Tuesday, May 17, 2005

Countdown to Senate Filibuster Showdown

Tomorrow, Senate debate on Presidential Circuit Court Judge nominee Owens and Brown will begin. Early next week, a motion will be made to end the debate and call for a vote, yea or nay on the appointment.

If the Democrats respond with a filibuster then it will become High Noon in Tombstone. The Republicans will then have to decide whether to stand their ground and draw their guns for a final shoot-out at the Capitol Corral.

Blood, as well as guns, will be drawn and it is likely that both parties will suffer non-fatal wounds in the exchange.

My bet is on the Republicans to draw quickly and shoot straight, leaving the Democrats reeling about and shooting wildly in all directions. The ensuing melee will end quickly with the filubuster rules for Judicial nominees lying dead in the street. Both nominees will be voted into office and both parties will limp around blaming each other for the pseudo-carnage.

Once again, the Democrats will be shown to be losers. Their anger and hatred for President Bush and the Republican Congress will grow to even greater self-destructive levels than those recently reached by Senator Reid (calling Bush a "loser") and John Dean (too many quotes to choose from).

Right-wing Republicans will cheer and rejoice at the defeat of the "bad guys." More moderate Republicans, like myself, will find it hard to smile as we contemplate how painfully divided and disfunctional our Senate has become.

Such bitter and irrational division is never the best plot-line for a story with a happy ending. This is not "good guys" vs. "bad guys." This is Americans vs. Americans; Americans who have come to a point where their differences are virtually irreconcilable with each other.

Ultimately, it will be the American voters who will sort this whole thing out. As time passes, one vision for American will ascend and the other will descend in popularity. The historically beneficial balance between our two-party system will begin to break down. Power and influence will grow disproportionately large for one party or the other. In the end, we may all be the losers.

I pray that the Democratic party will come to its senses as soon as possible. There is nothing to be gained by this High Noon showdown. Surrender graciously to the inevitiblity of the majority rule of law. Let the judicial nominees be voted on for their merits or lack of merits. If the choices are bad, the American people will notice and will be more than willing to pour out their dissatisfaction on the Republicans.

I think that what frightens the Democrats more than anything else, however, is the thought that the American people will, when all is said and done, be happy with these judges. Once again the Democrats will have reached for the gold ring and missed it. As their party continues to grow smaller and smaller, that gold ring will move further and further away.

Once in a while, nightmares do come true.