Saturday, February 26, 2005


McClellan or Grant? That is the Question

Hugh Hewitt has called Vox Blogoli 2.2. The essential question surrounds the current filibuster of conservative judicial nominees in the Senate. The Dems have threatened the Republicans with a complete shutdown of the Senate should the Republicans elect to take what has been described as the "nuclear option," which is to modify the rules of the Senate an eliminate the filibuster. Hugh's question is should the Republicans respond like General Grant, that it to say, press the fight on the line that has been drawn, or should they respond like General McClellan and seek to muster their forces and collect more supplies in preparation for the battle on more favorable terms?

Simply put, the "McClellan" option is a no-starter. Why? Easy -- there will never be enough supplies or a better strategic situation. There are only a couple of better situations that I can imagine. One would be, of course, that the Republican majority gets larger than 60, thus cloture could be invoked. I find this unlikely, while the country has tipped rightward, and will likely do so some more, I don't think that much. Such substantial majorities are, I believe, a thing of the past. In this media driven age it is too easy to convince too many people to some point of view, regardless of how ill-informed, or simply dumb that point of view may be.

The other situation would be that enough Dems would vote with the Republicans to invoke cloture. So long as the purse strings are controlled by the usual suspects (Kennedy, Clinton, Boxer, et. al.) I find this equally unlikely. The issues associated with judicial appointment have become bedrock issues to the Dems, and with the election of Howard Dean to the chairmanship of the DNC, the bedrock has gotten heavier.

So we are stuck, more or less, with letting the filibuster stand, which is a victory for the Dems, or we go nuclear (Grant) and let them do their worst. Hugh describes their worst as "going Gingrich." Well, it did not help Newt much, so why do we think it will help the Dems much here?

That said, I think the Republicans need to be really smart in doing this. The Dems are relying on the MSM to help them make this look like the Republicans are the bad guys. That needs to be overcome. Hugh suggests that the NRSC should set up a resources page for activism on this issue -- great idea. Presumably the leading activists on this would be us bloggers. Which is how the MSM will be overcome; as it has been a few times in the past now.

More, I think the Republicans need to do everything they can to not make this discussion center on abortion. I do not believe that Roe v Wade can be overturned, it has become a fact of life. The phrase "Right to Choose" has become, to a very considerable portion of the population, apple pie. Once the phrase is uttered, they shut down their cognitive capacities, they won't hear arguments about legislating abortion, or distinguishing between 1st trimester and 3rd trimester. Nope, rightly or wrongly, it's apple pie. This, of course, is why the Dems have more or less made it a litmus test.

That said, the Republicans have a considerable current advantage if they can turn this on the issue of gay marriage. Based on the last election, gay marriage is clearly in heavy disfavor among the general population. While not a hard and fast rule, pro-life judges are likely anti-gay marriage, and the converse. The last election and recent rulings make it apparent that the Dems are determined to force gay marriage into public life via judicial fiat since the legislative route is clearly closed to them. That's the story line, and it needs to be hammered into the American consciousness over and over again.

Now, it may take a little while for that story line to develop, so the Republican might be wise to wait until a little later in the session to push the button, but push it they should.


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