Tuesday, June 07, 2005

Getting Cloture

A deal is a deal. So it was today that 65 Senators voted for cloture to bring the confirmation of Janice Rogers Brown to the floor. I think the deal is a good thing. Not that I have any illusions that the underlying issue isn't merely postponed. (And of course what I would really like to see is a rule change so that a two-thirds majority is required for confirmation. Then give them all up-or-down votes and stop playing procedural games.) But I was encouraged to see that the filibuster was spared another day, and that at least some Senators are still capable of reaching a bipartisan agreement. (I don't know enough about Brown specifically to comment on her, but even if she is as bad as the Democrats make her out to be, such is the nature of compromises. When the tables were turned at the end of Clinton's term, The Republicans compromised with the Democrats and conceded a few extreme liberal appellate nominees.) What is interesting to me is the "inside-out" political dynamic going on particularly in the Senate. Often when two major parties are close to parity in votes, it is the extremists of either side who get to set some of the terms because every vote is crucial. But lately, it is the sensible centrists of both parties (and particularly the majority) who are the ones setting the terms. I suppose that's a consequence of heightened partisan polarization that those in the middle become the deal-makers. That can only be a good thing.

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