I won't waste a lot of time (or space) on last night's Republican surrender on the fillibuster issue. Hugh Hewitt has an apt description of the "deal", and Neal Bootz is on target as well.
Let me get this straight...in exchange for an "up or down" vote on three of President Bush's judicial nominees, the Republicans agreed to forego the nuclear option for at least 18 months, while still allowing the Democrats to fillibuster judicial candidates under "extreme circumstances." Some deal...snatching defeat from the jaws of victory, as Bootz observed this morning.
Ten years into the "Republican Revolution," the GOP still governs as a minority party, afraid of taking on the Democrats, even when they have the votes to end their obstructionist tactics, once and for all. Somewhere in the backrooms of Capitol Hill, the Dems are surely gloating. Majority Leader Bill Frist (and I use that term loosely) couldn't keep enough Republicans on the reservation to end the fillibuster. Instead, seven GOP senators gladly endorsed a terrible deal that spells certain defeat for a number of President Bush's judicial nominees and the rest of his agenda. If the Republicans couldn't hang together on the fillibuster issue, there's no way they can press for Social Security reform, adoption of the Fair Tax, or other, needed reforms. The Republicans who supported the compromise--the so-called "McCain-Hagel Caucus," represent everything that's wrong with the moderate wing of our party. In the interest of "fairness" and "compromise," they've granted new life to their political enemies who would end the fillibuster in a minute, if it suited their agenda.
Give the Democrats credit. They always play hardball, particularly when their backs are against the wall. Republicans, on the other hand, appear mortified that the Washington Post or The New York Times will say something mean about their "right wing agenda" or their "refusal to compromise." On the other hand, the Republicans act like a bunch of wimps.
To use a Civil War analogy, the Senate GOP acts like General George McClellan, the timid Union Army commander who was cautious to the point of inaction. The Democrats, meanwhile, maneuver like Robert E. Lee's Army of Northern Virginia, constantly running circles around their foe, living to fight and win again.
When President Lincoln grew tired of McClellan's caution, he replaced him with a commander who was willing to stand his ground and take the fight to the enemy, even if it meant an occasional loss. That commander was Ulysses S. Grant. General Grant wasn't as urbane or polished as McClellan, and cared little for what the press thought of him. But he was tough and pragmatic, with a clear understanding of his mission and what was required to accomplish it.
The GOP needs a Grant in the U.S. Senate. Sadly, we're saddled with a legion of McClellans.
But hey, the "integrity of the U.S. Senate" has been preserved.
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