We’ve been talking about the great debate over judicial nominees and the filibuster rules for weeks. Armageddon may now be upon us.

With the Senate clock ticking toward a momentous procedural clash over judicial nominees, lawmakers and advocates on each side are readying a final push to win over the few uncommitted lawmakers and frame the fight to their best political advantage.
NYT: Free Reg

Whether by design, or through media connivance, the debate is being framed as a straight-up culture war smackdown. And the Holy Warriors are primed and ready to rumble.

With the climax nearing, the tone of the debate is escalating. A radio address taped by three Christian conservative leaders for broadcast Monday called the judiciary “the last playground of the liberal left.” In the address, James C. Dobson, the founder of Focus on the Family, described the fight as the tipping point of the Bush presidency. “Nothing good took place last November, only the potential for something good,” Dr. Dobson said.

While I agree with Dobson that nothing good happened last November, only the potential for something good, I take exception to his intention to take my playground away. The Frog-Pond in sacrosanct.

Bill Frist appears to be moving forward, prodded by Dobson, and other lunatics.

The heightened level of activity is being driven by signs from Republican senators and senior aides that Senator Bill Frist of Tennessee, the majority leader, will soon take aim at the Senate’s signature parliamentary weapon by forcing a vote to eliminate Democratic filibusters against Mr. Bush’s choices for the federal bench.

While the Republicans are aware of the polls showing the unpopularity of changing the Senate rules, they think perceptions will change once the Democrats begin to retaliate. And they have their talking points, and popular bills lined up to use as examples of Democratic obstructionism.

Seizing on Democratic threats to slow the majority agenda in the Senate, Republicans intend to paint Democrats as uncompromising obstacles to popular legislation. The message is simple, they say – no highway money, no energy bill, no tax relief.

“My own judgment is that this operates in our favor,” said Senator John Cornyn, Republican of Texas. “It would just cement their reputation as obstructionists.”

He and other Republicans say they are convinced that Democrats will confront a backlash if they are seen as throwing a tantrum that kills legislation that could benefit a struggling economy.

I’ll say this for the GOP, they do not shy away from unpopular moves. They are going to try to shove asshole judges down our throats, tear up the Senate rule book, and call us babies if we complain about it. I hope Senator Reid has his troops amassed and his battle plan ready. This is going to be reminiscent of another big Washington rumble:

Looking back on the fight over his nomination, Bork a few days ago recalled the sting he felt when then-Sen. Howard Metzenbaum, D-Ohio, told the Senate Judiciary Committee that “you can walk down any street and find women who are worried” about Bork’s position on privacy rights.

“This business about women being afraid of me and so forth was just preposterous,” Bork said.

As for the current nomination battle, Bork said, “I think it’s nastier than it’s ever been probably. A lot of people say it started with me, but I think it’s grown increasingly nasty. I was in town when Nixon was going down. Oddly enough, the town was less bitter then than it is now.”
AP: Guardian

Yes, it is more bitter because Bush is a bigger prick than Nixon, and the GOP is not interested in building consensus for anything they do. This is going to be a wild ride folks. And we have to come out of it victorious.

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