The Deal and the Danger
I suppose it's a good sign that Pharisees like James Dobson are angry, and that groups like the People for the American Way are cautiously optimistic.
On the plus side, the deal expressly rejects Frist's interpretation of the Constitution as outlawing the filibuster.
But I'm deeply concerned. The fine print scares me. The deal only allows for filibusters under "extraordinary circumstances." Yes, that is interpreted by each individual senator. But already at least one Republican is saying they back out on the deal if they think a filibuster is being done under less-than-extraordinary circumstances.
The problem is that the standard for "extraordinary" is being set incredibly high because the nominees that are now being allowed a vote are the most extreme of the bunch: William Pryor, Priscilla Owen, and Janice Rogers Brown, all proponents to some extent of the dangerous Constitution in Exile philosophy.....which would reinstate pre-New Deal jurisprudence and strike down the federal minimum wage, workplace safety laws, environmental protection laws and - if taken to its logical extreme - the Civil Rights Act.
If radicals such as Brown don't count as an "extraordinary circumstance"...what does? If Brown is the standard, then nothing is an extraordinary circumstance.
The aftermath of this bargain remains to be seen and there is some consensus in the blogosphere that Frist and the right-wing Republicans lost, but I'm afraid this compromise is meaningless or even a Pyrrhic victory.