Tuesday, May 17, 2005

Statesman Overboard
With the nuclear option fight looming in the Senate this week (probably on Thursday), those of us on the left are watching to see how many Repugs will put the good of the country (and 217 years of tradition) ahead of party discipline. Right now, we know of only three--McCain, Chaffee, and Snowe. We need three more to reach 51 votes against the nuclear option.

One vote we're not going to get is that of Indiana's Richard Lugar. Over the weekend Lugar said the Senate was skating on thin ice over the filibuster issue, but yesterday, he got in line and said he'd vote with the Repugs.

I've said nice things about Lugar in the past. In a post no longer available online, a couple of years ago, I suggested he was too smart to be a Republican, because he seemed to have a hard time staying on the Repug message if it was especially ridiculous. But in the last week, those of us who admired his independence have learned that we can kiss it goodbye, and start considering him just another GOP hack. Even before the flip-flop on filibusters, Lugar had done yeoman's work for the administration in pushing the Bolton nomination through the Foreign Relations Committee, of which he is chairman--even though he had to know how awful a nominee Bolton is. Over at the Prospect, Michael Steinberger joins in the head-scratching. There would seem to be no reason for Lugar to go in the tank for Bolton, and his decision to side with Nurse Frist seems equally inexplicable.

Recommended Reading:
Atrios and others noted yesterday the GOP astroturf about the Janice Rogers Brown judicial nomination, which trades heavily on the "child of a sharecropper" theme--and never mind that her judicial philosophy, had it been in place when her parents were still sharecropping, would have made sure she never got to be a judge in the first place. Today, Ezra Klein examines the phenomenon of young conservative pundits, and observes that if you want to make it in right-wing America, be a pundit (or a judge) that the right-wing can easily pigeonhole: the black one, the Asian one, the young one. If you're not actually representative of your ethnic or demographic group, don't worry. (Never mind that you're more accurately described as a traitor to its interests.) You're useful in making sure the Repugs "look like America," and you'll get lots of face time on Fox News. And, eventually, PBS.

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?