Thursday, May 12, 2005

Democratic Filibuster Count: 49 Hard Votes, 7 Soft Votes

I had the privilege this morning of participating in a telephonic briefing by Senator Ted Kennedy, with remarks by DNC Chair Howard Dean, put on by the Democratic National Committee from their DC offices.

I summarized the briefing here. The gist of it is that there is presently no compromise between Senate Republicans and Democrats to avoid a huge and messy confrontation when the Bill Frist-led Republicans attempt to overturn 224 years of the Senate tradition of checks & balances by killing the filibuster for judicial nominations.

Senator Kennedy said the Democrats have "49 solid votes" and "7 soft Republican votes," of which the Democrats need to secure 2 of those votes. . Kennedy expects the historical showdown to preserve US democracy as designed by our forefathers to occur in the middle of next week. Democrats currently hold 44 Senate seats.

Meanwhile, from Senate Democratic Leader Harry Reid, who has done a courageous and gutsy job as Senate Minority Leader in these unprecedented power-grab times....

Republican leaders in Washington are absolutely out of control. Instead of governing and doing the people's business, George Bush, Bill Frist and Tom Delay are on a quest for absolute power. Drunk with power, rewriting the rules is what the Republican Party has done best in recent years.

Tom Delay has done it in the House by changing ethics rules, and now Republicans are trying to do it in the Senate by dismantling vital checks against abuse of power. That's not how America works.

In our democracy, no single person and no single political party may impose extreme views on the nation. It's time to fight back.

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