(From the diaries -- Plutonium Page)
Cross-posted at The Next Hurrah
This one's just for fun. Yesterday, an AP article suggested the seven R non-committeds were:
Sen. Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska, Sen. Chuck Hagel, R-Neb., Sen. John Sununu, R-N.H., Sen. Arlen Specter, R-Pa., Sen. John Warner, R-Va., Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine, Sen. Mike DeWine, R-Ohio.
Meanwhile, Josh Marshall
adds a tidbit on Pat Roberts not being so solid from the KC Star
With a showdown over judicial nominees looming, Sen. Pat Roberts of Kansas could be one of several pivotal Republicans to oppose stripping the Senate of its traditional power to filibuster.
Roberts expressed doubt about the "nuclear option," which would end a long-running Democratic threat -- to filibuster seven of President Bush's nominees for the federal bench -- by changing long-standing Senate rules.
"What goes around comes around," Roberts said in an interview last week, worried that the rule change could someday come back to haunt his party.
The region's other Republican senators, Kit Bond and Jim Talent of Missouri, and Sam Brownback of Kansas all said they would back Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist.
And Steve Clemons
adds a piece from the Providence Journal
about the price Chafee will pay for being a court toady on Bolton (he'll try to balance this with a vote to sustain the filibuster):
It remains uncertain whether John Bolton, George Bush's embattled nominee as United Nations ambassador, will be confirmed by the full Senate, and who knows how he'd actually do in office, or how many Rhode Islanders will care about any of this next year, or cared even last week. But the topic certainly was in the news, and on Thursday morning, the day Chafee's Senate Foreign Relations Committee took up the nomination, your local newspaper published this front-page headline:
Chafee will defer to Bush, vote for Bolton for U.N. post
The headline captured the story fairly, and the story captured the situation fairly.
And that's Chafee's potential problem.
In proceeding to join his fellow Republicans in a 10-to-8 party-line vote to send the unpopular nomination to the full Senate, Chafee played directly into the hands of Democratic opponents who charge he'd rather knuckle under to a right-wing GOP president than use his brain and represent the interests of Rhode Islanders.
So, on the one hand we've got some Republican Senators already on the record (including Chafee and McCain, along with the expected Snowe) against the rules changes, and others where their vote is in doubt.
The President, the shadow president (Cheney), and Frist all expect to have 50 votes by the time the trigger is pulled. If they have the votes, they'll vote. Every day they don't vote is a day they're still scrambling. Keeping in mind that all politics is local, which Senators will break which way?
Sen. Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska: possible nay (siding with Dems) but still undecided
Conservative groups such as Progress for America and Focus on the Family have spent millions of dollars on ads since mid-April in Alaska and elsewhere trying to persuade undecided Republican senators to support Frist.
Murkowski said those efforts have backfired with her.
"I was very offended at the tone," Murkowski said. "But they've continued, and it's been kind of interesting. I've probably gotten more positive feedback for my position, which Alaskans consider to be very thoughtful, very deliberate, about what is happening here in the Senate."
In addition to the above quote from the AP article, Murkowski voted yea on Bolton, which is either a sign of her final vote on all things R, or, like Chaffee, a yea so she's freer to vote nay.
Sen. Chuck Hagel, R-Neb. : probable aye (supporting Frist)
Hagel has his eye on the Presidency in 2008. Even running as a moderate, and a maverick, he needs to get past a R primary to have any traction. His vote on Bolton and the filibuster, whatever doubts he privately has, seems assured.
Sen. John Sununu, R-N.H. : probable aye
Sununu, like his father, is as reliable as any R when it comes to wing-nuttery. He just likes to pretend he's deliberative to preserve his 'influence'. It's all bullshit, just like in the SFRC with Bolton.
Sen. Arlen Specter, R-Pa. : possible nay
At 75, after being raked over the coals by Toomey in a primary, and with a diagnosis of a lymph cancer requiring chemo for the next six months, Specter may be freer than most chairs to vote his conscience.
In an interview
Sen. John Warner, R-Va.
, the Pennsylvania Republican warned that liberal and conservative activists did not want a compromise that would avert the use of the so-called nuclear option to end filibusters against judges. Reports have suggested that Frist may act next week.
"People on the far left are 'filibuster forever.' People on the far right are 'pull the trigger,' " Specter said.
Acknowledging the pressure to "go nuclear" by religious conservatives on Frist, widely viewed as a 2008 presidential candidate, Specter said he did not think Frist "would subvert his job as majority leader for long-term ambition."
"A show of independence by Frist - along with all the rest of us - could enhance his stature," the chairman said.
As expected, the Judiciary Committee once again voted yesterday along party lines to approve the nomination of former Alabama Attorney General William Pryor, who had already been filibustered once. Specter said the imminent confrontation might mark the most important vote in his 25 years in the Senate, and perhaps - war votes withstanding - for much longer than that.
: possible nay
Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine :
is the last of the powerful GOP "old bulls" in the Senate not to say he will join with Frist. Warner has said repeatedly that he worries that ending the judicial filibuster will weaken the Senate.
"I tend to be a traditionalist, and the right of unlimited debate has been a hallmark of the Senate since its inception," Warner said. "Without question, though, I am strongly opposed to the use of the filibuster to block judicial nominations."
Liberals and conservatives are focusing on Warner and other undecided Republicans through telephone calls, Internet campaigns and television advertisements.
Her heart says no. The Portsmouth naval base being on the closure list says yes. She has less backbone than Snowe, but Maine does not love Junior the way it does Poppy.
"Maine is a cheap state
," he said. "If you have a million dollars you can come in and buy a lot of television. For interest groups who have tens of millions, this looks like a good buy."
Sandy Maisel, director of the Goldfarb Center for Public Affairs and Civic Engagement at Colby College, said both sides in the ad wars have deep pockets.
"They have money they don't know what to do with," Maisel said, and when one side puts on a series of spots, the other side often feels that it has no choice but to respond.
Neither senator believes that the ads are money well spent.
"I don't have a lot of interest in what an outside group that is not based in Maine thinks about a particular issue," Collins said.
Sen. Mike DeWine, R-Ohio. : probable aye
sees power in not having committed to either side.
"I've decided. I just haven't announced it yet because I think that it's a good chance that we can get it worked out," DeWine said. "I'm hopeful that by not announcing it, I can help keep these negotiations going."
If we have to depend on DeWine, we've already lost.
Sen. Pat Roberts, R-Kansas : probable aye
See above story. Intriguing that he's even on the list, no?
The CW is that we get Warner and Collins, and maybe Specter. That's gives 51 votes against a rules change, preserving the filibuster. But as Ron Brownstein has written, counting on R moderates is dangerous territory for Dems. Even if that's where things stand at the moment, things could change by next week. Base closing promises (think Collins) and other sweeteners are how business is done in DC, and why the President usually wins these debates. Washington is still the land of the Golden Rule; those that have the gold make the rules.