A few days ago, Craig and I were discussing the various woes facing Senate Democrats as a result of the retirement of Justice Sandra Day O’Connor. While I may write about the actual content of that conversation, what I actually want to talk about here is of a more tangential nature. Part of what we were discussing is what would constitute the Democrats’ best strategic response to the President’s nominee to replace O’Connor, and how such strategies might be received by liberals and progressives at large.
I suppose we should find it surprising neither that moderate Senators from both sides of the aisle managed to forge a compromise on President Bush’s current slate of judicial nominees, nor that special interest groups on both sides of the debate are decrying the deal as a sell-out. I’ll admit to being somewhat disappointed when I first read news of the compromise; like many following this debate, I was looking forward to a big showdown.
There is an interesting article in today’s Salon in which the author (Farhad Manjoo) argues that it is not in Democrats’ long-term interests to oppose Republican efforts to ban the filibuster. In theory, I think I agree, but in practice, it’s a bit trickier. The main element of Manjoo’s argument is that the filibuster is esssentially a tool for maintaining the status quo. Democrats, being the more liberal of the two major parties, tend to have policy objectives that involve governmental change, reform, and activism; in order to execute these objectives, they must pass large pieces of legislation.
Today’s Salon has an excellent summary of the issues behind the escalating ruckus in the Senate over judicial nominations, the Democrats’ probably filibustering thereof, and the Republicans’ threatened changes to Senate rules and procedures. If you’re not a Salon subscriber, you’ll have to sit through the ad to get your day pass, but today’s is a short, relatively non-intrusive one that is well worth it for the subsequent content.
I’m as surprised as anyone. Thanks to Liz, who pointed me to this article in the Palm Beach Post about a bill submitted to the Senate by everyone’s favorite fan of bestiality and incest, Rick Santorum (R-PA). Among other things, The National Weather Service Duties Act of 2005 says that The National Weather Service shall not provide, or assist other entities in providing, a service or product (other than a service or product described in subsection (a)(1)(A)) that is or could be provided by the private sector