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Saving the Day, Once Again.

This whole filibuster/nuclear option thing is easy. I don't know why I always have to be the one to come up with the solutions to these things.

Let us start with the assumption that the ten disputed Bush nominees actually care about the Senate remaining a deliberative body. That is, let us assume they actually have these mature, judicial, non-activist temperaments we are assured by the Republicans they have.

Let us further assume they understand and agree with the crucial importance of the protection of the minority in a democracy.

Finally, let us assume they understand that lifetime appointments to the federal bench ought to be able to muster the support of at least 3/5s of the Senate, for heaven's sake. These are lifetime and very powerful appointments, remember. The 3/5s requirement is a safety measure. You know, like seat-belts. Everybody gets that, right?

Now, we know Frist won't back down because he's deluded himself into thinking he has a chance to be President in 2008. So, look, why don't these ten disputed nominees, being the patriots we know they are, simply issue a statement like this:

"We believe that we should be given our up or down votes. However, given the importance of protecting the interests of the minority in a democracy such as ours, we do not believe our right to an up or down vote outweighs the importance of the Senate retaining its deliberative nature. We therefore declare -- for the love our country -- that if the Senate cannot confirm our appointments without resorting to the so-called 'nuclear option', we withdraw our names from nomination."

Everybody's happy except the right-wing extremists in control of the Republican party. But hell, nobody likes them anyway. Maybe this will shut them up for a while. I wouldn't count on it, but maybe.

Okay, nominees. The ball's in your court. Let's just see how judicial you really are.


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Have I mentioned lately what a wonderfully wonderful person you are?

Well, you are.


Oh, I bet you say that to all the crackpots.

being the patriots we know they are, sadly we can only assume they are patriots, when in reality they are probably only as patriotic as necessary to help them along on their own agenda.

I love your solution though. If they were capable of such a selfless act, it might actually be a turning point for our government. You know, lead by example and all that.

Well, to be honest, and trying to set aside my impulse to think the absolute worst of these people, the problem is perhaps less than patriotism than it is their indifference to the idea of protecting the minority. Getting 3/5s of the Senate to agree on a nominee isn't that hard. It's happened, what, almost 300 times since Bush first took office. If you can't get 3/5s, then that means the minority is barking about something. That's happened 10 times. 300 to 10. If that isn't a demonstration of the minority's willingness to act in good faith, then I don't know what is.

As I said, these are lifetime and very powerful appointments. There really ought to be something like 3/5s agreement in the Senate. I think, given the power and terms, it should be 2/3, but 3/5 is acceptable.

The only real issue here is whether bullying the minority is okay. The Republicans, and their nominees if they fail to withdraw in the face of nuclear option being invoked, are not interested in maintaining the deliberative nature of the Senate. They are not interested in taking care to protect the minority. They are interested in being bullies.

In that sense, their failure to withdraw rather than prevent the nuclear option is -- in my view and yours, it seems -- unpatriotic. But they see bullying as patriotic, it seems, so that makes it harder to name it as an issue of patriotism. The bullying is apparent to everyone, but the lack of patriotism is controversial.

Indeed, many of my favorite people are crackpots.


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