The Politics Of The Nuclear Option: We’ve Got The Constitution And More Than 200 Years Of Senate Tradition On Our Side

There are a lot of different theories floating around about which way certain senators are going to go on the Nuclear Option and what the Republican leadership is going to do. The latest story is that Rick Santorum wants to apply “the brakes” because the polling data doesn’t look all that hot. Do I believe that? My gut reaction is no, since “Priscilla Owen and Janice Rogers Brown, are expected to be discharged from the Judiciary Committee later this week.” Once the Democrats filibuster Owen or Brown, it’s time to do or politically die for the GOP.

In any case, the idea that this is going to be something that’s going to hurt the GOP come election time is absolutely nuts.

First of all, the conservative base is going to flip out if this doesn’t happen and they should. We have a 55-44-1 edge in the Senate. If Frist can’t get at least 50 Republicans to go his way on something as important as this, then he should resign his leadership post because he doesn’t have what it takes.

Furthermore, I can tell you that any Republican who votes against the Nuclear Option shouldn’t bother running for President or sending me any sort of fund raising letters. I can absolutely guarantee you that I won’t chip in a dime to the campaign of any senator who votes against the Nuclear Option and my guess is that a large percentage of Republicans feel the same way.

Secondly, the idea that this is going to hurt Republicans at the ballot box in 2006 is silly.

Just consider how this is going to play out:

1) Since 2003, the Democrats have been demanding that the GOP ignore the Constitution and more than 200 years of Senate tradition so they can be allowed to have veto power over which of Bush’s judges are appointed to the bench.

2) After spending two years fruitlessly trying to compromise with the Democratic obstructionists in the Senate, the GOP has decided to make a stand and stop allowing the Democrats to run roughshod over Senate tradition and the Constitution.

3) When the Democrats are prevented from blocking the judges selected by the President, they’ve pledged to throw a tantrum, a strike; they’ve pledged to essentially shut down the government.

4) Then when the GOP wants to bring, let’s say, the “Saving the Cuddly Kittens of Orphans From Being Tossed into a Paper Shredder Act of 2005” to a vote, the Democrats are going to block that bill from going to the floor.

5) At that point, Republicans are going to get on TV and say things like:

“We were hoping to get bipartisan support for saving those kittens, but I guess the Democrats are still angry that we wouldn’t let them ignore the Constitution and more than 200 years of Senate tradition to block President Bush’s judges.”

or

“If you hired an employee and he got mad about a rule you set, would you just accept it if he told you that he wasn’t going to work anymore? Of course not. Now, don’t your Senators work for you? Didn’t they make promises to you about what they were going to do once they got to Washington? Well, now, they’re telling you that they’re not going to work anymore. When they stop loafing on the job and get back to work or when you get tired of how they’re behaving and replace them, we in the GOP, who never stopped working for our constituents, look forward to more bipartisan cooperation in the Senate.”

Now, how long do you think this is going to last with Republicans on TV every day saying they’d love to get back to work and Democrats bawling, kicking their feet, and crying at the top of their lungs that the Republicans won’t ignore more than 200 years of Senate tradition and the Constitution so the Democrats can have their way?

Someone tell these wimpy Senate Republicans to show a little backbone for once. The Nuclear Option is the right thing to do, it’s constitutional, and it’s good politics for the GOP.

So pull the trigger already because we’ve got ——- (Guess what on our side?) That’s right — more than 200 years of Senate tradition and the Constitution…

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