Tuesday, March 15, 2005

From Donkey to Mule

There've been any number of veiled threats dropped by the Senate republican leadership in recent weeks in reference to revoking the filibuster. Today Will Pitt pointed me in the direction of this Boston globe story, GOP sees momentum in ending judicial filibusters which indicates that the threat may become action very soon.
    Republicans, insisting that filibusters should not keep the Senate from voting on a judicial nominee, want to change the rules to stop the Democrats. Until now, some senior Republican senators warned that the proposal would erode tradition and bring a new level of partisan bitterness to the chamber, which could backfire should Democrats regain power.

    But Manuel Miranda, a former top aide for judicial nominations to Senate majority leader Bill Frist, said circumstances have erased many of those hesitations: Democrats show no sign of yielding on their filibusters, Supreme Court battles loom, and Frist, a likely 2008 presidential candidate, has made it a priority to appeal to conservative GOP primary voters by getting conservative judges confirmed.

    "We think we have 53 votes," said Miranda, who joined the Heritage Foundation and now leads a regular conference call among conservative groups building support for ending Democratic judicial filibusters. "The question now is not if but when."
What do the democrats have in their arsenal to fight back? One, potential electoral retribution. A recent poll shows that
    Only 37% of Americans gave Congress a high approval rating, down from 45% last month, the poll taken last week showed. A total of 53% disapproved, up from 48% in February.
And then there's the "donkey to mule" option. Senator Harry Reid has explicitly warned that if the filibuster is ended, the democrats will slow down Senate business to zero by insisting all bills be read in full, and that votes be taken on every single motion. Here's hoping Reid can make those accomodationist senate dems who helped pass the bankruptcy bill hold the line on this "no more mister nice guy" tactic. If he does, I'll be watching c-span and cheering them on.

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