Wednesday, May 25, 2005

Should We Cheer?

I promised you a rant on the "compromise" regarding the judicial nominees, didn't I. Well, I have to head out to yoga class in a few minutes, so I'll try to be brief.

First off, the one who was approved today, Priscilla Owens, well, originally the Attorney General (no liberal himself) didn't think much of her, as this article mentions. For other bits about her, check the links on the sidebars of that article.

But what about the compromise itself? I don't much like it. First off, despite the wailing and gnashing of teeth by some on the right (especially the far right fundamentalists), a number of Senators, including Frist, basically said that, despite the compromise, the so-called nuclear option has not, in fact, been removed from the table. That is, the Republicans are prepared to change the way the Senate has done business throughout its history in order to (for all intents and purposes) institute one-party rule. The compromise theoretically "allows" the Democrats to filibuster "extreme" nominees--I guarantee you that, despite this supposed agreement, the first time the Democrats attempt a filibuster, no matter how extreme the nominee, the right wingnuts will accuse the Democrats of breaking the agreement. This will have the effect of putting the moderate Republicans on the hot seat (which isn't necessarily bad), but will they really uphold the compromise, i.e., vote with the Democrats and foil the nuclear option? I doubt it. Second, the Democrats will almost certainly not get the airtime they need to make it clear just how extreme the particular candidate really is. Take today's vote, for example: Despite the bits you may have read about Owens, the NY Times headline read, "After 4 Years, Senate Votes to Confirm Owen for Federal Bench." No mention why it might have taken that long. No mention of her decisions. No mention, in most of the articles about this whole thing, that Bush has had more of his nominees confirmed than did Clinton, despite the radical nature of many of the ones on whom votes have been denied, and certainly little or no mention of the fact that these same nuclear-option people have, yes, used the filibuster, i.e., the very tool the want to strip away from the minority party's hands. (Repeat after me and Eric Alterman: What liberal media?)

The only solution, and it's not a very good one, is for the Democrats to (a) attempt to publicize far and wide just what is so objectionable about these candidates (which will be difficult, given how everyone's concerned with Rob and Amber's marriage) and (b) hold firm in voting against these candidates. Today's vote wasn't too bad--not too many broke ranks. But unity on this will only help in the midterm elections, IMHO. This will require a spine, however.


Blogger landismom said...

Arrrrghhhh. Our country is going to hell, and I can't stand to watch. I'm very frustrated by this whole situation, and the lack of spines (on our alleged side) all around.

9:01 PM  

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