Mitch McConnell says the Republicans have the votes to stop the Democrats from filibustering President Bush’s judicial nominees. I’m pretty sure he’s right. Not just because McConnell is, in his own words, “a good counter of votes.” More important, because Joe Biden is offering a compromise. Earlier today, Biden said on “This Week”:
I think we should compromise and say to them that we’re willing to — of the seven judges — we’ll let a number of them go through, the two most extreme not go through and put off this vote [to end the filibuster].
Democrats play to win–unlike, sometimes, Republicans–and if they had a winning hand on judges, a subject dear to the hearts of their richest supporters, they would play it. Biden’s willingness to compromise means they don’t have the votes.
The last thing the Republicans should do at this point is accept Biden’s deal. The explicit premise of the “compromise” is that President Bush’s nominees are “extreme,” and the two that the Dems will block are the “most extreme.” This is not only false, it is insulting to every judge whom President Bush has nominated to the bench, and to the President himself. Unable to win today, the Democrats are playing for the future–for the President’s first Supreme Court nomination, for next year’s elections, and for history.
Ideas matter. The Republicans got where they are by remembering this; let’s not forget it now. Every one of the excellent judges whom President Bush has nominated to the Courts of Appeal deserves a Senate vote. Anything less is a disgrace.