Wednesday, April 27, 2005

Little is more satisfying in life than watching self-righteous twerps get their asses handed to them--which is what seems to be happening to the Repugs and the twerp-in-chief, Bill Frist, on the filibuster fight. Sam Rosenfeld at The Prospect observes that early this year, the target date for the vote was early March. Last week, it was supposed to be this week. As of yesterday, however, it appears there will be no vote this week--and the Senate is on a week-long recess next week. Are we into the holding action that precedes the surrender--rather like the Bolton nomination? Rosenfeld writes:
There are three reasons why the showdown keeps receding into the horizon.

First, the political fight doesn’t look to be a winner for the GOP. The party’s most recent internal polling shows 37 percent supporting the parliamentary move, with 51 percent opposed. (The latest Washington Post/CNN poll puts approval at 26 percent.) Hopes that the Democrats might hurt themselves in the polls by waging unpopular retaliatory actions seem like wishful thinking, particularly considering what looks to be the minority’s actual planned response -- nothing like an immediate, total shutdown of the Senate but, rather, a gradually escalating series of parliamentary tactics meant to impede Republicans’ legislative momentum over a course of months, combined with an effort to force votes on the Democrats’ top agenda items.

Second, most elements of the Republican coalition, besides the religious right, are very wary of picking this fight. The National Right to Work Committee and the National Rifle Association came out early against the nuclear option, while industry outfits like the Chamber of Commerce and the National Association of Manufacturers made it clear last week that they’re more interested in seeing the Senate continue to help pass business-friendly legislation (energy and asbestos bills are up next) than watching the gears slowly grind to a halt due to a dispute over a handful of judges.

Third, and most crucially, the bulk of Senate Republicans feel the same way -- which is to say that, contrary to Mitch McConnell’s recent assurances, the leadership at this point still has probably not locked down the 50 votes necessary for the gambit to succeed.
Here's the Repugs' problem writ large--the rift between the business groups who expect the party's corporate whoring to continue unabated, and the culture warriors whose votes are popular with the corporate crowd, but whose ideas are not. It's hard to imagine Bill Frist being smart enough to hold it together, given his personal ambitions, and the leadership failings Rosenfeld describes in his article.

Good fun, good times. Insert chuckle here.

Quote of the Day: Dave over at Electablog put up a good post yesterday about the way the Repugs have gradually removed obstacles on their way to repackaging American politics into its current, reality-challenged fantasyland by discrediting anybody independent who might disagree with them--the media, academic elites, and now, judges. The quote: "In a country where our jails are filled with poor black people, you've got to admit that it's pretty amazing to see rich, white dudes railing against the judiciary."

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