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April 21, 2005
The Price Of Dithering, Part II

The Senate Republicans have managed to do the improbable, if Alexander Bolton's report in The Hill today is to be believed. They have taken a significant mandate from the November 2004 election to break the unprecedented filibusters on judicial nominations and turned it into a liability -- or so Senator Rick Santorum supposedly believes:

Sen. Rick Santorum (R-Pa.), a leading advocate of the nuclear option to end the Democrats filibuster of judicial nominees, is privately arguing for a delay in the face of adverse internal party polls.

Details of the polling numbers remain under wraps, but Santorum and other Senate sources concede that, while a majority of Americans oppose the filibuster, the figures show that most also accept the Democratic message that Republicans are trying to destroy the tradition of debate in the Senate.

The Republicans are keeping the nuclear poll numbers secret, whereas they have often in the past been keen to release internal survey results that favor the party. David Winston, head of the Winston Group, which conducts Senate GOP polls, did return phone calls seeking comment.

This is the product of allowing the debate to drag out for three months of the new session. After the opening round of unprecedented attacks on Condoleezza Rice's character by such notably sturdy fellows such as Mark Dayton, the GOP had a golden opportunity to ride voter disgust to an easy win on the filibuster rule change. The voters stood behind them, the press remained focus on the supposed disaster that awaited the Iraqi elections, and the Democrats looked like radical lunatics after holding up Ohio's slate of electors -- the first time since 1876 that any electors had ever been debated in the Senate.

Instead, Bill Frist and the rest of the GOP decided to play nice with Harry Reid, a rather unilateral commitment as it turned out. They allowed the Democrats to get out front and define this mundane rule change -- Byrd changed it four times in fifteen years -- as some sort of radical takeover that endangered free speech and dissent. Instead of treating this like the highest domestic priority that they claimed for the election, and instead of treating the nominees like the valued members of the bench that they are, the GOP went AWOL on the issue and have allowed Reid, Byrd, Boxer, and the rest to portray the nominees as dangerous fringe-right nutcases just itching to strip away every last right from the people.

Now perhaps people will understand why patience is not a virtue for some issues. The GOP leadership lost the initiative and the mandate, or at least they believe that they have, and want to further postpone the battle to re-invigorate their rank and file. Unfortunately, we may already have lost that battle, thanks to the dithering of Bill Frist and the senior leadership of the Republicans, and this group may not have the capability of regaining it.

Once again, I will not further support this leadership group until they can start demonstrating some basic competence. If the majority of the Republican caucus insists on maintaining mediocrity as the standard, then they can suffer along. When either Frist & Co. demonstrate a will to act and the skills to win, then I will give willingly and happily to the NRSC and the RNC. Until then or until the caucus gives us leaders that can, Not. One. Dime.

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Posted by Ed Morrissey at April 21, 2005 11:44 AM

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» Santorum Backing Off Nuclear Option from Outside The Beltway
Santorum reads nuke polls, applies the brakes (The Hill) Sen. Rick Santorum (R-Pa.), a leading advocate of the nuclear option to end the Democrats filibuster of judicial nominees, is privately arguing for a delay in the face of adverse internal p... [Read More]

Tracked on April 21, 2005 1:44 PM

» More Delays? from Slublog
According to The Hill newspaper, Senator Rick Santorum is scared of the new polls on judicial filibusters and wants to further delay the change in Senate rules. (H/t: Captain Ed) I've created a photoshop to commemorate this latest act... [Read More]

Tracked on April 21, 2005 2:01 PM

» Off Topic, Dummies from TenNapel.com
To hell with Bolton. The U.N. is a corrupt, jacked up, brood of vipers who sell human beings down the river for oil and cheap hookers. [Read More]

Tracked on April 21, 2005 2:26 PM

» Senate Republican Capitualation from Residual Forces
From Captain Ed The Senate Republicans have managed to do the improbable, if Alexander Bolton's report in The Hill today is to be believed. They have taken a significant mandate from the November 2004 election to break the unprecedented filibusters on... [Read More]

Tracked on April 21, 2005 3:08 PM

» Santorum reads nuke polls from Don Singleton
Democrats frequently distort things, to achieve their goals, and as indicated above, the article was written by Alexander Bolton, former assistant to David Corn at The Nation (News and analysis on politics and culture from the left) magazine. [Read More]

Tracked on April 21, 2005 3:46 PM

» Going Nucular from The Unalienable Right
Captain's Quarters has a lengthy analysis of the cost of Republican diddling for 3 months over ending the filibuster of judicial nominees, the so-called "nuclear option." He quotes (from The Hill): Sen. Rick Santorum (R-Pa.), a leading advocate o... [Read More]

Tracked on April 21, 2005 5:20 PM

» More Senate Judicial Follies from Bogus Gold
Well now the judicial nomination fiasco is just getting silly. Senators within the Republican Party don't even seem to know which page they're supposed to be on anymore. [Read More]

Tracked on April 21, 2005 6:22 PM

» Biotech, No Smoking, and Ultrasounds, and Judges from The Theocrats
Links about gen-engineered food, judicial confirmation battles, anti-smoking laws, and anti-ultrasound laws.... [Read More]

Tracked on April 22, 2005 6:43 AM



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