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May 30, 2005



This is precisely the reason I thought we should have fought the nuclear option all the way and told the Republican moderates that it was time to choose sides--they're with reason or with the wingnuts in their own party. We've gained nothing by delaying. We can't even use it as an electoral issue now, not that it would have been all that powerful to begin with.

And if we had lost the filibuster, so what? The tide will turn eventually, and when we have a shot at appointing Supreme Court nominees, we could just as easily tell the Republican minority, "Supreme Court Justice Noam Chomsky--up or down, and don't give me any crap about it." Or someone equally lefty who would make Dobson crap himself.


The author's opinion is an interesting tactical move; sounds like it might be a good idea (the filibuster "compromise" was, frankly, IMO, a dumb move for Democrats since it gained them nothing and cost them (1) a few nominees that they otherwise would have blocked and (2) now if they use the filibuster, they'll have to explain why the circumstances are extreme enough to warrant it.)

I have mixed feelings on what to do about the out-of-control GOP. Part of me thinks the Democrats should only make a token move to slow down/block the GOP's radicalism. So far, whenever the GOP has tried to ram through their agenda (including supporting the ultra-far-right fundies), there has been a public backlash against them. I figure if we let the public see what happens when the GOP gets its way for a few years (a nutty Supreme Court, crazy legislation like the Schiavo thing, attempts at demolishing Social Security, a runaway deficit, unnecessary wars, economic problems, high gas prices, etc.) that would probably just about put the nail in the coffin of the GOP for quite some time. OTOH, that would leave us with a real mess to clean up and the ditto-heads would all be claiming that everything that's wrong is the Democrats' fault (there are literally people who claim that the great economic boom of the Clinton years was due to Reagan/Bush Sr.'s economic policies!)

Anyhow, I'm for any course of action that shows the people that the Democrats are compromisers (which we are) and willing to get things done (and are pro-mainstream ideals), and which also highlight that Republicans (currently) are partisan nutjobs who would turn this country into a theocracy overnight if they could.

the exile

Post 911 people want leadership. They want and need to be led. They knew that there were problems with where Bush was leading them, but Kerry didn't seal the deal that he was a forceful man who would have a firm hand on the tiller (remember the windsurfer ads?). We know the charges were bogus, the press unfair, and the Bushies ran the most brutal negative campaign in history, but facts are facts.

So people do want firm opposition to Bush's radicalism, but they don't want opposition to look like it's just politics. So you don't talk tactics in public, ever. You don't leak to Broder and Russert and whoever else what your strategy is. You make determinations based on the judge's record. If they are conservative but appear principled, qualified, and ethical (i.e., they follow their legal interpretation wherever it leads, rather than making political choices and later seeking legal justification-- remember Bush v. Gore), you perhaps vote against them party line but you let them get a vote.

But if you determine that they are unprincipled Republican shills (which they likely will be), you oppose them with everything and you explain, loudly, carefully, forcefully, and TRUTHFULLY, why they are unprincipled and unacceptable as US Supreme Court judges. If Matthews tries to make the discussion about politics, you shut him up by screaming (with real message discipline) that it's not, and you focus instead on the failings of the candidate. You also provide anyone who wants to hear with your list of conservative Republican judges who you would vow not to block. Providing that list of non-filibusterables to the press the very day the vacancy is announced would be excellent politics, I think.

See, it's easy. It's firm, principled, and not easily spun as opportunistically political. But the key is to appear principled by actually being principled (what a concept!)

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