Friday, January 12, 2007

OpinionJournal - Best of the Web Today: "Despite having taken over Congress, Democrats may find it difficult to obstruct President Bush's plans for Iraq. One reason, as the New York Times notes:
While Democrats control both houses of Congress, their margin in the Senate is so slender that Republican supporters there can fight back, using their chamber's arcane rules to frustrate Democrats on other issues.
Senator Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, the Republican minority leader, hinted in morning television appearances that any legislation expressing disapproval of the president's plan might be blocked by a filibuster, the stalling move that requires 60 votes to overcome, well short of Democratic strength.
OK, how about a little flashback--to a May 24, 2005 Times article by Sheryl Gay Stolberg:
In the end, it was the language of the Constitution itself and two old bulls of the Senate--Robert C. Byrd and John W. Warner--that averted a grim showdown over federal judicial nominees that had threatened to wreak lasting damage on Capitol Hill. . . .
The sticking points were always the same, [Sen. Ben] Nelson said. Democrats wanted assurances that they would not lose the right to filibuster judges, particularly a Supreme Court nominee, and that Republicans would not invoke the nuclear option. Republicans wanted assurances that they were not giving up the right to the nuclear option, and that Democrats would use the filibuster only rarely. . . .
Mr. Warner said Mr. Byrd, who is the longest-serving senator, opened every meeting with a reminder: 'Country, institution, and next, us.'
Less than two years ago, preserving the filibuster was a high-minded matter of serving 'country' and 'institution.' Now the filibuster is an 'arcane' 'stalling move.' Disputes about process are seldom really about process."

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