Fear of Clowns

"Faith may be defined briefly as an illogical belief in the occurrence of the improbable."
- H. L. Mencken

Monday, May 23, 2005

Celebratory ice cream and why I'm celebrating a big victory 

Edy's carmel bar crunch

I've changed my mind on the agreement. When I first heard it, I was still in "keep outrageous judges off the bench" mode, but now realize this is a tremendous political victory for everybody that's left of the extreme right junto that's been running the country like they were an American politburo recently.

Although the Republicans get three extremist federal judges, Owen goes to the Fifth Circuit which is already extremist beyond repair any time soon. This is the court that claimed the 10 Commandments were primarily secular in order to allow the state of TX to put the power and prestige of government behind a religious display. So an appointment of another 'winger on the Court isn't going to change much.

The score on the five appointments mentioned is 2-2-1. Even.

Here is where the Republicans lose big: Their messaging that filibustering judicial appointments is unconstitutional just got sunk. Blotto. Out of play. From the agreement,

In light of the spirit and continuing commitments made in this agreement, we commit to oppose the rules changes in the 109th Congress, which we understand to be any amendment to or interpretation of the Rules of the Senate that would force a vote on a judicial nomination by means other than unanimous consent or Rule XXII.

Even if all three that get a vote on the floor are confirmed, the mess it causes for the Frist posse is worth it.

The extreme right is going to lose of Social Security. The extreme right lost Terri Schiavo. And they lost the trigger on their "nuclear option": presidential appointments are not guaranteed an "up-or-down" vote; the Senate's tradition of protecting minority rights through the filibuster is preserved. And they know they lost and are writhing in piteous agony:

From Mullah Dobson,

This Senate agreement represents a complete bailout and betrayal by a cabal of Republicans and a great victory for united Democrats ... The unconstitutional filibuster survives in the arsenal of Senate liberals.

Mark "Man in the Dark" Levin sees it as a weak phyrric victory (and screams that passing muster from the ABA is more important than passing muster in the Senate),

As I see it, we've gained 3 judges we would have gained had the rule been changed ... the filibuster lives, only to be triggered if an "extraordinary"candidate -- i.e., an originalist -- who is nominated by the president, approved by the ABA, and is voted out of committee reaches the Senate floor.

Hindrocket moans in pain,

This is the key language. It is absolutely sickening. It promises the Democrats that the Republicans will not stop the filibuster during this Congress. It recognizes the filibuster of judges as a legitimate tool. And it blames President Bush for the Democrats' obstructionism.

Gary Bauer cringes,

Under this agreement it is now more likely that radical social change will continue to be forced on the American people by liberal courts committed to same sex marriage, abortion ... The Republicans who lent their names to this travesty have undercut their President as well as millions of their most loyal voters.

Polipundit tries to put some positive spin on it, but hopes readers have trouble with math (55 Republicans - 7 Republicans = 48 Republicans, a minority),

In short, this is the submission of the minority to the will of the majority. Democrats and wobbly Republicans can spin it as they will but you, my readers, will I hope see otherwise.

Garden-variety Right-wingers pledge to leave the GOP in droves,

What the HELL is this???????? We don't need a deal!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I am furious. I will NOT SEND ANY MORE MONEY TO THE REPUBS. We didn't NEED a deal and we don't WANT a deal!!!

I mailed my change of registration in this morning. Welcome to the growing ranks of the unaffiliated.

This is a sad day for the Republican party, and the conservative movement in this country! The Dems will likely gain in Congress in 2006 because of this kind of cowardice.

It seems like Frist wouldn't have to votes to stop a potential filibuster on a SCOTUS nominee.

Underneath the chestnut tree; The Republicans sold you, and the GOP sold me.

Not another frigging dime or a minute of my time, I stay home in 06' or vote libertarian. Unfreakin believable.

Enter Harry Reid,

There is good news for every American in this agreement. The so-called "nuclear option" is off the table. This is a significant victory for our country, for democracy, and for all Americans. Checks and balances in our government have been preserved.

The integrity of future Supreme Courts has been protected from the undue influences of a vocal, radical faction of the right that is completely out of step with mainstream America. That was the intent of the Republican "nuclear option" from the beginning. Tonight, the Senate has worked its will on behalf of reason, responsibility and the greater good.

We have sent President George Bush, Vice President Dick Cheney and the radical arm of the Republican base an undeniable message: Abuse of power will not be tolerated, and attempts to trample the Constitution and grab absolute control are over. We are a separate and equal branch of government. That is our founding fathers' vision, and one we hold dear.

I offered Senator Frist several options similar to this compromise, and while he was not able to agree, I am pleased that some responsible Republicans and my colleagues were able to put aside there differences and work from the center. I do not support several of the judges that have been agreed to because their views and records display judicial activism that jeopardize individual rights and freedoms. But other troublesome nominees have been turned down. And, most importantly, the U.S. Senate retains the checks and balances to ensure all voices are heard in our democracy and the Supreme Court make-up cannot be decided by a simple majority.

I am grateful to my colleagues who brokered this deal. Now, we can move beyond this time-consuming process that has deteriorated the comity of this great institution. I am hopeful that we can quickly turn to work on the people's business. We need to ensure our troops have the resources they need to fight in Iraq and that Americans are free from terrorism. We need to protect retiree's pensions and long-term security. We need to expand health care opportunities for all families. We need to address rising gasoline prices and energy independence. And we need to restore fiscal responsibility and rebuild our economy so that it lifts all American workers. That is our reform agenda, the people's reform agenda. Together, we can get the job done.

Des is cautiously optimistic. Gary doesn't see that only three contentious nominations will not be filibustered, or does not place incredible value on the defeat this has seemed to hand the extreme right. Think Progress warns of a vague statement by DeWine (R-OH) which seems to contradict the text of the agreement reproduced above. Matt Yglasias is lukewarm on the deal as he's taking a purist stance the three nominations who will get a cloture vote was bullying by the Republicans, but sees "some merit" in the defeat the extreme right has been handed. Crooks and Liars has a big round-up of reactions and some video.

In "How I Stopped Worrying and Learned to Love the 'Totally Unacceptable' Nuke Deal", the Decembrist explains part of the deal that some (like he and I) seem to have at first missed,

I think the language in the agreement about how every Senator will follow his or her "own discretion and judgment in determining whether [extraordinary] circumstances exist" in a vague way takes care of my concern. It's boilerplate language, but it makes clear that the judgment about future filibusters is independent of anything in the deal itself. In a way, it reminds me of the language in the Bush v. Gore decision where the Court declared that its use of the equal protection standard applied to this case only one a one-time basis. I see this as an agreement to confirm Brown and Owen one time only, to get this crisis behind us.

I'm having another bowl of ice cream. Public opinion has already been against the Republicans on this issue, nobody likes a loser, and anything else they can do at this point will be more ridiculously extreme - like getting two of the compromisers to turn their backs on the agreement or pushing the red nuclear button in the wee hours when they have enough vote's "present" to claim they changed the Senate rules.

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What the HELL is this???????? We don't need a deal!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I am furious. I will NOT SEND ANY MORE MONEY TO THE REPUBS. We didn't NEED a deal and we don't WANT a deal!!!

Heh heh heh, this is *such* a bonus.
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