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Saturday, May 14, 2005

"Nice little military base you've got here, Senator. It would be a shame if something were to happen to it" 

Democrats should beware of false hope.
I am concerned that the Senate Dems and the progressive bloggers have talked themselves into believing a fairy tale -- that they actually have a serious chance to stop Bolton, and to retain the filibuster, and to stop those seven awful judges.
This Financial Times article about the Bolton nomination Bolton set for long battle on Senate floor says that "questions from [foreign services ] committee Republicans could pave the way for more opposition when the Senate takes up [the Bolton nomination]"
Well, yes, that may well be true -- the discussion may well go on for a week! Or ten days even!
But in the end, the Democrats will most likely lose.
The White House has turned all these votes into a do-or-die situation, a 'you're either with us or with the terrorists' kind of vote. So the chances that six republicans will actually risk their careers to vote against the Wnite House are miniscule -- three, maybe four, is possible; six is highly unlikely.
The American people may be lukewarm now about Boy George, but they aren't angry enough at the Bush administration to cheer Senators who would vote against him. But the Christian Right and the right-wing media/blogosphere, who have wholeheartedly accepted the do-or-die framing, would crucify any senator who voted against Bush (and they are also the ones who wouldn't forgive Bush unless he pulls out all the stops to win). On the filibuster and judges issues in particular, there is the added pressure from prolifers who think they can eliminate abortion if they can eliminate the filibuster and get some anti-abortion judges in the lower courts and then get a Supreme Court which would overturn Roe v Wade.
While presidents in the past would have realized that appointees like Bolton and the Ridiculous Seven will be seen as biased and ineffective in their positions without a bipartisan majority in favour of their appointment, the Bush administration has demonstrated repeatedly since the election that they don't care whether any vote is 90 to 10 or 51 to 49. they only care about winning in whatever way they can.
Finally, the announcement about those military base closings is suspisciously well-timed -- as in "Nice little military base you've got here in your state, Senator. It would be a shame if anything were to happen to it."
Chances are that well before the 2006 midterms, the filibuster will be gone and Bolton will be in and the Ridiculous Seven will be in and so will at least one, or maybe two, anti-abortion Supreme Court justices. And Cheney's fishing buddy Scalia will be Chief Justice.
Though democrats should, and must, keep fighting on every vote, they also need a Plan B.
I just have no idea what that could be.

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