Tuesday :: Nov 1, 2005

Gang Of 14 Agreement Dead - Good For Democrats

by Steve

The White House has gotten what it has wanted, and will now reap what they have sown: the Gang of 14 agreement to prevent the nuclear option is apparently dead. GOP Senator Mike DeWine of Ohio, who is facing a tough reelection challenge next year from both Paul Hackett and Sherrod Brown, needs to fire up the evangelicals to come out from the pews to the polls again to save his butt, and has already come out and said that he’ll vote to abolish the filibuster. Lindsay Graham has also indicated that he would vote to toss out the filibuster should Democrats employ it to stop Alito.

But as the Washington Post noted today, even if Frist arranges a vote to toss out the Senate rules and kill the filibuster to install Alito on the court, moderate GOP senators may still not support Alito once they learn the depth of his support for tossing aside Roe. Sure, Alito may very well attempt to muddy the issue by being vague about Roe and affirming his position on Griswold, but will it be enough to sway the handful of GOP moderates like Susan Collins, Olympia Snowe, Arlen Specter, and possibly Lincoln Chafee to vote for him? The possibility is out there for Frist to overreach and employ the nuclear option to get a vote on a nominee who in the subsequent highly-poisoned atmosphere that ensues may not get the votes necessary to get confirmed. And even if he is ultimately confirmed, Democrats will have established the true positions of vulnerable GOP incumbent senators next year on the rights of women. And it goes without saying that even if the American Taliban ultimately succeeds in overturning Roe and returning this issue to the states, it isn't clear how this helps the GOP long term.

Alito is the anti-O’Connor: his record already shows he has taken positions contrary to the justice he is slated to replace. It is no accident, and was by design that Bush and Rove picked a white Catholic male to replace one of the two women on the court as part of their short-term, placate the base strategy that will bite the GOP long-term. Democrats need to focus this decision for what it is: the rights and role of women in America, as well as Alito's views on civil rights and the Commerce Clause; and the American Taliban clearly is driving the GOP into a regressive mindset. If Bush and Rove, days removed from a possible indictment, want to take the GOP back to a regressive past and blow up the filibuster at the same time, and can take likely 2008 GOP nominees John McCain and George Allen along with them down that dark alley, all the better for Democrats.

Update: Ben Nelson is urging cooler heads right now so that the process can take place and the Senate can determine what kind of judge Alito would be, before any threats about filibusters or nuclear options are thrown about.

He's right.

Steve :: 8:40 AM :: Comments (20) :: TrackBack (0) :: Digg It!