Friday, May 20, 2005

Where have you gone, Edmund Burke, our nation turns its lonely eyes to you

Marshall Wittman analyzes the post-apocalyptic landscape:

W's social security proposal is already dead in the water. Besides a pork laden energy bill, the cupboard is bare on the domestic front. If Senate Republicans kill the filibuster, Democrats will put the final nail in the coffin for any hopes that the President can move any favored legislation through the upper chamber.

The net result is that the President could officially become a lame duck with the implementation of the nuclear option. While he will get his appellate nominees and clear the path for appointees to the Supreme Court, W. will have to say good-bye to any hopes to pass legacy type legislation.

Of course, it's not exactly small potatoes to transform the judiciary and reverse the last sixty years of progressive reforms.

Even if the centrist senators achieve a compromise, this week’s debate has already stirred up enough interest group passions, demagoguery and acrimony – with the White House simply standing aside and applauding the Frist maneuverings – that important people will be out for vengeance any way it goes. It's going to reverberate for a while, to detriment of the Senate as an institution, such as it is.

Why have Republicans have abandoned their traditional, conservative, Burkean - and sensible - respect for institutional integrity? Their actions have the methodical but desperate air of an addict who must get his next fix, damn the consequences. This is the functional reality of the Rovian 51 percent solution. Your interest groups must be fed, and power must be exercised and consolidated by any means to build an enduring edifice - that, in the absence of a genuine political consensus, could easily crumble in the next election.

And what is the deal with Priscilla Owen’s hairdo? Robin Givhan, get on this please.