Friday, May 27, 2005

There is something to be said for disapproving of the filibuster deal seven Democrats made with GOP senators and AlterNet says it well:
The Democrats chose to make the fight on Bush's judicial nominees about saving the filibuster rather than stopping right-wing extremists from being given lifetime appointments to the federal bench. Indeed, in the last two weeks we heard nary a word about the deficiencies and the dangers of the nomination of the Gang of Three: Janice Rogers Brown, William Pryor and Priscilla Owen.
At stake, the Democratic Party encouraged us to believe, was not the future of the federal judiciary but the future of the Senate. ...
Given this reticence by the Democratic Party to educate people about the dangers to our Republic if individuals like Priscilla Owen get to interpret the law of the land, one can't blame the Americans for thinking that the Democrats' threat to filibuster is simply much ado about nothing.

Harry Reid said the Dems had 49 votes. Perhaps if they had held firm, they'd have swayed two more moderate Republicans, but even if not, they weren't without weapons:
With unity comes power. They had threatened, vaguely, to "shut down the Senate" if the filibuster were eliminated. That was clearly within their capacity. Each Democratic Senator has at least an hour to speak on any amendment, any bill, any procedural call. That means 44 hours of every week could be spent on just a single motion.
But to shut down the Senate and gain the nation's support, the Democrats first must educate Americans that what they are fighting against are evil ends, not unfair means. The filibuster fight did not serve that educational purpose.
Only when the Democratic Party exhibits real backbone, only when it demonstrates that it is willing to take large individual and collective political risks, only when it is willing to do everything within its power to stop evil, only then will it rally the country to the task of stopping the nationwide lurch toward fanaticism.

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