Monday, May 02, 2005

Reid's Deal

There's been a lot of online discussion about a column by David Brooks in the New York Times in which he alleges (via unnamed sources) that Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid offered Republican counterpart Bill Frist a deal in which some of the judicial nominations the Dems are holding up would be rescinded in exchange for a promise on Reid's part that his party would not block the next nomination of a supreme court justice.

Two possible scenarios present themselves here: Brooks is lying or misinformed; Mark Schmitt is convinced of this and makes a somewhat compelling argument to that effect.

The other possibility is that the offer really existed but that Frist rejected it. Ezra Klein is dumfounded that Reid would "unilaterally lay down arms no matter how crazy-insane Bush's nominees were."

In truth, though, this offer (if it happened) was mostly just a restatement of the existing Democratic strategy. They want Bush to back down on his nominees (whether some or all it makes no difference) and most everyone in Washington suspects that it will be Chief Justice Rehnquist who steps down next, and Bush will appoint Scalia or Thomas to take his place, both of whom have already been confirmed to the court. A fillibuster at that point would be pathetic, absurd, and hypocritical.

If the deal was offered, it's no surprise Frist didn't take it. It was a sucker offer.