No deal

Senate Democrats appear to realize that they have painted themselves into a corner. Republicans are calling their bluff on the threat to filibuster appeals court judicial appointments, by threatening to change Senate rules to restore the status quo ante of no filibustering of judicial appointments. The initial Democrat response to the Republicans' so—called nuclear option counter—move had been to threaten to virtually shut down the Senate with obstructionism on every available pretetxt. 

Suddenly, this cycle of threat, counter—threat, and counter—counter—threat is broken by Democrats cooing the word 'compromise' in the smarmy tone favored by bullies facing a bigger, meaner, and tougher foe than anticipated. It would be a serious mistake for the GOP make any deal in which the President gives up on nominees with majority support in the Senate, in order to rescue the Democrats from their own folly.

No number of rigged polls from the likes of ABC News and the Washington Post can disguise the fact that the Democrats once again have nothing to offer but obstructionism. And that they insist on a judiciary willing to ignore the actual text of the Constitution and make—up fictional rights and prohibitions, in effect legislating from the bench. And even worse, that they demonize minority appointees like Miguel Estrada and Janice Rogers Brown as 'extremists,' for their audacity in straying from the left wing plantation where the elitists dispense favors like affirmative action to a perpetually—dependent clientele supposedly unable to compete on an equal footing.

The Republican base would react with fury if Senate Republicans sold out Justice Brown or any other appointee, in order to get their Democrat colleagues and the New York Times to say nice things about them. The base understands all too well that the left has relied on the judiciary to enforce revolutionary social change from above in the face of majority opposition. And the base also understands that the biggest issue of all is the looming appointment of replacements for potential vacancies on the Supreme Court. Scorning the deep passions of their most loyal supporters would be a good way for the Republicans to lose Senate seats in the 2006 elections.

Folding a strong hand now would only empower the Democrats to resist even more fiercely future conservative appointees to the Supreme Court. Having established that a president with majority Senate support cannot appoint anyone of whom they strongly disapprove, the Senate Democrats will escalate their Borking tactics, all the while pretending to merely defend the precedent they have just established in the appellate court appontments.

Of course, now that the Democrats have pretended to embody sweet reason and the spirit of comity by offering to 'compromise' by thwarting majority rule in only some instances, the Republicans would be well—advised to regain the moral and political high ground by refusing to let the Democrats out of their corner. Instead of preemptively jettisoning filibusters with the nuclear option, they should allow the Democrats to make good on their threats, and actually carry out a genuine old—fashioned filibuster, complete with cots, on the Senate floor.

To be sure, a filibuster is exhausting for the majority, even more so than for the minority undertaking the talk fest. That's because the majority must keep its members on the Senate floor in sufficient numbers to meet a quorum call. Otherwise, the Senate simply adjourns, and business ceases, allowing the filibustering obstructionists to have their way. For decades, Senators have been too lazy to actually go through the motions, and instead have meekly assented any time the minority merely says it will filibuster.

But, as Dick Morris pointed out,  we live in the age of C—SPAN II, and there has never been a televised filibuster. The actual content of the endless talk will be available on video feed for everyone to scrutinize. Senators who choose to read aloud the proverbial telephone book in order to obstruct the nation's business will be exposed to ridicule on the late night talk shows.

Then there would be the film footage of the last time an actual filibuster took place. There would be footage of a much younger Robert Byrd joining with Democrats like Richard Russell to stop the passage of civil rights legislation almost 40 years ago. The irony of Byrd filibustering then to stop blacks from progressing, and filibustering now to prevent a black woman from progressing would be inescapable and irresistable for even the likes of Jon Stewart.

It will not a pretty sight for the Democrats. Particularly if the Republicans have the wisdom to bring Justice Brown's nomination to the floor of the Senate first. Having won three quarters of the vote from Californians when she last stood for election to the California Supreme Court; having overcome her origins as the daughter of an Alabama sharecropper; and being a woman of deep religious faith, the American public will not react kindly to those who seek to deny her access to a simple up—or—down vote by the Senate, as prescribed in the Constitution.

Let the Democrats defend the position that Justice Brown does not deserve a vote.

They will crumble, because the longer they maintain the filibuster, the more damage they will do to themselves. Middle America will see them as mean—spirited obstructionists. Black America will see a black woman who wears the cares of the world on her face, having risen to the top of her chosen profession, with Democrats blocking her further progress.

Go ahead, make our day.

Thomas Lifson is the editor and publisher of The American Thinker.

Senate Democrats appear to realize that they have painted themselves into a corner. Republicans are calling their bluff on the threat to filibuster appeals court judicial appointments, by threatening to change Senate rules to restore the status quo ante of no filibustering of judicial appointments. The initial Democrat response to the Republicans' so—called nuclear option counter—move had been to threaten to virtually shut down the Senate with obstructionism on every available pretetxt. 

Suddenly, this cycle of threat, counter—threat, and counter—counter—threat is broken by Democrats cooing the word 'compromise' in the smarmy tone favored by bullies facing a bigger, meaner, and tougher foe than anticipated. It would be a serious mistake for the GOP make any deal in which the President gives up on nominees with majority support in the Senate, in order to rescue the Democrats from their own folly.

No number of rigged polls from the likes of ABC News and the Washington Post can disguise the fact that the Democrats once again have nothing to offer but obstructionism. And that they insist on a judiciary willing to ignore the actual text of the Constitution and make—up fictional rights and prohibitions, in effect legislating from the bench. And even worse, that they demonize minority appointees like Miguel Estrada and Janice Rogers Brown as 'extremists,' for their audacity in straying from the left wing plantation where the elitists dispense favors like affirmative action to a perpetually—dependent clientele supposedly unable to compete on an equal footing.

The Republican base would react with fury if Senate Republicans sold out Justice Brown or any other appointee, in order to get their Democrat colleagues and the New York Times to say nice things about them. The base understands all too well that the left has relied on the judiciary to enforce revolutionary social change from above in the face of majority opposition. And the base also understands that the biggest issue of all is the looming appointment of replacements for potential vacancies on the Supreme Court. Scorning the deep passions of their most loyal supporters would be a good way for the Republicans to lose Senate seats in the 2006 elections.

Folding a strong hand now would only empower the Democrats to resist even more fiercely future conservative appointees to the Supreme Court. Having established that a president with majority Senate support cannot appoint anyone of whom they strongly disapprove, the Senate Democrats will escalate their Borking tactics, all the while pretending to merely defend the precedent they have just established in the appellate court appontments.

Of course, now that the Democrats have pretended to embody sweet reason and the spirit of comity by offering to 'compromise' by thwarting majority rule in only some instances, the Republicans would be well—advised to regain the moral and political high ground by refusing to let the Democrats out of their corner. Instead of preemptively jettisoning filibusters with the nuclear option, they should allow the Democrats to make good on their threats, and actually carry out a genuine old—fashioned filibuster, complete with cots, on the Senate floor.

To be sure, a filibuster is exhausting for the majority, even more so than for the minority undertaking the talk fest. That's because the majority must keep its members on the Senate floor in sufficient numbers to meet a quorum call. Otherwise, the Senate simply adjourns, and business ceases, allowing the filibustering obstructionists to have their way. For decades, Senators have been too lazy to actually go through the motions, and instead have meekly assented any time the minority merely says it will filibuster.

But, as Dick Morris pointed out,  we live in the age of C—SPAN II, and there has never been a televised filibuster. The actual content of the endless talk will be available on video feed for everyone to scrutinize. Senators who choose to read aloud the proverbial telephone book in order to obstruct the nation's business will be exposed to ridicule on the late night talk shows.

Then there would be the film footage of the last time an actual filibuster took place. There would be footage of a much younger Robert Byrd joining with Democrats like Richard Russell to stop the passage of civil rights legislation almost 40 years ago. The irony of Byrd filibustering then to stop blacks from progressing, and filibustering now to prevent a black woman from progressing would be inescapable and irresistable for even the likes of Jon Stewart.

It will not a pretty sight for the Democrats. Particularly if the Republicans have the wisdom to bring Justice Brown's nomination to the floor of the Senate first. Having won three quarters of the vote from Californians when she last stood for election to the California Supreme Court; having overcome her origins as the daughter of an Alabama sharecropper; and being a woman of deep religious faith, the American public will not react kindly to those who seek to deny her access to a simple up—or—down vote by the Senate, as prescribed in the Constitution.

Let the Democrats defend the position that Justice Brown does not deserve a vote.

They will crumble, because the longer they maintain the filibuster, the more damage they will do to themselves. Middle America will see them as mean—spirited obstructionists. Black America will see a black woman who wears the cares of the world on her face, having risen to the top of her chosen profession, with Democrats blocking her further progress.

Go ahead, make our day.

Thomas Lifson is the editor and publisher of The American Thinker.