No one wants
to see the Ashcroft nomination go down more than Talking Points. But the interest groups
opposing Ashcroft need to wise up a bit. This battle may require more of the shiv than the sledgehammer. If the Bushies can spin this as a gaggle of "liberal special interest groups" beating up on John Ashcroft then he almost certainly pulls through. On the other hand, if senators are carrying the water, then maybe he doesn't.
Unfortunately, what I am hearing is that the interest groups spearheading the fight have not opened up good lines of communication with the middle-of-the-road and moderate Democratic senators they're going to need to pull this thing off.
Am I saying they should back off? Of course not. Just that they need to handle it with a bit more finesse.
P.S. I had assumed that the Democrats would not be willing to win this with a filibuster, i.e. with 40 votes instead of 50. But now I'm hearing that that option may not be off the table after all.
P.P.S. Let's keep an eye on where freshman Senator Lincoln Chaffee of Rhode Island comes down on Ashcroft -- more on this later.
P.P.P.S. Which Democratic Senator (not widely identified with the interest groups opposing the Ashcroft nomination) is going to step forward and take point on the nomination?
P.P.P.P.S. One well-known moderate Dem may be getting ready to get out in front on the Gale Norton nominaton.
Phew! All Done.