And Sen. Chuck Schumer, talking tough to the President about the Senate's advisory role, is helping it along, writes Roll Call's Mark Preston, who gets a great blind quote from a senior Democratic senator lamenting squishy principles for letting "three of the worst ones" go through.
The Washington Post's Michael Laris and Spencer Hsu compare the differing stances of Virginia's two Republican senators. LINK
The State reports that Sen. Lindsey Graham's office is buzzing as many constituents are calling up to share their disappointment with Graham's cooperative actions during the filibuster drama. "The calls won't quit, and they're almost all against Lindsey," state Republican Party chairman Katon Dawson said. Dawson counted more than 900 phone calls in 36 hours. LINK
The Wall Street Journal editorial board calls the compromise a "charade."
"Its main point is to shield the group of 14 from the consequences of having to cast difficult, public votes in a filibuster showdown. Thus they split the baby on the most pressing nominees, giving three of them a vote while rejecting two others on what seem to be entirely arbitrary grounds, so Members of both parties can claim victory."
Has Sen. Frist martyred himself for judges?
His appearance yesterday with President Bush and Justice Owen, and the channeling of conservative anger toward the Mod Squad, indicates that, at least in the short term, Republican grass top activists are willing to overlook his arguably unsuccessful stewardship of his party at a critical time. (See the Union Leader editorial cited above, though . . . )
In the official statements and in conversations yesterday with top movement conservative activists, Frist was spoken of sympathetically. The blogs blame the party, not him.
So while the loss may temporarily have engendered more trust in him by activist leaders (who, believe you us, have always been appreciate but a little wary of the doctor from Tennessee), it has not burnished his credential as a leader who gets results.
And when activists in late 2007 and early 2008 retrospectively consider the crop of candidates, that may matter more.
Notes Adam Nagourney in the New York Times: "In a sign of the complications Dr. Frist faces in trying to balance running the Senate as he prepares to run for president in 2008, two conservative Republican senators who are also talking about running immediately attacked the agreement. Dr. Frist, of Tennessee, had promised conservatives that he could pass the measure to prohibit Democrats from using filibusters to stop votes on judicial nominations." LINK
"At the same time, Mr. McCain's role in brokering the compromise may have severely ruptured his already strained relations with the party's conservative bloc, a group that is critical to winning the presidential nomination, conservatives and some of Mr. McCain's supporters said." LINK
"'He got himself out on a limb very early, which is an awkward position for a leader,' Scott Reed, a Republican consultant, said of Dr. Frist. 'McCain has a new title as a superleader of the Senate, because he was able to put together this coalition of 14 senators and move things forward."