“THE GOP’S FAVORITE DEMOCRAT,” by Ari Berman
The choice between two mutually exclusive possibilities.
A situation presenting such a choice.
Ari Berman’s April 18 “Outrage of the Day” was rife with humor but devoid of fact. The humor was manifested in Berman’s complete ignorance of the facts but what isn’t funny is how readily Berman dismisses Nebraska’s Senator Ben Nelson’s efforts to find a compromise on judicial nominations.
Contrary to Berman’s misinformed rage-ologue, Nelson is not doing the bidding of either political party in the Senate. In fact, as part of his campaign for the office he rejected the notion that political parties should come before doing what is right.
Berman correctly says conservative opposition to Frist on the “nuclear option” is rising. He failed to point out that one of the conservative critics of the plan to change the rules via party-line vote is Nelson.
Berman warns that “the support of one or two more centrist Democrats could resuscitate Frist’s plan at the very moment it is dying.” Nelson’s position is clear. He does not support the “nuclear option” and he doesn’t support the use of the filibuster to block ten judicial nominations.
Instead, Nelson is presenting an alternative (see definition above) that would require wide bipartisan support to come to fruition. His alternative would guarantee that judicial nominations would get votes in the Senate–no matter which party controlled the White House or the Senate. Nelson’s plan, unlike the nuclear option, would also address the committee methods of blocking nominations as occurred in the last Administration.
Since when is offering an alternative to a controversial plan considered a gesture of support?
Nelson believes that if Senators think the situation is dire enough to merit a temporary solution dubbed the “nuclear option” then they think it serious enough to merit a permanent rules change in the Senate. If Senators are serious about the rhetoric they are using, they should be trying to effect change the right way–by addressing the situation through a rules change that requires bipartisan support and would forever eliminate the partisanship that has marred the judicial nomination process.
Communications Director for Nebraska’s Senator Ben Nelson