The Art Of The Deal

« May 2005 »

Memo to Democrats: DO YOU NEVER LEARN?

Don't answer that question. You don't learn. You fight yesterday's battles, you fight today's battles, and you keep losing because the Republicans are fighting tomorrow's battles. That's what this so-called "compromise" on the filibuster is all about. Tomorrow's battle, and establishing the terms and the language under which the next battle will be fought. Taking the tactical high ground today, and making themselves look gracious in the process.

A historic showdown has been averted thanks to compromise. That's what you'll read in the news stories today. "Kept the Senate from going over a precipice", according to McCain. "The bi-partisan center held", said Lieberman, and I guess he would know, as he himself is pretty much bi-partisan. And it's true, for a sufficiently loose definition of compromise. A definition so loose it includes doing whatever the majority wants.

Oh, it looks good on the surface. Three of the crazy judges get in, but two of them... um, might not. They didn't say. The Democrats agree only to filibuster under "extraordinary circumstances", and as long as they do that, the Republicans will oppose eliminating the filibuster. You get to keep your Safe-T Scissors, as long as you promise never to cut anything with it.

The Democrats still have the filibuster. This is not a victory, because having or not having the filibuster is not where the FUCKING FIGHT WAS. The fight was where the fight always is - public perception. How the average schmuck sees the argument is infinitely more important than the argument itself, or the outcome of the argument. Because government has been utterly subsumed into politics. And that's why this "compromise" is nothing but the lube for a few months down the road, when Rehnquist retires, and the Democrats get fucked.

The agreement, which you can read in full on the Net, puts Democrats in the position as the only ones who can break the agreement. The one tiny thing the Republicans are held to, not pulling the "nuclear" trigger, can only happen if the Democrats use the filibuster. Unless the Democrats can somehow convince the general public that the "circumstances" are "extraordinary", they'll be seen as having gone back on this so-called "historic" agreement. And for fucksake, if they can't get the public on their side against Priscilla Owen, the bought and paid-for corporate whore from Texas, it's NEVER GOING TO HAPPEN.

Unless Bush nominates someone for the Supreme Court who's caught on tape in a three-way with Larry King and a shitzu, ain't no circumstance gonna be extraordinary enough to keep Rove & Co. from painting Democrats as black-hatted obstructionist betrayers before they're even two syllables into the WORD "filibuster". And the public will buy it, because this agreement sets things up that way. And the spin of the agreement sets things up that way. And the reporting of the spin of the agreement sets things up that way. Opposing any Bush appointees in any effective manner whatsoever now makes the Democrats as the bad guys.

They've put themselves in a position that's WORSE than if they'd called the nuclear bluff and won. WORSE than if they called the nuclear bluff and lost. And they have the gall to declare victory. Best-case scenario, you call Frist's bluff, a couple of more Republicans find their conscience on the top shelf of the closet, and Frist's fucking fangs are pulled for good. But if the nuclear option had passed, there was a better than even chance that the Republicans could end up with the black hats for a change, their bullying, abusive tactics actually seen as such by a country already fed up with the Schiavo clusterfuck.

And if things go really badly? If the nuclear option passes, and the Republicans STILL manage to make you look bad? Well, yo'u're in the exact same fucking place you would be a few months from now if you try to filibuster a Supreme Court nominee. Only you've made their work a lot easier this time.

If you want a predictor for the future, look how the players are acting. Because how they're acting determines how they'll be seen. Here's what Harry Reid (Senate minority leader) said: ACTUAL QUOTE TIME!

"Checks and balances have been protected. The integrity of the Supreme Court has been protected from the undue influence of the vocal, radical right wing." - He's acting like he got something. Like he earned some kind of concession. He's being polite. He's being conciliatory. And by doing so, he's giving the exact opposite impression of what actually happened, to his and his party's detriment. Here's his counterpart, Bill "I Know She's Alive, I Seen Her On The Video" Frist:

"It falls short. It has some good news, and has some disappointing news, and will require careful monitoring." - He's acting like he LOST A LOT. Like he gave stuff up by two whole judges maybe not getting through. Like he's put out. And by doing so, he's giving the exact opposite impression of what actually happened, to his and his party's benefit.

The Democrats have backed themselves into a corner, and are congratulating each other on how nicely they fit. BRILLIANT.