quotation, "And remember, where you have a concentration of power in a few hands, all too frequently men with the mentality of gangsters get control. History has proven that. All power corrupts; absolute power corrupts absolutely.
  •  So... (none)
    What happens if Reid really is playing chicken? :-/

    "How freeing it must be to walk through this world heeding neither conscience nor soul." - the rude pundit, 5/4/05

    by pattyp on Tue May 10, 2005 at 01:41:29 PM PDT

    •  Carville knows (none)
      Carville on Meet the Press summed it up pretty good: it's a win-win situation.

      MR. RUSSERT:  "...60 votes to stop the filibuster.  You can do it with a majority votes.  We're going to change the Senate rules."  What will happen if the Republicans do that?

      MR. CARVILLE:  First of all, it's going to hurt them politically.  Second, it's going to be some really, really, really raw emotions in the Senate.  And I don't understand--I really don't understand why they are putting all of this--they're going to do irreparable damage to the way the Senate does business.  They're going to do some political damage to themselves.  The public doesn't like this at all.  And it also seems to people that all the Republican Party cares about is appeasing, you know, the extreme right wing of its political party.  And for the life of me, I--there's a part of me that says, "I just want them to go through with this, and I want them to ram this right through."

      There are a lot of Democrats who say, "No, you don't want to do this.  These are lifetime judicial appointments.  They're going to be on the courts of appeals.  It's going to be a terrible thing for the country."  So I don't know what I am, a better Democrat or better patriot.  If I was a better patriot, I guess I'd wish these things would stop.  If I'm a better Democrat, than I'd like to see them just ram it through because there is a public revulsion to these kind of arrogant, high-handed tactics that they go through.

      And the other thing that I think the public is seeing is they don't do anything about gas prices.  They don't do anything about health-care costs. The whole thing is Terri Schiavo, the whole thing is these right-wing judges, the whole thing is ANWR drilling.  All right?  The whole thing is the bankruptcy legislation.  And, you know, if you're not a powerful lobbyist or some big, you know, powerful right- wing preacher, you don't get heard by this administration and this Congress.  And I think that there's a big feeling across this country about this.

      I see Red People...

      by Peabody on Tue May 10, 2005 at 02:19:02 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Check Mate (none)
    n/t

    Come see the house that Tom Delay built.

    by Goldfish on Tue May 10, 2005 at 01:42:18 PM PDT

  •  VOTE VOTE VOTE!!! (none)
    Make then pull the trigger!

    The Schiavo debacle will look like a walk in the Rose Garden compared to the backlash on this.

    The Repubs have misread the country....AGAIN.

  •  I have to admit that I was concerned (none)
    when Reid was chosen as our Senate leader. He has convinced me time and time again since then about how good a choice he was. He really is a powerful leader.
  •  Anyone in Virginia Smell That Funny Smell?? (none)
    I think Pat Robertson just crapped in his pants.
  •  This is like watching... (none)
    ...somebody in rubber gloves pick the legs off a pinned scorpion.  Slowly.

    May the last gambit be to drive Frist's own stinger into his yellow, venomous belly.

    Two-step, lockstep, goosestep: Herr Busch's three-step plan to a righter tomorrow.

    by The Termite on Tue May 10, 2005 at 02:54:52 PM PDT

  •  Give em Hell Harry!!! (none)
    I love this guy... FINALLY A DEM WITH BALLS!!!!!

    "Dissent is the highest form of patriotism" -Thomas Jefferson

    by weelzup on Tue May 10, 2005 at 03:02:45 PM PDT

  •  The Baltimore Sun is reporting (none)
    That Ben Nelson is building a compromise that will allow a vote on "some or all" of the seven re-nominees.

    http://www.baltimoresun.com/news/nationworld/bal-te.judges10may10,1,1913481.story?ctrack=1&cset= true

    If even one of them is confirmed, isn't that a loss for Reid?

    A flame rescued from dry wood has no weight in it's luminous flight yet lifts the heavy lid of night.

    by JakeC on Tue May 10, 2005 at 03:12:00 PM PDT

    •  That's the deal that Frist has already cancelled (none)
      And there's no way in hell that Frist can take any deal -- not with Dobson and Robertson breathing down his neck.

      They're already pissed at him for not holding the vote last week!

      •  Except (none)
        That as I understand it, Frist isn't involved at all- basically six "moderate" Reps and six Dems make the deal, and then that's it- with six Republicans voting against, Frist can't eliminate the filibuster, and with six Dems, the Democrats can't maintain one.

        A flame rescued from dry wood has no weight in it's luminous flight yet lifts the heavy lid of night.

        by JakeC on Tue May 10, 2005 at 06:04:22 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  Shut it Down (none)
    Ending the business of the Republican Senate will be the best thing we can do for the country, since nothing good can come from it anyway.
    Do it now!
  •  I love this headline (none)
    From this morning's Philadelphia Inquirer

    For Frist, a lose-lose situation
    ...yesterday, a coalition of groups - headed by Frist's former staff attorney - demanded that Frist pull the trigger immediately. Many of these activists have already vowed to wreck Frist's 2008 presidential prospects unless he complies.
    ...
    Yet that reticence is welcomed by other constituents within the GOP ranks. Frist's moderate colleagues, and many of his business allies, believe the nuclear option could plunge the Senate into turmoil, imperil the rest of the Bush agenda, and foster the perception that the GOP is too rash in its exercise of power.
    ...
    Steven Smith, a Senate expert at Washington University in St. Louis, said yesterday, "Frist is basically stuck. He has boxed himself in rhetorically, by promising the nuclear option to the conservatives, but a Senate leader, to be successful, needs to be able to compromise.

  •  According to Fox... (none)
    ...the GOP claims to have 52 votes -- with the caveat that it was last week's whip count and things change weekly -- and will vote next week.  They also hinted that Ben Nelson isn't a sure vote on our side. (Yeah, consider the source -- just adding here fwiw...)
  •  Fight Tyranny! (none)
    (here's a nugget I imagine for someone's speech)

    An executive that demands 100% is a dictator. We do not accept tyranny in the United States of America.

    The Constitution grants that nominated ambassadors pass with the advice and consent of the Senate, but we do not consent!

  •  Seems to me the Republicans have a way out (none)
    What if they announce, with great pomp and circumstance, that they are prepared to go nuclear, (or "go Constitutional", or whatever clever catch phrase of the moment) next Tuesday?

    But, instead of Pryor or one of the really controversial judges, what if they put up Griffith or one (or more) of the judges that Reid has put out there as judges he's willing to compromise on.

    Remember, the Republicans have very publicly and emphatically NOT made a deal.

    If the Dems successfully filibuster, and the Republicans detonate, then the debate becomes centered on the nomination of a judge who REID STATED WAS ACCEPTABLE ENOUGH TO ALLOW A VOTE.  How can the Dems claim the high ground over filibustering a judge they actually felt was acceptable?

    And, if they don't filibuster, then Bush gets one or more of the judges in without controversy, the fight gets put over for another day, and the Dems have nothing left to offer in public for a compromise.  We return to the status quo for another few weeks, but Bush has fewer judges to get through.

    And, worst of all, what if the Dems mount a filibuster, but it doesn't hold?  Why can't that happen if you are talking about a nominee that Dems have said wasn't completely objectionable?

    Why can't this happen?  (And please, no answers along the lines of "The Republicans are too stupid/evil to do that"- it reminds me of the chess master who, after losing three games in a row, knocks the board over in a huff and announces that he can't believe he lost- his opponent is an idiot).  What is the downside for the Republicans in going this route?

    A flame rescued from dry wood has no weight in it's luminous flight yet lifts the heavy lid of night.

    by JakeC on Tue May 10, 2005 at 03:53:29 PM PDT

    •  Because (none)
      The Republicans want to hold Griffith outside the box so that they can include his sacrifice as part of a deal.  Every less-controversial one we approve means that someone worse now becomes part of the deal.

      If they put of Griffith, we don't filibuster, and he's in, 58-42 or so.  The world moves on.  He's not the scalp we want.

      "Let's put our heads together/And start a new country up/Our father's father's father tried/Erased the parts he didn't like" - R.E.M., "Cuyahoga"

      by Adam B on Tue May 10, 2005 at 03:58:31 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  It's not just Griffith (none)
        There are others that have been floated by the Dems as one's they would compromise on.  If Bush gets the five least controversial through without a filibuster next week, how is he worse off than he is now?  Sure, the next five are the real fight, but in terms of public relations the Dems end up with nothing to negotiate.

        A flame rescued from dry wood has no weight in it's luminous flight yet lifts the heavy lid of night.

        by JakeC on Tue May 10, 2005 at 06:08:13 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  Wouldn't THAT be fun! (none)
      Sure, Frist can announce he is bringing up Griffith next Tuesday . . . and then wait until Tuesday to find out what Reid does.  Reid can do nothing, or he can start the filibuster, or he can feint the f then allow the debate to end.  So then we go to the following Tuesday, and the one after that, don't we?  
      •  Why does he have to announce (none)
        I'm not certain of Senate procedure, but it seems like Frist could simply say he is planning to bring all ten to a vote that day, without specifying the order, then start with Griffith.

        And, like I said, it seems like Frist doesn't really have to worry what Reid does, he can't really lose.

        A flame rescued from dry wood has no weight in it's luminous flight yet lifts the heavy lid of night.

        by JakeC on Wed May 11, 2005 at 06:25:45 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  will this at long last induce the media... (none)
    ...to admit that it takes 67 votes to change senate rules, not 51?

    i don't get why dems have spotted the gop 16 votes by failing to make this case. once in a while a dem will say they're "breaking the rules to change the rules" but the public has no clue what they're talking about and the media shows zero interest in clarifying it.

    will this at last prompt the media to explain? probably not. here's a choice piece of reporting on reid's statement from CNN:

    [Reid] also suggested that Frist push a previous plan to reduce the number of senators needed to break a filibuster. Although that plan would required[sic] 67 senators' agreement...

    oh, so "that plan" needs 67 votes. i see. naturally, this appears at the bottom of the story and there's no effort to explain where the 67 number comes from. reid might as well have asked for 80 votes, since to the public it will appear he's just pulling a number out of the air in any case!

    "The best lack all conviction, while the worst are full of passionate intensity" -Yeats

    by jethropalerobber on Tue May 10, 2005 at 03:58:47 PM PDT

  •  Frist's response? (none)
    tick-tock, tick-tock, tick-tock.....
  •  This guy... (none)
    ...his balls must be enormous.

    "In such a world of conflict, a world of victims and executioners, it is the job of thinking people not to be on the side of the executioners." -Albert Camus.

    by BrianL on Tue May 10, 2005 at 04:18:48 PM PDT

  •  They were supposed to do it today (none)
    Remember, Dick Cheney is in the Senate on Tuesday, blah, blah, blah.  I don't think Frist has the votes. He has been saying for weeks they are going to do it. I'm with Reid - if Frist is going to do it, then he should shut up and just do it!! Show Americans what you are, Frist, cat killer.

    "If you are not outraged, you are not paying attention."

    by adigal on Tue May 10, 2005 at 05:28:58 PM PDT

    •  Could be (none)
      Could also be that they want to clear the decks first before going to war, making sure that they leave as little as possible that the Dems can block.

      A flame rescued from dry wood has no weight in it's luminous flight yet lifts the heavy lid of night.

      by JakeC on Tue May 10, 2005 at 06:09:40 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  It isn't done yet! (none)
    Everything so far has been a loss---ANWR, bankruptcy, tort reform, corporate charity bills.  So the Republicans push and go nuclear.  The Dems lose cause the Repubs hold as a block.  Then what?  Does anyone expect these spineless Dems to stick together and actually grind the Senate to a halt?  

    So far the Repubs have held their bloc whenever they needed it.  The Dems have never done it on anything of importance.  Until this thing is done and things are relatively safe, I don't think anyone should be praising Senator Reid.  Daschle blew plenty of smoke, often times sounding like a great guy.  The results stunk then, and, so far, they stink now.  

    And, why, when the Republicans nixed all kinds of Clinton nominees, aren't the Dems doing the same thing?  Yeah, the Big Ten are reprehensible, but there's plenty to gripe about with the remainder of Bush's nominees.  They should be forcing the issue on some of these other frogs so they have room to compromise and force Bush to improve his nominations.  The way they're working it, the compromise lies at a line that sits way to far in the borders of fascism.

  •  need to (none)
    Visiting Seatle and BC this summer :)

    Celebrating the one year anniversary of ~americanEntropy~.
    Serving truth addicts since 2004.

    by hfiend on Tue May 10, 2005 at 06:04:51 PM PDT

  •  But didn't Reid say.... (none)
    ...previously that if the GOP pulls the
    nuclear trigger the Dems were going to
    shutdown the Senate (or at least bottle
    up a significant amount of legislation?)

    By asking the GOP to pull the nuclear
    trigger hasn't Reid given up the right
    to shutdown the Senate if he loses?

  •  holy crap... (none)
    i am number 527 on this thread.

    just amazing, tears are coming..

  •  What flibuster?.. (none)
    Maybe if instead of just calling it a filibuster. They actually made the party using the tactic stand in the well of the senate and lay out their case for however long it takes 'em to explain it - We wouldn't be having this conversation. Next time Reid and Co. say they're gonna filibuster. Frist should just say, "Fine, Start talking Bitch...We got time. Just give us a nod about the time you're running out of focus grouped material and we'll get on with that up or down vote."

    You realize that if these guys really could stand in the senate and publicly portray these nominees as "radical" without opening themselves up to litigious recourse and / or making themselves look like total jackasses they would be doing it.  

    Sometimes the team we prefer is the team that's in the wrong.. This is one of those instances.

    M

    •  Free media access (none)
      If they're doing a filibuster, you realize it will be televised on CSPAN -- any material they want to present.  Essentially for free.  This could be great press.  Want to start outlining ALL of the Presidents questionable activities for the past 5 years?  Here's your forum.

      Happy little moron, lucky little man. I wish I was a moron, my God, perhaps I am! -- Spike Milligan

      by polecat on Tue May 10, 2005 at 08:11:45 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  And those 55 R Senators are going to love (none)
      being summoned for a quorum call every 30 minutes, or however often the Democrats choose to call for one, aren't they?  One filibusterer, you know, only needs to talk while he has 50 listeners, and the Democratic Senators have no incentive to come listen. . . .
  •  "Dirty Harry" Reid (none)
    I went through most of this thread and I was surprised that someone has't come up with this aprepo analogy.  So here it goes for amusemnt only:

    "I know what your think'in Bill.  Do I have 50 votes or only 49.  The tell you the truth Bill, in all this excitement over the fillabuster, Iv'e lost count myself.  The question you have to answer is do you feel lucky?  Well do ya punk?  GO AHEAD MAKE MY DAY!"
                                 Signed
                                 Dirty Harry Reid

    If the Dirty Harry nickname sticks, rmember you heard ut first here.
     

  •  CALL THE VOTE!! (none)
    CALL IT! NOW!! DO IT!
  •  A good question for nuclear republicans... (none)
    If the nuclear option is so critical, then what constitutes advise and consent for the GOP?  Its a fair question... The smarty pants majority Leader Frist (who to remind everyone saved lives in Africa) has given how much time on the floor to actually debate these judges on record...none that I know of.  This just underscores the ridiculousless of it all....no debate, no advise and consent...just push'em through....whats the point of the senate?  

    Senator Reid, if you are reading this please ask your GOP collegues..:What constitutes advise and consent and how will triggering this nuclear option ensure that....all the nuclear option does is trigger a vote, no debate, no nothing, no nada.....Frist is an embarrassment

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