Postponing confrontation can create more problems than it solves

Tony Blankley calls it A Senate Regency (Washington Times 05ma25).

What shall we call these 14 senators? Trustees, Regents, Governing Board Members, Blessed Ones, Lord Protectors, Proconsuls, Oligarchs, Cabalists, Conspirators, Usurpers? For the moment it doesn’t matter. History will give them their final designation. Certainly they see themselves as saviors of the Senate traditions. (God save us from self-appointed saviors. It always ends in tears.)

Others have thoughts about what the cabal of Senators did and the implications of their actions, too. Captain Ed thinks confrontation is avoided, for now, and back room politics comes to precedence over open debate.

The centrists did no more than punt, and they stopped one of the more important debates that the Senate faced in years just to gain themselves the satisfaction of returning to secret handshake deals in back rooms rather than publicly representing their constituents.[Captain Ed]

And one common theme is whether or not to trust the Democrats to honor their committments. Recent behavior does not provide encouragement for this belief.

It is and will remain infuriating that The Seven entered into a pact with the Democrats to thwart the will of the majority of the United States, but keep in mind that what is infuriating is not the compromise, but the fact that the Democrats will neither reciprocate nor appreciate what The Seven have done. We can rely upon our Democrats to still use over-heated rhetoric when speaking of Republicans in general and the President in particular; we can further rely upon them to obstruct every iota of the Republican agenda. The compromisers don’t seem to understand that they are not dealing with a rational Party with clearly thought-out positions, but desperate fanatics who see power slipping forever from their hands.[Blogs for Bush]

If the Democrats fall back into the usual behaviors, it could have unpleasant outcomes.

Further, agreeing to this “compromise” weakens the Republicans’ hand in the longer run. If the Democrats fail to honor the spirit of this agreement–and they surely will–the GOP will have a much harder time falling back on the “up or down vote” argument. They’ve demonstrated rather clearly that they were not fighting for a principle but rather seeking to achieve a specific political outcome. It’s going to be rather difficult to go back.[Outside the Beltway]

Dr. Sowell describes the issue that plagues the Republicans but also demonstrates the bigotted nature of their opposition.

Although the Republicans have more votes in the Senate, and also have Vice-President Cheney to cast the deciding vote in case of a tie, the Democrats stuck together. None of them went around wringing their hands in the media about how hard it would be for them to support their party if it came to a vote.

Unity often beats disunity, even when the side that is unified is smaller.

There are those who take heart that this breaks, at least for the moment, the Democrat’s solid voting block in the Senate that has bollixed many things for the last several years. This brings each Democrat Party senator to express loyalty to the voters rather than subjugation to the political party, for a while. Republicans haven’t had such party discipline, which is one reason why their ability to express power as a block is limited (as in this example).

A proper concern goes back to the debate about political parties. With two major parties, you can have am either/or in voting. With more than two parties, negotiations and voting blocks start to have significant power and decisions are made with pluralities formed out of bargaining or convenience. The new cabal of 14 senators represents a significant third party in US Senate politics that has initiated itself by asserting its power over the will of the majority and the primary established political blocks.

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