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The Democratic Strategist

Political Strategy for a Permanent Democratic Majority

No Nukes Lobbyists

Whoever’s in charge of headline writing over at The Hill, the congressional insider tabloid, pulled off a minor masterpiece in today’s banner: “K Street Fears Nuclear Winter.” The accompanying article by Geoff Earle reports that business lobbyists are not exactly happy about Senate Republican threats to “go nuclear” with a procedural maneuver disallowing filibusters on judicial nominations, which Senate Democrats have promised to fight by making life a living hell for the GOPers by refusing to go along with routine Senate business.Sure, some business lobbies like the National Association of Manufacturers have pledged support for the GOP’s efforts to ram judicial nominees through the Senate, but this is really the Cultural Right’s fight. K Street potentates have been asking Senate Republican Leader Bill Frist to delay the confrontation on judges until later in the year, after they get some more goodies out of the Senate like the pending energy and highway bills.The longtime enforcer of conservative message discipline among the K Street crowd, our ol’ buddy Grover Norquist, told Earle the Gucci Shoes will eventually fall into line with the judge-bashing, bench-stacking Gospel.

Norquist said the lobbying community was “insufficiently” involved right now, “but they will be.” He noted that tort reform and the rulings handed down by state and federal judges were primary issues for buisiness groups.

Yeah, and not only that, but you better get in line if you want your own stuff from the administration and the Congress, right, Grover?Today’s edition of The Hill also features a gossipy item by Hans Nichols suggesting that Harry Reid and Nancy Pelosi are arguing over the right way to frame (damn! George Lakoff is ruining a perfectly good verb!) the upcoming “nuclear option” fight, with Reid favoring a direct and narrow pitch and Pelosi wanting it to be part of a broader message about GOP abuse of power in Washington. House and Senate prerogatives aside, there’s a legitimate difference of opinion on how to handle this fight. I’m sympathetic to Reid’s apparent belief that it will take a focused and sustained message effort to get the public to understand, much less care about, a fight over Senate rules. But Pelosi’s absolutely right that it should be part of a broader reform message about a runaway Congress and federal government under iron Republican control. Indeed, that’s a message Democrats should hammer away on from now until November of 2006, no matter which particular abuse the GOPers are indulging in on any particular day.

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