About the next two years

Now that I’ve offered my predictions about the election tomorrow, let me say a word about what is likely to occur during the next two years if the Democrats prevail. I don’t know what all of the consequences will be, but it seems certain that if the Dems have a majority in either chamber, the next two years will be marred by a flood of subpoenas and endless b.s. hearings. Many of the best people in the Bush administration will leave rather than trek non-stop to Capitol Hill to face constant petty harassment by the Dems.
It also seems likely that our taxes will increase. There is plenty to criticize about the performance of the Republican House and Senate, but both chambers have been solid on this issue. That likely will change to the extent the Dems prevail tomorrow.
Finally, if the Democrats take control of the Senate, we can almost surely forget about confirming judges like John Roberts and Samuel Alito either for the Supreme Court (where one or more vacancies easily could arise) or at the appellate level. Even if the Repubs keep formal control, I think the administration will be hard-pressed to confirm a solidly non-activist Supreme Court nominee, and to confirm a high percentage of such nominees to appellate courts, unless there are at least 52 Republicans not counting Chafee. But with 50 or more Senators, Bush will at least get most of his nominees out of committee, and a decent number of the good court of appeals nominees likely will be confirmed. Moreover, when the Dems filibuster, they may have to pay a price — one they can avoid if, with a majority, they can simply bottle up nominees in committee.
Thus, I disagree with conservatives who claim that it’s a matter of indifference what happens tomorrow or that a victory by the Democrats somehow would be a good thing. This is something that disgruntled conservatives said in 1986 too. But the Democratic takeover of the Senate that year caused Robert Bork not to be confirmed, and for Anthony Kennedy to join the Supreme Court instead. Twenty years later, we are still paying for that one. And some of the loudest complaints about the Supreme Court seem to come from “teach the Republicans a lesson” conservatives.

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