So, was the fight really only about preserving a cherished rule?
I thought it was about keeping extremist judges like Priscilla Owen off the bench.
Judicial nominee Priscilla Owen gets the vote she's been awaiting for more than four years, the most immediate beneficiary of a deal worked out by Senate moderates to avoid a debilitating fight over filibusters.
U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals based in New Orleans. With the threat of a filibuster by Democrats removed, she was nearly certain then to get the simple majority vote needed to give her the seat that long has eluded her, perhaps as early as Tuesday.
The agreement, crafted over the past several weeks by seven Republicans and seven Democrats, also opened the way for yes-or-no votes on two other of President Bush's judicial picks who have been in nomination limbo for more than two years — William H. Pryor Jr. for the Atlanta-based 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals and Janice Rogers Brown for the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit.
Which means that Bush gets every single judge he wants appointed appointed. Two nominees are staying in "limbo," but Bush will probably give them pocket appointments as soon as he gets the chance.
And what did the Democrats get out of this "compromise?"
The agreement, which applies to Supreme Court nominees, said future judicial nominations should "only be filibustered under extraordinary circumstances," with each Democratic senator holding the discretion to decide when those conditions had been met...
"In light of the spirit and continuing commitments made in this agreement," Republicans said they would oppose any attempt to make changes in the application of filibuster rules. But Sen. Mike DeWine (news, bio, voting record), R-Ohio, said the agreement was conditional on Democrats upholding their end of the deal.
Which sounds to me as though the Republicans think the deal is that the right to filibuster will be preserved only as long as the Democrats promise never to use it. What do you want to bet that the Republicans will never agree that any extraordinary circumstances have arrived?
But I don't just mean the Democratic Senators. I mean all Democrats. What good did this do us? They might just as well have lost the fight for all the good it does.
Does anybody believe that when Bush makes his first appointment to the Supreme Court he will choose a moderate now? Does anybody believe if the Democrats try to block that nominee Bill Frist will abide by this compromise?
Frist, who had joined with party conservatives in pressing for an end to judicial filibusters, stressed that he was not a party to the agreement. He said he hoped it would end a "miserable chapter in the history of the Senate," but said that what he called the "constitutional option" was still on the table. He said he "will monitor this agreement closely."
As far as I can tell this "compromise" lets George Bush and Bill Frist have everything they want and they don't even have to promise to play nice in the future. The Democrats have to rely on John Warner and John McCain to get mad on their behalf the next time Frist tries to castrate them.
All we need to know is that the leader of the Democratic Centrists on this one was Jumping Joe Lieberman.
When will the word Lieberman replace Quisling in the dictionary?
...I have concluded that I am opposed to a compromise on this one. This filibuster debate is not about rational discussion or debate or informed disagreement. It is not about agreeing to disagree the way reasonable, thinking people often do.
It is about whether we believe that extremism is acceptable. It is about whether it is appropriate to continue to believe that the behaviors that the majority of us have found more or less acceptable in years past are still normative. The belief that those behaviors should continue to influence the public discourse. That reasoned discussion and compromise that leads to consensus and shared belief is a more effective way to lead, govern and protect the interests of our great republic.
It is past time to challenge the belief that the kind of increasingly belligerent behavior exhibited these past weeks, months and years by certain of the leadership of our public institutions and organizations is not only permissible but also acceptable.
I, for one, do not think any of it is acceptable. Nor should it be permissible. I am not talking about free speech. I am talking about abuse. The tyranny of the majority...
The alternative is to continue to appease the extremists. Appeasement never works. A bully is a bully is a bully. We have been afflicted with more bullies than any rational being should have to tolerate. DeLay, Santorum, Dobson and their ilk are all bullies. They depend on fear and intimidation. You always reach a point with a bully where you stand up and say no more. If you blink when that point comes you will forever regret the blink. We all know in our hearts that that time has now come.
When he was a little kid, Joe Lieberman probably wasn't the type to stand up to bullies. He was the type who went looking for the bullies to volunatarily give them all his lunch money and snitch on the other little kids who were thinking about standing up to the bullies.
He was the type of little weasel who didn't just want the bullies to leave him alone. He wanted the bullies to like him.
When Lieberman stood up on the Senate floor to denounce Bill Clinton back during the Monica Lewinsky scandal, he wasn't speaking as a moral man outraged at the President's bad behavior.
He was speaking as that sniveling little kid. He was saying to the bullies in Congress, "Here's my lunch money! Now please don't hurt me! Go get Billy. He's doesn't like you!"
And when he helped broker this deal he was doing the same thing.
McCain and Warner and the other Republican "centrists" aren't much better. The compromise lets them off the hook. They avoid having to stand up for principle at the risk of earning the wrath of the Right Wingers.
The bullies get their way and Joe Lieberman feels like he's part of the bullies' club and the media go away and the rest of us get jumped on our way home.