The Nuclear Option

This coming Tuesday, Senator Frist, the senate majority leader, is likely to push the button and send the Senate into nuclear war.

The fight is over the attempt to eliminate the fillibuster as a tool to allow the minority party to derail judicial nominations they find offensive. 

In the last term the Democrats fillibustered to block 10 out of Bush’s 229 appointees.  That doesn’t seem like an abuse of the fillibuster tool to me.

Although I am left of center on most issues, I am a centrist at heart.  I like compromise.  I like middle of the road policies and people.

I believe that anything that forces a broader majority to agree on something is a good thing.  Particularly something as important as judicial appointees.

The fact is that the fillibuster has been used for a very long time in the Senate, by both parties.

It is part of the culture of the Senate where compromise and collaboration across the aisles is important.  And that is what makes the Senate so different from the House.

Senator Frist wants to eliminate that culture.  He wants to turn the Senate into another House where majority rules, regardless of how slim that majority is.

In some ways, I am happy they are picking this fight.  Because its another overreach by a party that thinks it has a massive mandate but in reality only got back in the white house by a few percentage points.

They are overplaying their hand just like Newt Gingrich overplayed his contract on america hand in his budget fight with Clinton which shut down the federal government and allowed Clinton to get re-elected with ease.

This time they are going to shut down the Senate.  And I suspect the Democrats are going to hang tough on this one.  What do they have to lose?  They have already been marginalized by Bush and Frist and the rest of the Republicans.  It’s time to hang tough and play hardball.

I think the american public is going to side with the Democrats on this one.  I don’t think they are going to want to see the Senate throw away its culture, history, and tradition just because Bush and Frist want to ram a bunch of conservative judges down the throats of the American public.

This one is going to be interesting.