Monday, May 16, 2005

No Time To Go Nuclear

Talk of the "nuclear option" or, as the Republicans prefer to call it, the "constitutional option" has been swirling around Washington for about the past two months. In those eight weeks the nuclear fire has spread like a well-watered Kudzu vine, with the Majority and Minority leaders in the Senate exchanging verbal jabs at one another on the floor of the chamber, in press conferences, and back home in the district; yet they always play nice when they appear together, "we are in constant contact, trying to come up with a solution to this problem that will satisfy both sides of the isle" is a common phrase heard when the players on this issue need to sound bipartisan and willing to compromise.

But they really aren't willing to compromise on this, and thats the whole reason we are here right now, discussing it at all. Basically, the nuclear option would remove the judicial filibuster from the aresnal of obstructionist weaponry that the minority party has been more than willing to use in the past three years. They have withheld 10 of President Bush's over 200 judicial nominations, which might not sound like a lot, until you consider that no judicial nominee in the over 200 year history of the Senate has been denied an up or down floor vote via filibuster.

The bottom line here is that the Republicans are the majority party, and the Democrats are in the minority, and the minority can't obstruct just for the sake of obstructing. The Republican majority (in both Houses of Congress, and in the White House) is the majority for a reason, because a majority of the American electorate put them there, ergo a majority of the American electorate agrees with the principles of the Republican party. Logic tells us therefore that the Democrats are thwarting the will of the people, and thats never beneficial, particularly in a representative democracy.

Needless to say, the Republicans shouldn't change the rule, they shouldn't kill the judicial filibuster. I just don't think its worth it, because one day, maybe not too far off in the future, the Republicans will be in the minority, and they might want to fire up a judicial filibuster to stop someone like Michael Moore from becoming a Supreme Court justice. And just as they start to reach into their aresnal, the Democrats will gently remind them "ah-ah-ah, there will be NONE of that." As my dad always said, pick your fights wisely.

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