Sunday, May 29, 2005

Zealots survive, no kudos for Wisdom
article by Martin Nolan

May 29, Sunday, 2005

The winners of the great filibuster battle of 2005 are not Democrats or Republicans, nor elected officials at all. Single-issue bloggers and Googlers produced, directed and wrote the deadlock drama, which, despite Monday's face-saving truce, will continue.

Moderate coalitions are temporary. Zealots have permanent goals and methods.

In a Hollywood epic, the stars are knights and squires. In Washington's reality show, the gladiators are gnomes and trolls. They dominate the judicial nomination process. Toiling for single-issue lobbies, a posse of computer jockeys pursues the paper trails of would-be judges, monitoring the smallest dissent from an interest group's ideological stance.

After the filibuster argument, what did Americans learn? That today's Republican party is engaged in a power grab. But we knew that before the battle. We learned that the Democrats lack a majority. Outmaneuvered in the 2004 presidential election, they still lack skills and issues. We knew that before the battle, too. Thus, dissatisfaction continues to afflict both sides, which is fine with the lobbies who feed each party's frustrations with resentments, grudges, grievances and other fund-raising enticements.

If the Federalist Society, Planned Parenthood, Judicial Watch, the National Abortion Rights Action League, the National Rifle Association and People for the American Way could shout in unison, "Jump," a majority of the Senate would inquire, "How high?"


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