A Strategy That Works
Here's my quick reaction. The big problem I see is basing a compromise agreement the hard fact promise of not nuking the filibuster for a squishy fact of what is the definition of extreme. In that sense, the Dem's come out favorably, particularly since anyone of them or their cattle-herding fringe groups scream "Extremist!" at the drop of a tinfoil hat.Lo and behold here's a Mickey Kaus PPS about the same time early that morning.:
So, much depends on whether the Republicans bother to frame the agreement to offset this imbalance. If Owens, Brown and Pryor are getting a vote and, better, if they all get a thumbs up, then Repubs need to note the confirmation of mainstream nominees -- nominees that did not violate this agreement. This forces the Dem's to let the standard be moved for measuring what the definition of "extreme" is in the future. (Really, were there any on the list more 'extreme' to the Dems than Brown or Pryor?)
Anyway, this might allow for easier sailing for those remaining and, again for any of the current crop which might be on list for potential SC associate justice slots.
P.P.S.: One question is whether the Dems can yell "extraordinary" and filibuster if Bush in the future names to the Supreme Court one of the three people (Owen, Brown, Pryor) the Dem "moderates" have just agreed not to filibuster for lower federal courts. My reading of the deal is that they can, especially if they are able to latch onto something one of the three writes between now and then. But Republicans would find it easier to yell "bad faith" for these three than for other nominees. If the Democrats have just given Janice Rogers Brown a free pass to the Supreme Court, maybe the deal isn't as favorable to them as I think it is. ...Mr. Kaus is right that the Dems could yell, but really, the Dems have spent, what 3+ years, digging, arranging and outfitting a permanent foxhole in this battle. And, now they have abandoned it with their weapons but have left all the ammo for the Repubs to use and their standard to put a new flag on. On top of that, they have retreated to lower ground just so they can fight the most important battle with the worst of everything going for them and no standard to hold or flag to wave it from.
The folks in the Democratic Party have no strategists. Strident activists they are, but not strategists. While they were always in a weak position, they had a firm level ground to defend and a standard to rally to. If they had any chance of winning at any level, it was here.
The Repubs now have those, too, and opportunity to overrun any new Dem position at the time of their choosing, with a "moderate" nominee standard for three potential SCAJ's, the ammo of these folks were okay before and don't violate the Compromise Conventions and, finally, a "Constitutional Option" weapon in reserve if the fight gets downright dirty.
See this? It the world's smallest violin.