I was one of those who gave some very grudging, highly qualified, provisional and temporary praise for the so-called "Filibuster Deal" a few weeks back. ( See Supper at Gunpoint.) But it's obvious now that I was afflicted with a bad case of "jejunosity" (to quote the noted Russian philosopher, Boris Grushenko). The "deal" was a monumental defeat for the Democrats, who got their clocks cleaned, as usual, by the ruthless thugs they persist on treating as clubby colleagues in statecraft.
What in the name of God's gaping wounds was the point of a "deal" that has allowed Bush to ram through his very worst judicial nominees one right after the other, rolling them out like ingots of pig iron? First the corporate hireling Priscilla Owen, now the raving crank Janice Brown, and next up, the knuckle-dragging errand boy William Pryor: Senate Confirms Another Bush Judicial Nominee (NYT). In the "victory" speeches after the "deal," the Democratic leadership claimed they had "saved" the filibuster for the Supreme Court fights ahead -- even though Bill Frist was proclaiming at the exact same moment that the "nuclear option" was "not off the table," and could be yanked out and dropped on the Democrats' heads whenever he (or rather, his master in the White House) takes a notion. (O Lord, the deep shame of all sentient Tennesseans that this unctuous little meat puppet represents us in the Senate!)
Listen: if Bush wants to appoint Lynndie England to the U.S. Supreme Court, he will do it, and Frist and the Republicans will kill the filibuster and vote her in, and there won't be a damn thing the Democrats can do about it -- except strike huffy poses for the cameras on their way to the corporate jet that's flying them to their next fundraiser.
Or else trot out one of their sad sacks of shinola like Joe Lieberman or Joe Biden to say, "We had some disagreements with the President's choice, but we're not obstructionists. It's time to move on in a spirit of bipartisanship. We wish Justice England all the best, and we're sure she'll be a credit to the bench. And we're looking forward to our next legislative challenge: the president's proposal to appoint his horse to the Senate. Although this innovative idea will certainly require some careful thought and thorough debate, I for one am pleased by Mr. Bush's generous gesture of allowing the Minority Leader to make the final determination of the new senator's unusual toilet arrangements. This is precisely the kind of consultation our Founding Fathers envisioned in the Constitution."
Or as the Emperor Tiberius once put it, after a session with the sycophantic jellyfish posing as Roman senators: "Men fit to be slaves."