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A deal or a sell-out?

Posted by Richard on May 24, 2005

So, the "moderate" Republicans and "moderate" Democrats have reached a deal to avoid the (pick one) nuclear/Constitutional/Byrd option. At least for now.

My first reaction? I’m immensely relieved that the deal guarantees no filibuster of Janice Rogers Brown, who I think is an outstanding nominee and hope to see on the Supreme Court. I was afraid that her libertarian, Lockean philosophy of law would make it easy for some Republicans to toss her overboard.

My second reaction? The party with a 55-45 majority has settled for 3 out of 10. I don’t know whether to laugh or throw up.

Captain Ed has good analysis here and here, and I hope he’s right about "extraordinary circumstances":

The fact that Senate Democrats are willing to allow cloture on Owen, Brown, and Pryor indicates that conservative judicial philosophy cannot be considered the basis for a filibuster, or an “extraordinary circumstance.” 

The good Captain concludes that "this could be merely objectionable and not a debacle, depending on how the GOP signatories interpret ‘extraordinary circumstances’."

Hugh Hewitt isn’t too happy:

It is impossible to say whether this is a "terrible" deal, a "bad" deal, or a very, very marginally "ok" deal, but it surely is not a good deal.  Not one dime more for the NRSC from me unless and until the Supreme Court nominee gets confirmed, and no other filibusters develop.

Michelle Malkin is a bit more upset:

The GOP parade of pusillanimity marches on. With this pathetic cave-in, the Republicans have sealed their fate as a Majority in Name Only.

Next stop on the trail of capitulation? Driving the final nail in John Bolton’s coffin.

Patterico even more so:

Read it. The only conceivable “out” for Republicans is if Democrats fail to live up to the agreement — but each Democrat commits only to “use his or her own discretion and judgment” in deciding whether to filibuster. All they have to do is say: “My conscience tells me this nominee should be filibustered” and they have lived up to the deal.

It’s very simple: the Republicans lost. Their hands are tied. They caved. There is no silver lining.

And later Patterico offers a chilling item:

So, you think Owen, Pryor, and Brown will all make it, eh?

Howard Bashman certainly does:

The deal expressly guarantees up-or-down votes, and thus confirmation, for D.C. Circuit nominee Janice Rogers Brown, Fifth Circuit nominee Priscilla R. Owen, and Eleventh Circuit nominee William H. Pryor, Jr.


Confirm Them goes so far as to congratulate “Judge William H. Pryor Jr.”

Slow down there, hoss.

A Kevin Drum commenter says that, according to Lindsey Graham on MSNBC, one of Owen, Pryor, or Brown will be voted down on the floor.

Has anyone else heard this? I can’t find a transcript. I wouldn’t put it past the traitorous seven to agree to help vote down one of the three . . .

I’ll put it in the “rumor bin” for now, but it certainly has the ring of truth.

If this is true, I fear it’s Brown who’ll be betrayed. But would Sen. Graham be stupid enough to acknowledge such a betrayal on national TV? Never mind, forget I asked. They are — clearly — the stupid party.

Tomorrow, it’s time to call the offices of Senators McCain, DeWine, Snowe, Warner, Graham, Collins, and Chafee. And try to remain polite and respectful.

I’m not a Republican, and I’ve maintained for years that Republican politicians are mainly unprincipled scum who mouth platitudes about individual liberty and limited government without even really understanding the ideas that their party supposedly stands for. But I’ve been sympathetic to them lately for two primary reasons:

  1. The admirable, brave, and principled way in which GWB reacted to 9/11, discarding decades of failed "realpolitik" in favor of a commitment to the transformational power of liberty.
  2. The increasingly shrill, vicious, hateful, and contemptible far-left rhetoric hurled at them by the Democrats.

But whatever good will I felt for the GOP is about gone. I’m leaning toward Mitch Berg’s atttitude in his "Note to Bill Frist: You Suck":  

We won you a majority, pinhead. What the hell good is it? You think the Democrats are going to abide by your little gentleman’s agreement? You got conned. You entered into an agreement with a Klansman, a drunk machine hack and a party bag man. You are the Neville Chamberlain of my generation.

I don’t believe in Karma, but I believe what goes around comes around. And I guess you demonstrate it, Frist. The Democrats elect a pinhead doctor to lead their party – I guess it’s only fair we did, too.

Thank God for Tom Delay. The least you could do is make it hard for the Dems to neutralize you, rather than walking off the cliff into the kool-aid vat on your own.

Captain Ed is right. Not one more dime. You have made me ashamed to be a Republican.

A shot of whiskey, a fervent hope that Brown makes it, and a sad shake of the head. Time to call it a day.

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