Tuesday, May 24, 2005

Reaction Roundup

The reaction to last night's surprising (and welcome, from my perspective) compromise bringing the Senate back from the brink of a nuclear showdown has been nothing short of explosive itself.
Joe Gandelman at The Moderate Voice has done an excellent job of consolidating thoughts from the blogosphere here. Confirm Them also has a decent roundup here, and Crooks and Liars has more bloggers here. For reactions from senators, see my post from last night. [I will just highlight this response from the Bull Moose -- 8:46 a.m.]

I want to focus in on some of the very interesting statements from outside the blogosphere: from interest groups, the MSM and others. Of course the best comment about the special interests so far has to come from John McCain, who said last night that of course groups on both sides were going to be upset: "Think of all the money they are going to lose."

- Nan Aron, of the Alliance for Justice: "While we had no interest in seeing the Senate break down, we are very disappointed with the decision to move these extremist nominees one step closer to confirmation." [via NYT]

- Paul Weyrich, conservative activist: Weyrich called the agreement "an outrage" that "solves nothing." "Once again, moderate Republicans have taken the victory and thrown it overboard," he told the NYT, also predicting "that conservatives voters would punish the party."

- Ralph Neas, of People for the American Way: "The explicit language of the agreement reached tonight by a group of senators rejects the nuclear option, preserves the filibuster and ensures that both political parties will have a say in who is appointed to our highest courts. The agreement embodies the very principle of consultation and consensus that the filibuster encourages. ... Nonetheless, we cannot endorse every aspect of the deal that was announced today. We are deeply concerned that it could lead to confirmation of appeals court judges who would undermine Americans’ rights and freedoms. ..." Full statement here.

- James Dobson, Focus on the Family: "This Senate agreement represents a complete bailout and betrayal by a cabal of Republicans and a great victory for united Democrats. Only three of President Bush’s nominees will be given the courtesy of an up-or-down vote, and it's business as usual for all the rest ... We are grateful to Majority Leader Frist for courageously fighting to defend the vital principle of basic fairness. That principle has now gone down to defeat. We share the disappointment, outrage and sense of abandonment felt by millions of conservative Americans who helped put Republicans in power last November. I am certain that these voters will remember both Democrats and Republicans who betrayed their trust." Full statement here.

- LA Times editorial: "It was always going to be a long shot given the clubby institution's instincts for self-preservation, but this debate at least held out the possibility of making the system more fair. Now that the Senate is back in business, to borrow a phrase, its privileges preserved, its members are understandably pleased. Forgive us if we decline to join them."

- Columnist E.J. Dionne: "... The deal is not perfect. There are grounds to worry that the federal judiciary will be dominated at the end of the Bush years by a certain style of conservative - Janice Rogers Brown is representative - ready to roll back the New Deal jurisprudence of the last 70 years. Many who buy this legal approach preach that federal rules on wages and hours, environmental and business regulation, should be overturned by courts that would use 19th-century standards to void Washington's capacity to create rational standards for a complex 21st-century economy. Stopping such a judicial takeover would justify filibusters. But for now, at least, the principle of Senate scrutiny of judges has been preserved." Full text here.

- Washington Times headline: "7 Republicans Abandon GOP on Filibuster." Because who needs editorials anyway?

- Gary Bauer, of American Values: "This is a sad day for our nation. The desire of millions of Americans to restore balance to our federal courts has been thwarted behind closed doors by 14 senators. Only three of President Bush's appointees are guaranteed an up or down vote under this sell out. Under this agreement it is now more likely that radical social change will continue to be forced on the American people by liberal courts committed to same sex marriage, abortion on demand and hostility to religious expression. The Republicans who lent their names to this travesty have undercut their President as well as millions of their most loyal voters. Shame on them." Text here.

- The Washington Post editorial board: "[T]he agreement by seven Republicans and seven Democrats, ... is a great achievement. It is a demonstration, in an era of increasingly bitter partisanship, of what can still be accomplished through negotiation and the proffer of a modicum of trust across the aisle. Interest groups on both sides railed against compromise and threatened its architects; Senate leaders of both parties and the president did more to obstruct a deal than to facilitate it. The 14 senators nonetheless managed to put principle above self-protection." Full text of "The Center Holds" here.

Absolutely fascinating, the range of opinions on this. This is just a short sample, nothing very comprehensive at all. If you've found some good quips and quotes from other interest groups or newspapers, feel free to add them in the comments.


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