According to the L.A. Times, when Republicans reject Democrat offers to compromise on the filibuster, that shows an eagerness for confrontation on the part of Republicans. And when Democrats reject Republican offers to compromise, that shows an eagerness for confrontation on the part of . . . Republicans.
Yesterday, the paper ran an article about the Republican rejection of the Democrats’ silly non-starter of a compromise offer, which contemplated confirming three judges in return for an unlimited Democrat veto over all future Bush appointees. That laughable “offer” was portrayed yesterday as a genuine effort to compromise and avoid confrontation:
Senate Republicans on Tuesday rebuffed a Democratic overture aimed at ending a confrontation over federal judges, saying that any agreement must include a pledge not to filibuster future nominees — especially Supreme Court nominees.
(More on yesterday’s article in my post from yesterday.)
Today Bill Frist has made his own offer. It is an effective response to the left’s nonsensical claims that efforts to shut down the filibuster are an effort to shut down “debate.” To demonstrate the insincerity of that Democrat argument, Frist has offered Democrats 100 hours to debate judicial nominees, on condition that the nominees get an up-or-down vote at the end of the debate.
If the filibuster controversy were truly about debate, this compromise offer would be accepted.
Naturally, it was rejected.
The rejection shows clearly that this controversy isn’t about preserving the right to debate — it’s about blocking nominees, pure and simple. If this is a non-starter of an offer, that’s because one the Democrats’ prime arguments in favor of the filibuster — the need for robust debate in the Senate — is completely disingenuous.
So how is Frist’s compromise offer portrayed in the L.A. Times? Simple: Frist is choreographing a confrontation:
In a piece of parliamentary choreography that moves the Senate closer to confrontation, Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist (R-Tenn.) offered today to give Democrats 100 hours to debate judicial nominees on the condition that they permit a vote on each nominee at the end of the debate.
So: Republicans reject a Democrat compromise offer — that’s Republicans seeking confrontation. Democrats reject a Republican compromise offer — that’s still Republicans seeking confrontation.
To the L.A. Times, it doesn’t matter which side makes a compromise offer, which side rejects it, or what the actual merits of each offer might be. In each case, the theme is always the same: any confrontation is the Republicans’ fault.
P.S. Today’s Times story looks like a first draft. The extended entry will memorialize the content in case it changes.
Democrats Reject Frist’s Filibuster Deal
By Maura Reynolds, Times Staff Writer
WASHINGTON — In a piece of parliamentary choreography that moves the Senate closer to confrontation, Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist (R-Tenn.) offered today to give Democrats 100 hours to debate judicial nominees on the condition that they permit a vote on each nominee at the end of the debate.
Minority Leader Harry Reid immediately rejected the offer, but said he was willing to continue discussions.
“I don’t really like the proposal given, but I’m not going to throw it away,” Reid said.
Frist had long pledged to make a compromise offer, which has been widely expected as a final gesture before Republicans proceed with what has become known as the “nuclear option” — changing Senate rules to prohibit the use of the filibuster on judicial nominations.
“Sen. Reid and I have been talking almost every day on this issue. And I’m hopeful he’ll accept my offer as a solution,” Frist said on the Senate floor. “It may not be a perfect proposal for either side, but it’s the right proposal for America.”
Reid said the proposal violated his bottom line, which is that the filibuster — a tactic used by a minority of senators to block a vote by refusing to end debate — must remain intact.
“Thanks for the offer, but I think it was a big, wet kiss to the far right,” Reid said.
For his part, Frist made clear that his bottom line was that Democrats must not be able in the future to block votes on judicial nominees — especially nominees to the Supreme Court or appellate courts.
“Senators have a duty to vote up or down on judicial nominees. Confirm them or deny them — but give them all the courtesy of a vote,” Frist said.