- The integrity of future Supreme Courts has been protected
from the undue influences of a vocal, radical faction of the right
that is completely out of step with mainstream America. That was the
intent of the Republican "nuclear option" from the beginning. Tonight,
the Senate has worked its will on behalf of reason, responsibility and
the greater good. ...
I do not support several of the judges that have been agreed to because their views and records display judicial activism that jeopardize individual rights and freedoms. But other troublesome nominees have been turned down. And, most importantly, the U.S. Senate retains the checks and balances to ensure all voices are heard in our democracy.
I am grateful to my colleagues who worked so hard to achieve this agreement. I am hopeful that we can quickly turn to work on the people's business.
--- Harry Reid, defending his agreement to allow likely party-line votes on three of Dubya's most extreme nominees.
- Before I come to describe the Agreement which was signed
at Munich in the small hours of Friday morning last, I would like to
remind the House of two things which I think it very essential not to
forget when those terms are being considered. The first is this: We
did not go there to decide whether the predominantly German areas in
the Sudetenland should be passed over to the German Reich. That had
been decided already. Czechoslovakia had accepted the Anglo-French
proposals. What we had to consider was the method, the conditions and
the time of the transfer of the territory.
The second point to remember is that time was one of the essential factors. All the elements were present on the spot for the outbreak of a conflict which might have precipitated the catastrophe. We had populations inflamed to a high degree; we had extremists on both sides ready to work up and provoke incidents; we had considerable quantities of arms which were by no means confined to regularly organised forces. Therefore, it was essential that we should quickly reach a conclusion, so that this painful and difficult operation of transfer might be carried out at the earliest possible moment and concluded as soon as was consistent, with orderly procedure, in order that we might avoid the possibility of something that might have rendered all our attempts at peaceful solution useless. ...
... To those who dislike an ultimatum, but who were anxious for a reasonable and orderly procedure, every one of [the] modifications [of the Godesberg Memorandum by the Munich Agreement] is a step in the right direction. It is no longer an ultimatum, but is a method which is carried out largely under the supervision of an international body. ...
Ever since I assumed my present office my main purpose has been to work for the pacification of Europe, for the removal of those suspicions and those animosities which have so long poisoned the air. The path which leads to appeasement is long and bristles with obstacles. The question of Czechoslovakia is the latest and perhaps the most dangerous. Now that we have got past it, I feel that it may be possible to make further progress along the road to sanity.
--- Neville Chamberlain, defending his agreement at Munich.
And no, I'm not comparing the theocons to the Nazis here. I'm comparing Harry Reid to Neville Chamberlain. Each of them manged, in his own way I'm sure, to convince himself that an opponent's brute exercise of power was somehow mitigated by minor concessions over matters of form.
(And yes, the freepers are outraged. Should I be pleased? It's their job to be outraged. It's their place in the movement.)
What cripples the Democrats politically, more than anything else, is the widespread perception that they care about nothing other than clinging to the tattered remnants of their own fading power. They complain that it's unfair to expect them to offer up a program when they lack the power to enact it. Gosh, that sure stopped Newt Gingrich.
This deal just tatters those remnants some more -- preserving the filibuster, as I've noted already, as a kind of theoretical option, which they get to keep as long as the Republicans can't convince their own caucus, on a party-line vote, that the Democrats' use of it is somehow extraordinary. Merely to be seen putting up an actual fight would be worth more than that.
Senator Feingold gets it. Pity the leadership doesn't...
More: A lot of liberal bloggers are taking comfort in James Dobson's fulminations against the deal. "Justice Clarence Thomas, Justice Antonin Scalia, and Chief Justice William Rehnquist would never have served on the U. S. Supreme Court if this agreement had been in place during their confirmations." -- never mind that all of them were in fact confirmed under the long-standing rules which would have permitted filibusters. Well, Dobson objects to the deal because Dobson objects to anything the Democrats do, whether he has a reason to or not. As with the Freepers, that's just his job...