Thursday, May 26, 2005

Judicial Nominations - Big Deals, Big Heads, and the Gang of Fourteen

Seems both sides are steamed about the "deal" struck by the so-called "gang of fourteen". Andrew C. McCarthy of the National Review Online is, shall we say, less than impressed with the syrupy and self-congratulatory rhetoric about "mutual trust" (they've got to be kidding) and defending senate tradition:

Let's say, instead, that they simply gave us the bottom line: (a) three of the president's nominees get an up-or-down vote (i.e., exactly three of the pending seven left standing after the Democrats, in that spirit of compromise, whittled down from the original ten); (b) the Democrats remain free to filibuster (but only on the strict condition that, uh, well, that the Democrats feel like filibustering); and (c) the Republicans, on the brink of breaking four years of obstruction, decide instead to punt (and on the eve of a likely battle over a Supreme Court vacancy, no less).
You can read the rest of McCarthy's column here. I got no great sense of victory when I watched the much touted moment unfold in the news conference announcing the agreement. What struck me was the euphoric self-congratulation of the "gang of fourteen", who were announcing that they had essentially postponed the problem. Grand moment. Celebratory claps on the back. But for what? Peggy Noonan (as usual) says it better than I can:
Listening to them I thought of some of the great and hallowed phrases of our Republic. "The rooster who thought he brought the dawn." "The only man who can strut sitting down."

I know they're centrists, but there is nothing moderate about their self-regard. And why should there be? I personally was dazzled by their refusal to bow to the counsels of common sense and proportion, and stirred that they had no fear of justified insult ("blowhard," "puffed up popinjay") as they moved forward in the halls of the United States Senate to bravely proclaim their excellence.
Yeah, I wanted to see an end to the Democrats' collective apoplexy. Would any deal have accomplished that? I'm guessing the answer is no.

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