Let's not put the seven Republican senators who engineered the "compromise" deal with the Democrats in charge of negotiations with North Korea. I would sooner trust the North Koreans to keep their word than the Democrats.
The North Koreans at least waited for the ink to dry on Clinton's 1996 "peace" deal before they set to work violating it by feverishly building nuclear weapons. After hoodwinking seven Republicans into a "compromise" deal, Senate Democrats waited exactly seven seconds before breaking it.
The deal was this: Senate Republicans would not use their majority status to win confirmation votes. In return, the Democrats promised to stop blocking nominees supported by a majority of senators ? except in "extraordinary circumstances." Thus, a minority of senators in the party Americans keep trying to throw out of power will now be choosing federal judges with the advice and consent of the president.
The seven Republicans we're not leaving in charge of the national treasury believed they could trust the Democrats to interpret "extraordinary circumstances" fairly. And why not? It's not as if the Democrats have behaved outrageously for the past four years using their minority status to block Bush's nominees. Oh wait ? no, I have that wrong. The Democrats have behaved outrageously for the past four years using their minority status to block Bush's nominees.
Hmmm. Well, at least the Democrats didn't wait until Trent Lott foolishly granted them an equal number of committee chairmanships following the 2000 election to seize illegitimate control of the Senate by getting future Trivial Pursuit answer Jim Jeffords to change parties after being elected as a Republican. Oops, no ? they did that, too.
The seven Republican "mavericks," as the New York Times is wont to call them, had just signed off on this brilliant compromise when the Democrats turned around and filibustered John Bolton, Bush's nominee to be ambassador to the United Nations.
At least it wasn't an important job. But even so, didn't we win the last election? Why, yes, we did! And didn't we win a majority in the Senate? Yes, we did! To be precise, Republicans have won a majority of Senate seats the past six consecutive elections. (And the last six consecutive elections in the House of Representatives, too!)
I think that means Republicans should win. Republican senators support Bush's nominees and Democratic senators oppose them. The way disagreements like this are ordinarily sorted out in a democracy is that a vote is taken among our elected representatives, and majority vote wins.
But sometime after 1993 ? which, by eerie coincidence, was the last time Democrats had a majority in the Senate ? a new rule developed, requiring that the minority party win all contested votes. The Democrats ? the same people the seven mavericks are relying on to play fair now ? began using procedural roadblocks to prevent the majority vote from prevailing by simply preventing votes from taking place at all. Senate Democrats do this by voting not to vote, whereas Texas Democrats do it by simply boarding a Greyhound bus bound for Oklahoma.
Democrats tried "Count All the Votes (Until I Win)" ? Al Gore, 2000. They tried "Vote or Die!" ? P. Diddy, 2004. Those failed, so now the Democrats' motto is: "No Voting!"
The Senate majority leader, Bill Frist, thought the party with the most votes should be able to win. (Boy ? talk about out of touch! And this guy wants to be president?)
The seven "maverick" Republicans thought a better idea would be to crawl to the minority party and plead for crumbs. If the "maverick" Republicans had a slogan, it would be: "Always surrender from a position of strength."
The deal they struck, this masterful Peace of Westphalia, simply put into writing the rule that the minority party controls the Senate ? which will remain the rule until the Democrats aren't the minority party anymore.
No wonder Democrats were so testy about bringing democracy to Iraq: They can't bear democracy in America. Liberals' beef with Iraq's new government was that the Sunnis ? the minority sect whose reign of terror controlled Iraq for almost 30 years ? wouldn't be adequately represented. Obviously, this did not bode well for the Democrats ? a minority party whose reign of terror controlled the U.S. House for over 40 years.
The only way for Americans to get some vague semblance of what they voted for is to elect mammoth Republican majorities ? and no "mavericks." (Fortunately, for the sake of civilization and the republic, that process seems to be well under way.)
Chuck Schumer could be the last Democrat in the Senate and the new rule would be: Unanimous votes required for all Senate business. But at least we could count on Sens. Lindsey Graham, Mike DeWine, John McCain, John Warner, Olympia Snowe, Susan Collins and Lincoln Chafee to strike a deal forcing Schumer to agree not to block the 99 other senators except in "extraordinary circumstances."