Monday, May 02, 2005

Showdown Inevitable

Bill Frist tells the USA Today that a showdown on filibustering judges is almost inevitable and that a vote should happen before Memorial Day. He says he has the votes. I am not so sure and think that the situation is still fluid for at least two or three GOP Senators.

As should be clear, I favor some sort of compromise rather than invoking the nuclear option. But be perfectly clear, if Frist does gather enough support, the Democrats must hit back with whatever legislative and procedural methods at their disposal, even at the risk of some backlash.

Democrats should also assert that with this gambit the GOP has killed the filibuster once and for all. (It would be painful in the short run, but very useful when they gain a majority, probably in 2008 or 2010.) If the Republican majority chooses to keep their word an honor future Democratic legislative filibusters, fine, but Democrats should know that the GOP will use this tactic again. (The first time is always the hardest, next time will be easier, and pretty soon it will be routine.)

Preempting the GOP's further destruction of the filibuster by making this vote an up or down vote on the future filibuster is one last way to attempt to bring Frist to the table to negotiate in good faith, and will certainly weigh on the minds of some of the more moderate or traditional GOP Senators when they cast their vote.