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April 14, 2005
Not. One. Dime.

Contrary to its own headline, Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist plans on dawdling for weeks longer before finally addressing the issue of Democratic obstructionism on nominations for the federal bench, the Washington Post reports in its Friday edition:

Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist is all but certain to press for a rule change that would ban filibusters of judicial nominations in the next few weeks, despite misgivings by some of his fellow Republicans and a possible Democratic backlash that could paralyze the chamber, close associates said yesterday.

The strategy carries significant risks for the Tennessee Republican, who is weighing a 2008 presidential bid. It could embroil the Senate in a bitter stalemate that would complicate passage of President Bush's agenda and raise questions about Frist's leadership capabilities. Should he fail to make the move or to get the necessary votes, however, Frist risks the ire of key conservative groups that will play big roles in the 2008 GOP primaries.

Frist feels he has no acceptable options to seeking the rule change unless there is a last-minute compromise, which neither party considers plausible, according to senators and aides close to the situation. "I think it's going to happen," Sen. John Thune (R-S.D.) said this week, although he would prefer that Frist wait to allow more legislation to pass before the Senate explodes in partisan recriminations. Aides privy to senior Republicans' thinking concur with Thune.

To hell with Frist, to hell with Thune, and to hell with the GOP if they wait until the session is half-over before finding their spine or other significant parts of their anatomy. The GOP campaigned on judicial nominations as the second-highest priority for the Senate, and the electorate rewarded them with a healthy gain of four seats, remarkable for an election in which the incumbent president won by a tight margin. After spending a record amount of money on supporting Republican candidates, the electorate has sat back and watched as the Democrats, led by Harry Reid, have uncorked one lunatic manuever after another: challenging Ohio's slate of electors, holding up Condoleezza Rice's nomination while people like Mark Dayton outright call her a liar, and attempting to extort the White House into giving up its Constitutional assignment of nominating the judges the President sees fit for Senate approval.

What has this bunch of Republican milquetoasts done? Nothing.

Why? Apparently, they've changed their priorities since the election. No longer are judicial nominations the leading priority. In fact, they've done everything they can to backpedal from the frightening spectre of Harry Reid, for Pete's sake. Now they claim that they want to pass as much legislation as they can before the vote on nominations comes up ... meaning that the judges are actually the lowest priority for Frist and his band of merry cowards.

News flash: if we can't reverse the generations-long trend of increasing judicial activism, the act of passing legislation will eventually be rendered meaningless. The judges, as we have seen, will simply continue to legislate from the bench, ignoring Congress and the Executive and transforming us from a representative democracy to a secular mullahcracy, where lifetime appointments in black robes make all the decisions for us.

That's what the Republicans warned about when they campaigned in 2002 and 2004. Now it's time to step up and do something about it -- but despite their greater numbers and a clear signal from the electorate that rejects obstructionists (see Tom Daschle's enforced retirement), the GOP suddenly quails at the thought of taking action.

I have been a loyal member of the GOP since I cast my first vote. I have worked campaigns and championed candidates well before I ever posted anything on my blog at CQ. However, with the defection of John McCain and the lack of any real response from party leadership on the issue, I have to take a stand and demand either action or accountability -- and this is the time to do it.

Not. One. Dime. The next time Ken Mehlman sends you a request for money, that's the message he needs to get back. We ponied up in 2004, and in 2002, and in 2000. The GOP not only has not delivered, its current leadership won't even try. Frist and Rick Santorum claim they don't have the votes. Balderdash -- they don't have the leadership to get the votes. I'm not going to fund or support people who won't try to win, especially when the issue is so important.

Not. One. Dime. We're not in an election year, so this makes it easy for the Republicans to get this message to party leaders. No balls, no Blue Chips, boys. I don't mean just for the Senate, either. I mean for the entire Republican party. Feeding a fever may be good medicine, but feeding a failure only makes it last longer. Perhaps hunger will work where courage has so obviously failed.

Not. One. Dime. And when a vote does come, those Republicans who wind up supporting the minority's extortion over the majority in defiance of the Constitution will never see another dime from me -- but their opponents will, at every level of contest. Honestly, with Republicans like these in the Senate, we may as well have Democrats.

Not. One. Dime. If Bill Frist can't lead the GOP, then let's get rid of him now and find someone with the stomach for it. As long as he dithers, he'll never see a dime out of me for any election. Kay Bailey Hutchinson would have more guts and could pull the troops in line better; maybe we should give her a try as Majority Leader for a while.

It's time to send a real message to the Republicans about their priorities and their lack of leadership. This fight has been brewing for months, and it should have already been resolved by now. If they can't hack it, then we will find -- and fund -- the leaders who can.

Sphere It Digg! View blog reactions
Posted by Ed Morrissey at April 14, 2005 10:20 PM

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