Thursday, May 26, 2005

Compromise? Or is it Cave?


The Republican party in the US Senate has again showed that it does not have the ability to govern effectively. If the Democrats were the majority party again (God forbid!) and the Republicans had serious objections to some presidential appointments for the judicial branch, and had the necessary votes to approve them, I doubt that they would even think of using the filibuster to stop the vote. If they did, I have NO doubt that the Democrats would find every reason that changing the Senate rules would be a good thing. Does anyone for one moment think that whenever the situation is reversed the Democrats will hesitate for any length of time to change the rules? They understand that being the party in power gives you the ability and the right to set the rules. The Republicans need to learn this lesson.

If you rule, you need to rule. That is, you set the conditions under which you operate. I don't for a moment think that the Democrats have forgotten that but it seems that the Republicans are very slow to learn it. I remember when the Democrats had been in power for 40 years. They controlled so strongly that there were credible stories about Republicans being locked out of Conference Committee meetings. Their opinion was not only unnecessary but unwanted.

The only good thing is that if the Democrats do as I expect them to do and start the filibuster for a Supreme Court nominee it probably will not take a lot to start the Constitutional Option rolling again. The "Extraordinary Circumstances" mentioned in the deal is undefined. If Democrats attempt to use the filibuster again, some of the signatories of the deal may step up and gather a little courage. Whatever they do, the national press will find the Republicans the scoundrels the always do and the Democrats the champions of the Constitution.

The rule in questions is not a Constitutional requirement. It is simply an agreed upon method of operation of the Senate. It was confirmed by the majority party and is subject to change at any time. Whoever is in the majority has the ability and more importantly, the right to change the rules. It should not be the case that the minority sets the rules.

Republicans. Stand up! You are in the majority for now. You will continue to be the majority only as long as the people of the country believe you truly mean to support what we believe. Allowing the minority to set the rules is not a good idea.