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Dick Morris: Let the Dems Try to Talk a Nomination to Death!

Roundup: Media's Take




Dick Morris, at frontpagemag.com (4-29-05):

The Republican leaders in the Senate do not have to make the false choice between endless toleration of Democratic filibusters that enfeeble their majority and the so-called “nuclear option” — a ruling that filibusters of judicial nominations are unconstitutional — which will set off partisan wrangling for the balance of the Bush tenure.

It is absurd to try to tell the American people why filibusters of judicial nominations violate the Constitution while those of presidential nonjudicial appointments and of regular legislation do not. The American people are going to see the denial of the right of unlimited debate as the equivalent of FDR’s court-packing plan, which doomed the second term of his presidency to utter failure (he had a pretty good third term, winning the war).

The better way to proceed is to make the filibuster radioactive politically by letting the Democrats talk themselves to death. Give them enough rope and they will hang themselves by their vocal cords.

Frist just needs to end the “virtual” filibuster and make the Democrats stage a real one, replete with quorum calls, 24/7 sessions and truly endless debate covered word for word by C-SPAN for all the nation to see — and ridicule.

Frist should bring up a judicial nomination of little consequence for the nation — say Charles Pickering — and let the Democrats explain, at tedious length, why they are tying up the entire nation over a judgeship for Mississippi. While the public would possibly tolerate a filibuster over a Supreme Court nomination or over a particularly important piece of legislation with enormous consequence, they would never allow a filibuster over so inconsequential an item, and the backlash would be fierce.

To force the Democrats to filibuster over such a matter would be akin to the way President Clinton forced the Republicans to shut down the government in the budget fight. In the era of 24-hour news and cable TV, the Democrats will find that they cannot stage a real, red-blooded filibuster without hurting themselves politically each day they talk. ...


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