Now Why Didn’t We Do This A Few Months Ago?

Squeezed July 13, 2005

It was Abraham Lincoln who said that a house divided against itself cannot stand. If that’s true, it’s a wonder that a certain body of the U.S. Congress is still standing.

Now, wasn’t it just a few short months ago when the Democrats and Republicans were ready to resort to “nuclear war” over judicial nominees and the right to filibuster same? Battle lines were already drawn, bomb shelters were being prepared, and it took a group of negotiators from both sides to hammer out what was the equivalent of SALT to bring the situation to an uneasy truce. So the Democrats agreed not to utilize the filibuster against a judicial nominee except under extraordinary circumstances, and the GOP gave up pushing for all of their nominees to be confirmed.

Then came the surprise announcement that Sandra Day O’Connor was bidding the court a fond farewell. And suddenly, we’re not talking the potential for “nuclear war,” we’re talking “nuclear holocaust.” But now, things appear right now to be going much differently (via Joe at The Moderate Voice).

Suddenly, we’re seeing George W. “go-it-alone-damn-the-torpedoes-full-speed-ahead” Bush treating the Democrats in the same manner as he’s treating the North Koreans in getting them back to the six-party negotiating table over real nuclear weapons.

It is refreshing to see the administration hold to its promise to reach out to the Senate, and especially to both sides of the aisle. Of course, it could all be for show, and we could have a partisan ideologue in confirmation hearings, and we could have a possible “nuclear standoff” anyway. But you gotta start someplace.

And I don’t even want to think yet about the possibility of Chief Justice Rehnquist resigning, or worse yet, dying. His recent hospitalization is putting everyone on edge. Or even worse still, John Paul Stevens, the heart of the liberal wing, not being able to wait for a Democratic president to pick his successor.

At any rate, it’s good to see that diplomacy is finally being given a chance to work. Of course, my question is, why didn’t we do this in the first place, in the preliminary rounds, instead of when it’s for all the marbles?

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