Senate Democrats have proven themselves to have no credibility when it comes to assessing the character of President Bush's judicial nominees, who they routinely slander with actual malice -- that is, knowing their charges are false, or having reckless disregard for whether they are true or false. When will Republicans quit tolerating this and begin to condemn these Democratic senators for their tortious conduct, quit trying to compromise with them and plow forward full speed ahead with these nominations?
Why would the Democrats' filibuster threats even bother Republicans? They should welcome the showdown. And if Republican members of the Gang of 14 want to continue their charade of colluding with these obstructionists, target every last one of them for defeat in the primaries, no matter how secure their seats. Make them pay for defecting in the name of collegiality.
Why do Republicans always run for the tall grass every time the "f" word is whispered rather than calling their bluff and forcing the Democrats into a real filibuster, instead of idle threats of one?
As I wrote at the time, the Gang of 14's agreement that averted the Republicans' invocation of the "nuclear option" was a great betrayal, because it legitimized judicial filibustering. Republican Gang members insisted the concessions they secured, such as the Democrats' agreement to allow nominees Janice Rogers Brown, William Pryor and Priscilla Owen to get a full floor vote of the Senate -- big whoop -- outweighed any negatives. Plus, they boasted, Democrats agreed that henceforth they would only filibuster judicial appointees upon the existence of "extraordinary circumstances."
Nonsense! As we knew at the time, "extraordinary circumstances" was undefined and left open to each member of the Gang to define for himself. Result: The judicial filibuster remained alive and well. And since that ignoble "bipartisan" treaty, we've seen the Democrats threaten the filibuster time and time again.
This cannot go on. The Republicans' acquiescence to the Democrats' demand for a delay on the hearings on these nominations is just another straw. When will the elephant's back be broken? How long will Republicans continue to allow themselves to be walked on?
Whether it's their shameless joinder with Democrats in demanding investigations of oil companies, their acute tone deafness on the growing immigration crisis, their refusal to bring discipline to spending, or their willingness to let the tail wag the dog on judicial appointments, the Republicans are begging for a drubbing in November.
Grassroots frustration is growing with a vengeance, and someone in charge better wake up and show some leadership. Yesterday.
Asymmetrical Politics: Republicans Act Like an Unruly Mob, Democrats Like a Regimented Army | Michael Barone