Did the Democrats win or lose? Readers debate the filibuster compromise.

By Salon Staff

Published May 25, 2005 9:25PM (EDT)

[Read "Done Deal -- for Now," by Tim Grieve.]

I am deeply disgusted with the Democrats in the Senate and their so-called deal to preserve the filibuster. I can't see how this can be construed as anything but a total loss for the Democrats. They've caved in on at least two of the worst judicial candidates, they've given the Republicans the chance to look "reasonable," and they still have no way to stop the Republicans from pulling out the "nuclear option" again whenever they feel it's to their advantage.

I have said all along that this sort of deal was what Frist and the others were after: Rather than take away the filibuster, they've persuaded the Democrats to take it away from themselves, so the Republicans don't even have to pay the political costs of their totalitarianism.

-- Burns Cooper

It's clear that the 14 moderates who signed The Deal are now in control of future events. Frist is marginalized, as are the other radicals. The nuclear option is dead, perhaps forever, and so are naked power plays by Republicans to roll over the minority. That smells like victory to me.

-- Michael Sadler

Despite Grieve's skepticism, kudos is due to the "group of 14" for their bipartisan deal to table the nuclear option. The Senate must honor its own rules. Dr. Frist and the Republican leadership tried a power grab that would have required them to explicitly violate Senate rules. Article I, Section 5 of our Constitution grants the Senate complete control over how they "determine the Rules of its Proceedings." This deal upheld those principles and thwarted a power grab. Democracy won today.

-- Darren Hardy

If the seven "moderate" Democrats renege on their promises in a few weeks, will that remove Priscilla Owen from the bench? If the seven "moderate" Republicans renege on their promises, the "nuclear option" will explode.

This trade of concrete immediates for future nebulosity is a complete capitulation of "Democrats" to conservative interests. It is a betrayal. If they opposed Priscilla Owen on principle, where are their principles now?

The right is winning the culture war precisely because they have principles. They may not be principles you approve of, but they are there. The left has none.

Extracting concessions to maintain the status quo seems like one-sided victory to me.

-- David Stewart Zink

Call me crazy, but I'm trying to figure out how this is a "compromise." These horrifically partisan, right-wing judicial activists -- the very ones the Democrats were going to filibuster -- are let through, and the Democrats get... what, exactly? The right to filibuster later, maybe? Unless Bill Frist threatens the nuclear option again?

They caved. As usual, the Democrats caved, and now the country is going to have to suffer with justices Owen, Brown and Pryor. But at least we can rest easy in the knowledge that Sen. Lieberman feels that "the bipartisan center held." What a relief!

-- Douglas Moran

I don't know what the new compromise on judicial filibusters means, but I'm all for it. Any agreement which makes James Dobson cry like a baby can't be all bad. I hope to hear Jerry Falwell and Pat Robertson rending their garments and cursing God.

-- John Mize

Salon Staff

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