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May 23, 2005

The Senate's Muddling Middle

Walter Shapiro is rooting for the "Dirty Dozen moderates" in the Senate filibuster fight, primarily for reasons of practical politics:
"The Republicans will probably win 51-49 or 50-50 with Dick Cheney breaking the tie when the Senate votes Tuesday on a rule change eliminating judicial filibusters. What leaves me baffled is why the Democrats donít take any deal that they can get from the handful of Republicans who remain rightly fearful about detonating this nuclear option. Blocking two or three right-wing appeals court judges and preserving the glimmer of a chance to filibuster if Bush nominates, say, Ann Coulter to the Supreme Court may, alas, be the best outcome liberals can hope for in difficult times."
Ron Brownstein says it's now left to "an assortment of mavericks, malcontents, back-benchers, gray eminences and ideological heretics from the two parties to try to settle an unnecessary crisis that could fundamentally alter the Senate's character."

Though they have an outline for a deal, David Brooks notes "these are moderates. They can't just shove something through on the rough and dirty the way the partisans do... They have to shop it around."

As a result, there's still no deal.

But The Note says the Gang of Twelve is "expected to meet privately" tonight "to try to hash out a final deal. We're told by both sides that reconciling paragraphs three and four of the draft plan -- which deal with the future and what rights the majority leader and the minority will have -- remain the sticking point."


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