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Monday, May 23, 2005

'Nuclear Option' Averted, Compromise Means Moderates Will Be New Media Stars

As I expected, the Senate GOP leadership found a way to avoid invoking the so-called Nuclear Option to force up-or-down votes on President Bush's judicial nominees. Hugh Hewitt has the text of the compromise agreement. Powerline's John Hindraker is extremely disappointed.

I said months ago that Senate GOPers are terrified of offending Senate Democrats. Now we will see the Senate GOP leadership desperately searching for a way to share in the glory that even as this post is being written is being prepared by the MSM to shower upon Senate "moderates" of both parties who "saved" the Senate and the federal judiciary from the Extreme Right and the Evangelical Christian Theocracy.

Now that the Battle of the Filibuster has been lost by the Senate GOP leadership, the next threshold question concerns the future of the Republican Party. The GOP has had a majority in both the Senate and House for most of the past decade and a president in the White House since 2001.

And what do we have to show for this GOP dominance? Federal spending is skyrocketing. Federal regulations are skyrocketing. Medicare entitlements are skyrocketing. Social Security reform is stagnating. The Global War on Terrorism is being used to justify making the government less transparent and accountable in areas that have nothing to do with national security. The president is likely now limited to appointing moderates to the Supreme Court instead of the conservatives needed to restore the Constitution's health.

The list of ways in which Big Government not only continues to grow under the GOP but is being solidified against rollback is lengthy and growing. So could somebody please explain what use the GOP is to the cause of liberty and limited government?


Michelle Malkin has an excellent early roundup here, including this: "Compromise Reached, Republicans Screwed."

Captain Ed offers a detailed assessment of the compromise text and summarizes it with these conclusions. about how "an even smaller minority" now controls the confirmation process:
"In short, this could be merely objectionable and not a debacle, depending on how the GOP signatories interpret "extraordinary circumstances". One must suspect that this has already been defined confidentially within the group, and like Sean Rushton surmises, ideology doesn't play a part in it any longer.
"Under no circumstances can this be seen as a good deal for the Senate majority or for Constitutional rule. The net effect is that an even smaller minority in the Senate has hijacked the confirmation process than we saw during the filibusters -- and like all tyrannies, we can only hope for benevolent despotism rather than disaster."

Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist can forget the White House now, according to Hugh Hewitt, who notes that "if Senator Frist can't talk Ohio's Mike DeWine and and South Carolina's Lindsey Graham off the ledge, voters will wonder how he can talk Great Britain and Italy into future coaltions of the willing."

Okie on the Lam sees a certain bridge in the Senate GOP's future: "There are bad deals, and there are stupid deals, and then there are really incredibly-stupid, outrageously-bad deals, and then there is the deal that went down in the U.S. Senate today, which dwarfs them all in badness and stupidity!"

RedState.org has a different take on the deal: "The much-discussed deal on judges was, despite the cries of the hard core, about the best possible outcome for the Republicans at this point. Of course, the best possible outcome would have been for this to never have been made an issue at all: the President was having a fair number of his nominees pushed through, and there was not, to my mind, any particularly unusual Democratic obstructionism underway. Certainly it was annoying to see particular nominees held up on procedural grounds: but really, folks, welcome to the United State Senate."