Dispatches from the Creation Wars

Patterico has an interesting post up about last week’s filibuster compromise that says that President Bush and Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist sent conservative senators Lindsay Graham and Mike DeWine to join the 5 moderate Republicans in negotiating a compromise with the 7 Democratic senators. This contrasts completely with Frist’s public statements that he doesn’t want the compromise, and with much of the vitriol from the right aimed at the compromisers, but I have no doubt it’s correct. The day the deal was struck, I told several people not to listen to Frist’s complaints about the deal because he wanted that deal to go through. He knew damn well that if he took a shot at the nuclear option and failed, his reign as majority leader would be over and he didn’t want to take that risk. The White House likewise knew that the worst possible outcome for them was to go for it and fail and they knew that the votes were quite possibly not there. Apparently it all came down to Specter and he would not say whether he would vote for or against it, but they felt he would not. And if he didn’t, that left them with 49 votes, not enough to get it done. I think Patterico is dead right on this one, and I said so from the start.


  1. #1 Scott
    May 29, 2005

    I think, to complement your analysis, that there were two additional, more general risks in pushing the “nuclear option” thingy. The first is that no one felt particularly confident in predicting the public fallout, if any, of the power-grab. The second is that the Republican War Machine is quietly circulating a prediction that they’re likely to lose at least a few seats in one or both houses next election.

    The latter reason is why they’re also quietly pushing for Rhenquist to retire sooner rather than later. They want to install his successor before their majority is diluted.

  2. #2 Scott
    May 29, 2005

    With regard to the second risk, everyone realizes that the Repubs can’t hold this majority in place forever. I’m sure the notion of a dem majority immune to a filibuster makes them queasy.

  3. #3 spyder
    May 30, 2005

    This analysis, with which i agree, and agreed previously, does not however address the seven Democrats participation and willingness to promote the three judges. My sense there is that the Dems realized they may not have had the votes, nor could they have fulfilled on their threats to shut down the Senate.

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