Tuesday, May 24, 2005

There must be a pony in here somewhere

FWIW, my two cents on the Great Compromise:

Pfft.

I have no doubt that many of the men and women trying to find the middle ground in this mess were making an honest effort to preserve the essential character of the Senate, in addition to whatever personal/political motives may have been in play (and they are too numerous to count). I also have little doubt that the Democrats win a short-term advantage in Spin Alley. And let's face it, it's fun watching Faus--er, Frist getting knocked down a peg or two for the time being.

But I can't find the pony in here.

First, the "Extraordinary Circumstances" clause makes the deal one of convenience for the Republicans. Extraordinary? I'd say having three Radical Right Activists who were defeated last year jammed up the Senate's ass again this year is pretty extraordinary, but all three will be appointed to their circuits by the end of the week. And as for SCOTUS nominees, the bar has already been set so pathetically low and right with Silent Clarence and Fat Tony that the Repubs will dismiss claims of "extraordinary" for anyone sent up who isn't frothing at the mouth and branded with a "666" on his/her forehead.

Second, even for the Repubicans acting in good faith, this thing works only as long as the Wingnuts interpret the message from the moderate Republicans as being "back off" rather than "try jamming a little harder next time." And there's absolutely no reason to expect that they won't try the latter. They do not respond rationally to rational actions. Dobson's already providing cover for Frist by dismissing the deal as the act of a breakaway cabal; it wouldn't surprise me one bit to see Frist bring everything back to square one by reintroducing Henry Saad next week.

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