Tuesday, May 24, 2005

Win or Loss?

So the filibuster showdown was averted at the last minute! Much joy in Washington, with pictures of Frist and Reid looking all set to do the minuet. So all's well? So one would think from hearing the Democrats. MoveOn sent around a message of congratulations to everyone who had contacted their senators in Washington urging a no on the 'nuclear' option. The memo from MoveOn pointed out that James Dobson had cried that the Republicans had caved in the face of a united Democratic front.

This victory is all very well, but it kinda reminds me of strikes I used to see when I was in India. The union would call a strike. After a couple of days of demonstrations and picketing, the management would dismiss the workers. Then the entire focus of the demands would shift to 'reinstall the workers', with the original purpose of the strike lost. After all the sturm-und-drang, what has been obtained? The status quo, nothing more.

The Republicans have promised to set aside the nuclear option, while the Democrats have conceded all a the things on which the entire filibuster effort was based. The "Agreement", as it is reverently referred to in the newspapers, agrees to provide 'up or down' votes to, among others, Priscilla Owen and Janice Rogers Brown, the most egregious of Bush's choices. I watched Barbara Boxer lay out the case against the latter in great detail, explaining why the filibuster was needed.

So the Republicans have won. They have advanced their nominees, while Frist summarized his smug threat, that the nuclear option would be revived upon 'bad faith and bad behavior'. To be defined at will, no doubt.

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