Strengthening Constitutional Self-Government

No Left Turns

Calling the Democratic Bluff

There has been much talk in Washington about using the so-called "nuclear option"--a grossly misnamed procedure designed to stop the unprecedented Democratic filibuster of judicial nominees. I must admit that I have my doubts as to whether the Republicans have the intestinal fortitude to actually force a vote. After all, they never forced a "real" filibuster for any significant length of time; and they have allowed a simple rule clarification to be dubbed an apocalyptic weapon.

But Senator George Allen’s article in the Washington Times today provides some hope. He argues that the Republicans to "go for it" without timidity. Here is a taste:

As senators, we have a constitutional responsibility to give our "advice and consent" regarding the president’s judicial nominations and that responsibility is being thwarted by a minority of Democrats who don’t agree with these nominees’ ideological positions. No senator has an obligation to vote in favor of a nominee, but every senator should have the backbone to get off their haunches and vote yes or vote no on these nominees and explain their vote to their constituents.

He also asks the right question about the Democratic threat of becoming uncooperative, essentially asking what is this becoming nonsense. I think he is right. The Democrats have established themselves as the party of "no." The only way that they can become less cooperative is to force a government shutdown, and that is a risk that I don’t think they actually want to take. I think it is past time to call their bluff.

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