Wednesday, April 27, 2005

I'd Rather the Democrats Fight than Dance

Earlier this week, I was excited to see that there was a rift developing between the business-oriented Republicans in Congress and the cultural conservatives over the filibuster rule change showdown on judicial appointments. Apparently the Chamber of Commerce is worried that it will hurt "their priorities" in Congress (things like stripping away consumers' right to class action status and bankruptcy protection--oops they've already done that, well other nefarious priorities) if the Senate is at a standstill over the filibuster rule change play.

Historically, as Thomas Frank detailed so well in his What's the Matter with Kansas?, Republicans in Congress, elected by a powerful combination of business money and cultural conservative grassroots, fight to the death over business "priorities" and win, and make a show on values issues, and lose. Rarely, at least publicly, are the two pitted against each other though. Interesting to see what the Republicans will do when the Chamber throws down like that against their whacko base.

Meanwhile, on the other side of the aisle, yesterday it was reported that Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid is seeking a compromise over the nine or ten judicial appointees in question. He clearly stated that he wanted to avoid the showdown, "I'd rather dance than fight."

Well, doesn't that just sum up the Congressional democrats main problem nicely?

I sense a leetle pattern here: chamber of commerce has plenty of juice with the Democrats too (who voted in numbers for the anti-consumer bills referenced above)--clearly they're pressuring the Dems to avoid bringing the Senate to a standstill.

Now as much I prefer dancing to fighting outside Congress, at this point I believe the American people have little to lose and everything to gain from a showdown--Congress at a standstill sounds like heaven to me and even to let half those nominees on the bench is a disaster. Democrats could use the press that such a showdown would give them and the longer we stretch it out the better off we are going into the 2006 congressional elections.

So call Senator Harry Reid (202) 224-2131 and tell him you'd rather fight than dance.

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