I am on record as saying that all this talk of compromise is just blue smoke and mirrors because Dobson & Co. will not allow any, and to do so requires basically destroying Frist. It's one thing to vote No "as a matter of conscience" for those Senators who can buck Dobson. But to cut a deal around Frist on the operation of judicial nominees going forward is, dare I say it, really not a position of principle for anybody.
But let's assume, for the sake of argument, that compromise is possible. What type of compromise is acceptable? I am with Josh Marshall:
What I don't understand is the logic of the deal that some of the senate moderates seem to have been and perhaps still are considering. The proposal floated yesterday would allow the two most extreme nominees, Owen and Brown, to go through, in addition to three others. On top of that the senate Dems, if I understand this right, would agree, in essence, seldom if ever to join filibusters in exchange for a promise from their counterparts on the other side not to vote to outlaw filibusters.
Now, there are those I've spoken to who see such a deal as worth it because at least it leaves the filibuster intact for the upcoming Supreme Court nominations. But this strikes me as foolish. There are easily enough Republicans to defeat this right now, if this were a secret vote. What we're seeing, however, is the degree of pressure the president, the religious right and Sen. Frist -- who is in hock to the religious right because he wants to be president -- are putting them under.
If the filibuster is 'saved' today at the cost of letting the most constitutionally noxious nominees go through, do we really imagine that the pressure will be any less when we get into a Supreme Court battle? The question answers itself. If they can't withstand the pressure now, they certainly won't be able to withstand it then. So such a deal, as near as I can figure it, would 'save' the filibuster in an entirely meaningless way, a right the minority would continue to hold so long as they agree never to use it.
The situation would be different if the deal did not allow through at least the two most extreme nominees, Owen and Brown. On one level it would be different simply because those two judges' records make them the most important to defeat. On another level, though, it would represent a telling sign. If these Republican moderates were to agree to a deal that nixed these two nominations, that would tell me that they really are willing to hand their leadership (and the Dobsonites) a significant defeat and that they recognize that the power of the filibuster remains intact -- otherwise, why nix the two nominees both sides see as most important.
No Owen and no Brown. A firm commitment to no nuclear option.
Any compromise that does not include these points is unacceptable and the WORST outcome Democrats could get.
So Lieberman, Nelson, Salazar, et al, be forewarned, I at least will hold such a compromise against you.
Senator Reid has said no to this in no uncertain terms. And with good reason.