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Monday, May 23, 2005

Countdown to Nukular

Unless some deal is in the offing, we'll see a vote on the nuclear option this week. Over at the Left Coaster, Steve Soto leaves no doubt about the ultimate goal of the ReThugs:
They want to install Bill Rehnquist's successor with only 51 votes, and to be able to fill any additional Supreme Court vacancies the next three and a half years with only 50 votes plus Dick Cheney. That's the whole ballgame for the GOP. How they get there, and what they trash in the process doesn't matter.

Since Cornyn has stated it so clearly, this is exactly why the Democrats should refuse to give up the filibuster. There is no reason for Democrats to negotiate anything on this. Why? Because we are talking about nominees:

-to the highest court in the land;
-who get lifetime appointment;
-nominated without any attempt at bipartisanship;
-by a man with approval ratings well below 50%;
-who won office allegedly with only 51% of the vote;
-pushed by a party wholly-owned by religious fanatics.

And we are talking about the GOP changing the rules after they acquire all the levers of power.
It's a pretty dismal picture. But do the ReThugs have the votes? Josh Marshall doesn't think so. He concurs with a reader who says:
Actually I do not think Frist can win a vote on the nuclear option. When crunch time comes I believe just enough Republicans will decide against violating both the rules of the Senate and permanently weakening the Senate vis a vis the Executive.
One of my senators, Gordon Smith, is a ReThug who is up for re-election in 2006 in a fairly liberal state, and of late he's been pushing a more moderate agenda and distancing himself from the Mullahs like cat-killer Frist. I'm pledging here to call his office today and remind him that whatever his vote, he'll be wearing it around his neck in 2006. Only much nicer than that. I'll keep you posted.