As we noted yesterday, Bill Frist’s offer of a compromise on judicial nominations was a statesmanlike effort. It was scrupulously fair to both parties, constrained the majority just as it would the minority–more, really, since absent the compromise, the majority, Republican or Democrat, would always have the Constitutional option at its disposal–and effectuated the principle, endorsed by an overwhelming majority of Americans of both parties, that all judicial nominees should be voted on.
Harry Reid’s response, as reported by the Washington Times, was childish and incoherent. Unable to deny the fairness or the logic or Frist’s offer, Reid descended into babble:
[T]he Senate’s top Democrat immediately expressed doubt about the proposal, calling it “a big wet kiss to the far right.”
“I don’t really like the proposal given, but I’m not going to throw it away,” Mr. Reid said. “I’m going to work on it.”
In his floor speech, Mr. Reid called Mr. Frist’s proposal a “slow-motion nuclear option.” “After 100 hours, the rights of the minority are extinguished,” he said, acknowledging that the purpose of the filibusters hasn’t been to continue debate on nominees, but simply to stop them.
“I say to everyone within the sound of my voice: ‘Test us,’ “he said. “Let’s see how we can do in the future. I can’t say there won’t be any filibusters, but I think we’re going to have a much better situation.”
Reid’s incoherence couldn’t conceal what he didn’t dare say out loud: obstruction is the heart and soul of the Democratic Party.
The Times also reads Frist’s speech as confirming our prediction that Priscilla Owen will be the nominee whose case is used to break the filibuster.