Tuesday, May 24, 2005

The Consequences of Compromise

Mark Noonan at GOPBlogger thus spake:

John Podhoretz over at NRO's The Corner says the compromise is not a GOP defeat:

The compromise deal averting the filibuster showdown is a victory for the majority and for the Republicans. It is not a wipeout. It is not a rout. And for the two judge candidates who may have been sacrificed, it really really stinks. But what happened last night is very important. It breaks the Democratic logjam on circuit-court nominees. It establishes the principle that conservative judges have every right to serve on the higher benches even if Democrats can't stand it. And it means that if Republicans have to break the filibuster to ensure an up-or-down vote on a Supreme Court justice, they will have a very strong argument indeed.

I tend to agree with this line of thinking; but I also cannot help feeling anger towards the compromisers. Its not compromise which bothers me (the US political tradition is all for compromise), but the fact that it wont actually ameliorate the rancor in our system...a rancor injected into our system with malice aforethought by the Democratic left.

Mr. Noonan's point is correct; what was done last night was to make a formal agreement out of the minority party being able to usurp the votes of the people. Rules limiting filibustering are nearly as old as the Republic, and yet no one cared that Judicial Nominees could not be blocked; at least no one cared until a few years ago. Then the media accepted the spin that it was the Republicans who wanted to change the rules, when it was completely the opposite (so much for that fair media).

Mr. Podhoretz's assertion that when the Republican's majority is sufficient to break future filibusters, things will be different. That is, of course, unless Democrats tamper with the rules again. Winning confirmation used to take 51 votes; thanks to this unprecedented filibuster, it took 60 votes. Who knows what would happen next time? See: if one side gets to change the rules (without due process) once, they'll do it again. Count on it.

However, there may be a silver lining: The debate over a replacement for Justice Rehnquist is not the issue; he'll be replaced by another Conservative, and the Senate will confirm that choice. The debate over who would replace a less Conservative Justice, say Justice O'Connor, is when this battle will be rejoined. And if the President cannot get his choice through the Senate, then the Moderates like Sen. McCain will have to answer to the voters.

And they will be pissed.

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