Day By Day

Monday, May 23, 2005

The Senate Compromise

Hurrah! Reason has prevailed over partisanship, at least for a while. Right wing ideologues are in a rage, looking for blood because the filibuster has not been eradicated and they might only get five of the seven disputed candidates. Lefties are relieved for the same reason, although they would like to have blocked more. Both sides were at fault. The Democrats clearly were abusing the rules of the Senate and in the response Republicans were threatening to seriously damage the institution. Such are the perils of partisanship.

A showdown has been averted, or at least postponed, and the moderates within the Senate are moving into the foreground. A potentially significant point -- the leadership of both parties were completely cut out of the negotiations and had to have the results explained to them. We may have witnessed a turning point here in which extremist confrontation gives way generally to moderation, accommodation and compromise. At least we can hope for such.

An interesting historical note: The three most significant assaults on the authority of the judiciary were launched by Thomas Jefferson, Andrew Jackson, and Franklin D. Roosevelt, the three brightest stars in the Democrat firmament. In each case the judiciary was overwhelmed by presidential power. Yet in the current debate it is the Democratic Party that is arguing that judicial power is sacrosanct.

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