"Elder" Democrats in the Senate have rolled over in a last-minute compromise on the nuclear option, which the Republicans have renamed, in fine Orwellian fashion, the "constitutional option." You can read the text of the agreement below.
The Democrats believe that allowing three right-wing judges through the Senate without being able to exercise a filibuster is a compromise. And apparently, in return, there is no commitment from the Republicans not to move ahead with the other two egregious nominees either. The agreement, signed by 14 Democrats and Republicans, is limited only to the 109th Congress (that means through next year only!). And the Democrats agree to exercise the filibuster only in "extraordinary circumstances", whatever that means. Out of 200 plus nominees, the Democrats have sought to stop only 5 of Bush's nominees. Aren't those already "extraordinary circumstances?"
So, under this so-called compromise by "elders" of both parties, the Democrats cave on 3 out of 5 of those nominees, and it is left unclear what will actually happen to the remaining two. Tell me how this is a compromise.
So what's the result of this farce? The Republicans, simply by threatening to exercise the nuclear option, get most of their way, and they set a precedent for the future. Instead of sticking to their principles, calling the Republicans bluff, and letting them face the public consequences of actually behaving blatantly like totalitarians, the Democrats let them off the hook by surrendering to their strong-arm tactics. The Republicans get their way, and the Democrats look weak again.
And don't let the right-wing objections to this "compromise" fool you. Already the righteous right (Dobson, Robertson, and company) are condemning the agreement. It serves their interests to create an illusion of weak, compromising Republican leaders that have given in to Democrats. They wouldn't want to appear to gloat now would they?
READ THE NEW YORK TIMES STORY HERE
READ THE TEXT OF THE AGREEMENT HERE
For those who would like to delve deeper into the right-wing falsehood juggernaut about the filibuster issue, read this excellent summing up of the top ten lies about the nuclear option from Media Matters for America.