Q&A Friday #23: Any Second Thoughts About The “Gang Of 14” Compromise?
Question #1: “You were very critical of the “Gang of 14″ filibuster deal that the Senate reached earlier this year. Has the subsequent confirmation of six judges and the impending confirmation of John Roberts changed your views on this deal at all?” — maledicta
Answer: My opinion on the “Gang of 14 deal” hasn’t changed at all. Look at the deal and ask yourself: what did we win exactly?
Yes, we got 6 judges through. Had we gone with the nuclear option, we would have gotten them all though. Yes, there have been no judicial filibusters since the deal. But, had we gone with the nuclear option, the Democrats would have been permanently blocked from doing judicial filibusters.
Yes, there are PROBABLY enough GOP votes to block the Dems from doing a filibuster on the next Supreme Court Justice. But, you can never really count on butter spined, rubber kneed Republicans like John McCain, Lindsey Graham, Mike DeWine, & John Warner. Because of that, it’s more likely that Bush will make the mistake of selecting a less attractive nominee to conservatives in order to placate the Democrats. Had the GOP pulled the trigger nuclear option, Bush could have nominated anyone he so desired, from William Pryor to Janice Rogers Brown, while being absolutely confident that there was nothing of consequence the Democrats could do about it other than sputter with rage.
And what did we get in return for not pulling the trigger on the Nuclear Option? The Democrats agreed not to pitch an embarrassing public fit that would have cemented their status as “obstructionists” in the public’s mind. Had the Democrats actually gone through with their plan, I personally believe that:
1) It would have made the public angry at the Democrats.
2) Bush’s approval rating would be higher today because the public would figure no one could work with the Dems .
3) The godawful, pork laden Highway Bill may not have been pushed through.
Then, after a couple of months of pouting, the Democrats would have decided to cut their losses and get back to work — well, if you call complaining about everything Bush does “work”.
Again, I ask: what did we win exactly? Nothing! The Senate GOP got their clocks cleaned on the deal. It was a huge win for the Democrats and the only mild positive that came out of this for Republicans was that some of the “Radicals” on the left didn’t realize what a victory the compromise was for Democrats given the margin that the GOP has in the Senate.