Occassional reflections of a moderate (hey at least I think I am)

Friday, June 17, 2005

More Filibuster talk

Yesterday I wrote about this Todd Zywicki post regarding political fall out from the filibuster compromise. I thought that a big chunk of it was political hackery. Today he revisits the subject and I think his piece today is much better.

He starts by acknowledging that “[S]ome have raised the fair point that some of the criticisms that I linked to in that post may actually be more about ideological views on votes on judges than the filibuster deal itself, especially for Democrats who signed onto the deal.” While this is not a criticism I leveled, it is well put because most of the editorial that he had linked to was devoted to Salazar’s vote on Justice Brown and only in passing to the role Salazar played in the filibuster compromise.

Prof. Zywicki today turns his attention to the political fall out for Sen. DeWine from Ohio. {As an aside, I think Pat DeWine was hurt more by his personal foibles and by a large field than he was by who his father is.} I was going to write about DeWine yesterday because I think that he would illustrate my point from yesterday that editorial writers do not necessarily indicate fairly whether a politician is in trouble “back home”. While I cannot find the editorials (because you have to pay for archives), my recollection is that both the Columbus Dispatch and Cleveland Plain-Dealer had favorable editorials regarding DeWine’s participation in the filibuster compromise. According to Prof. Zywicki’s logic from the piece I discussed yesterday, that would suggest that DeWine is not in trouble back home. This is not the case. I do believe he is in some trouble among his own party in Ohio.

That said, the result of that “trouble” will most likely be minimal. He may face a primary opponent. But if Arlen Specter (who is much more liberal than DeWine) can beat back a conservative primary opponent, I think DeWine should probably manage. Of course DeWine may be in trouble in the general election which in Ohio means that the Dems might only lose 56-43 in the senatorial race.

Two other points I wanted to make: First, worrying about how the filibuster compromise hurts the Dems is really pretty irrelevant (unless you are going to say that at least five of them are so hurt by it so as to vote with Republicans for cloture). Second, with regard to the Republicans (assuming it is only these 7 Senators) it only takes two of them to leave the group in order to blow up the deal. I think that Prof. Zywicki has identified the 2 most likely to flip both for ideological and political reasons.

(The Maine Senators, Chaffee and McCain are helped politically by it. Warner from VA, I believe, is part of the group because of his concerns about what the nuclear or constitutional(coughbullshitcough) option would do to the Senate.)


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