Wednesday :: May 25, 2005

Owen Wins Confirmation 56-43

by Steve

Priscilla Owen was just confirmed 56-43 by the Senate. Before the gnashing of teeth begins over this vote, please keep in mind that her confirmation was never in doubt, even if the nuclear option had been implemented because she was one of the three that the American Taliban wanted at all costs. If you want a real test of whether or not the Senate GOP moderates will live up to their end of the deal, it will come later when William Myers and Henry Saad are forced to the floor by Bill Frist. As part of the deal earlier in the week, the Democrats were told that Myers and Saad would either be withdrawn or allowed to be filibustered. They were also told that one of the big three (Owen, Pryor, or Brown) would be defeated in an up-or-down vote. We now know that it wasn't Owen, but what if the Democrats head into the next two votes thinking that the GOP will vote to kill one of the remaining two of these big three and forgo a filibuster, only to see the GOP negotiators lie and vote to confirm both?

This could happen, but if the deal is now discarded and Frist forces these to a vote with the support of the GOP negotiators, then the deal is off and the Senate Dems can see that 1) the word of GOP Senate negotiators is worthless which will have major repercussions for any Social Security negotiations; and 2) John McCain has been neutered as a dealmaker by the American Taliban, and that will have delicious consequences for Democrats as they watch the carnage inside the GOP caucus.

Note also the revisionist talk from Lindsey Graham about what the "extraordinary circumstances" threshhold meant, and keep in mind that he is trying to pry James Dobson's teeth off his ass. Graham is lying when he says that the deal means that it is no longer a disqualifier for a Bush nominee to simply be a conservative. Graham knows full well that the opposition to Owen wasn't focused on her being a conservative, but rather because 1) she sold rulings to her campaign contributors; 2) even as a conservative she ruled outside of the mainstream; and 3) she was overturned frequently. If Graham wants to rewrite history now to get Dobson off his back, I'll allow him that until I see how he and the rest of the GOP negotiators rule on the nominees that the Democrats thought would either be withdrawn or allowed to be filibustered.

And yes, Mary Landrieu and Robert Byrd voted for her, and Lincoln Chafee voted against her. Daniel Inouye did not vote. If Byrd voted for her, something tells me that he thinks he is upholding some deal.

Steve :: 10:08 AM :: Comments (15) :: TrackBack (2) :: Digg It!