Let’s Make a Deal

Senate Minority Leader Monty Hall Harry Reid is meeting with Bill Frist to try to hammer out a compromise over Bush’s judicial nominees, thereby avoiding the nuclear option:
Reid is quietly talking to the Senate's chief Republican about confirming at least two of President Bush's blocked judicial nominees but only as part of a compromise that would require the GOP to end its threat to eliminate judicial filibusters, officials say.

Reid also wants a concession from Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist, officials said speaking on condition of anonymity: the replacement of a third Michigan nominee with one approved by that state's two Democratic senators.


Senators would not confirm details Monday, but Reid said that he has had had numerous conversations with senators in both parties in hopes of avoiding a showdown. "As part of any resolution, the nuclear option must be off the table," Reid said in a statement referring to the GOP threat to change filibuster rules.
Pardon me, but after confirming 95% of Bush’s nominees, why should the Democrats even be considering a compromise with an abusive group of bullies who are creating this entire debacle out of a ridiculous notion that they somehow deserve 100% complicity on anything and everything they want? I’m extremely disappointed with the suggestion that the Dems would even entertain the notion of compromise at this point; such capitulation will not be remembered as a gallant move to the moral high ground as potential disaster was thwarted, but instead will likely not be remembered at all by the people who count—the American voters—even as the GOP will continue to push around their impotent opposition, emboldened with the knowledge that lunatic and shrill threats get them what they want.

I wouldn’t even be surprised if, in the end, the conventional wisdom ends up being that it was the GOP’s decision to not invoke the nuclear option which really won the day. The GOP will walk out of this as gracious heroes, and the Dems will carry the blame for forcing it to the brink in the first place.

Ezra also notes:
So why compromise? … Neither the principled Republicans nor the opportunists are going to feel safe on the nuclear option bandwagon. So let him go ahead and try to force the issue. Let's say, hypothetically, he got the votes. Is this a fight he can win? The Senate comes to a screeching halt, the talk shows focus on the protection/dissolution of minority rights, and folks don't understand why Republicans have broken with years of tradition over 10 nutball judges. Public opinion, already against the GOP solidifies, and Senate Republicans begin to defect, handing the right a HUGE loss and effectively ending Frist's presidential aspirations.

Now, it's certainly true that the outcome isn't as preordained as all that, nothing's ever immutable in politics. But it seems that Reid and Co. could gamble, with reasonable certainty, on killing the nuclear option. And serving Republicans with a defeat on that, right after Social Security and Schiavo, would really solidify perceptions -- and thus the media storyline -- of the right as disorganized and on a downward trajectory, while adding significantly to Democratic momentum. So while I recognize that there's more risk in pushing forward, it seems that the potential rewards are much greater. It codifies GOP overreach, it'll empower Republican moderates, and it'll solidify the power and unity of the Democratic caucus. And I think that's worth the risk.
I think it’s worth the risk, too. It’s really too bad the Dems don’t feel the same way. It's not just that they don't know how to play hardball...they don't even know how to get in the game.

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