Friday, May 20, 2005

I'm Somewhat Wild About Harry
Josh Marshall, who's had some great think pieces on the nuclear option fight in the last few days, made a highly ponderable point today: It's not necessarily a bad thing if some conservative judges get confirmed now and then--and it might not be the end of the world if the most awfulest of the current crop, Priscilla Owen and Janice Rogers Brown, get confirmed, provided that any such deal to confirm them takes the nuclear option off the table now and forever. "Now and forever" is the key. It would be the height of dumbassitude for the Democrats to agree to a compromise that only postpones the fight until the stakes are even higher.

Nevertheless, this is the Democratic Party we're talking about--and there have been lots of times in recent years when the "D" in "dumbassitude" has also stood for "Democrats." Harry Reid has done a fine job orchestrating this fight so far. His statement the other day about Bush and the Republicans trying to reinvent reality is exactly the kind of thing Democrats need to be saying, and not just on this issue. But I'm not feeling entirely comfortable yet--because the "C" in "compromise" can also stand for "caving." The fight is about more than judges in the short term, and Democrats need to keep that in mind. The Repugs certainly will. With Robert Byrd reportedly involved in trying to craft a compromise--a man who understands the concept of the long term because he's lived through it--the likelihood of a cave-in seems less. But still, the idea nags in the back of my mind, as well it should.

Failure to reach a compromise wouldn't be an unpopular thing. The wingnuts want this fight like a 16-year-old boy wants to get laid. However, somebody (Josh, maybe?) pointed out that it's not just right-wing pressure groups who want to fight as opposed to compromising. So do some of the lefty, Move-0n types, who see it as an opportunity to split the Repugs and score a major victory. And it occurs to me that there's a third position, too--the "just get it over with" position. We can't dangle over this edge too much longer. You might have to go back to the Gulf War authorization vote in 1991 to find similar drama surrounding a vote in Congress--or perhaps as far back as the Nixon impeachment summer, 1974. So just like lancing a boil is good medicine, maybe having the showdown and getting on with whatever's next would be healthy--regardless of who's left standing at the end.

Coming this weekend: A first in the history of this blog. Stay tuned.

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