Apparently Tuesday’s whopping 3% landslide win for George Bush has gone straight to Stephen Bainbridge’s head. Not content just to insult libertarians, he’s decided to make Arlen Specter his personal whipping boy, apparently under the delusion that Specter would take being deprived of his (rightful, under Senate seniority traditions) chairmanship of the judiciary committee any way other than defecting to the Democrats, and probably taking the majority with him—Lincoln Chafee has already made noises about leaving the GOP caucus, and shunting Specter aside would be the handwriting on the wall for folks like Judd Gregg, Susan Collins, Olympia Snowe, and John McCain that the “big tent” is shrinking. If you think Judiciary is hard to get conservative judges through now, just wait until Pat Leahy or Ted Kennedy is running the show.
Joe Gandelman has more realistic thoughts on what’s likely to happen, while the quotes in Friday’s New York Times suggest Specter is unlikely to be pushed aside.
Update: Todd Zywicki apparently also doesn’t get that Specter won’t be the only Republican to defect if he doesn’t get the chairmanship. And citing a vote against Bork—given Bork’s increasing Gore-esque nuttiness over the past few years—doesn’t quite make a particuarly convincing case that a Democrat-led Senate is worth standing on some bogus principle of undying party loyalty.
Hugh Hewitt thinks the Bainbridge-Corner campaign to push Arlen Specter out of the judiciary chairmanship is a really bad idea. Perhaps if they won’t listen to me or Hei Lun of BTD, maybe they’ll listen to him (þ: Glenn Reynolds).
Update: Ok, so much for that idea. These guys at NRO really don’t get it, do they? Meanwhile, James Dobson has joined the pile-on (þ: How Appealing), while Michael Totten is unimpressed to say the least.
Both Stephen “Screw the big tent now we’ve won” Bainbridge and Begging To Differ’s in-house Atrios-substitute Kriston agree that the House GOP shouldn’t have changed the rules to allow Tom DeLay to stay majority leader (#2 in the House) if he’s indicted by a Texas grand jury. And there’s more agreement from James Joyner and Andrew Sullivan.
It seems to me that the dopes on The Corner should have expended as much effort against this crap as they spent (and still are spending, at least in the personage of the MoDo-esque K-Lo) riling up people to call Congress to demand that they boot Specter. But the word “DeLay” doesn’t even appear on the page. Amazing how that works…
Since I expressed my annoyance with the GOP for foolishly changing House caucus rules to shield leadership members under indictment, a decision intended to protect Majority Leader Tom DeLay from an alleged partisan witchhunt by a Texas prosecutor,* I’d be remiss if I didn’t praise them for recognizing their mistake and reversing the decision, albeit in response to a decade-overdue decision by the Democrats in the House to adopt stricter ethical standards for their leadership members as well.
As always, James Joyner has more.
Update: Somehow Jazz Shaw (trackback below) characterizes this post as expressing “nothing but praise” for the House GOP members; apparently terms like “belated,” “annoyance,” “foolish,” and “albeit” are overwhelming endorsements of the GOP, not to mention my previous assault on the “dopes” at the DeLay-enabling NRO for having nothing to say about this idiocy. I guess trying to be (ever so slightly) gracious is now tantamount to being a shill. And, yes, the Democrats deserved the shot for only changing their rules when it was to their political advantage, just as the GOP deserved the shot for only reversing its decision when voters expressed outrage toward their behavior.
As to the remaining rules change (dismissing ethics charges when there is a tied vote, instead of keeping them alive), my gut feeling is that its substantive impact will be minimal, but as a symbolic measure I tend to think it’s a stupid move on the part of the GOP.
* Incidentally, I’d be more likely to believe the charges against DeLay if the prosecutor in question, Ronnie Earle, hadn’t taken to the pages of the New York Times to whine about the rules change (þ: Prof. Bainbridge).
Tom DeLay just got his ass indicted, and while that’s a far cry from him getting convicted (the old phrase about most prosecutors being able to get a grand jury to indict a ham sandwich springs to mind), it’s still not promising for his future political prospects. Otherwise, what I said nearly nine months ago still applies, so I’m not going to belabor those points again.
þ: PoliBlog and Scipio; James Joyner has a roundup from around the ‘sphere.