Neil Lewis, <$NoAd$>caught between the bam and the boozle in this just-released piece
Senator Arlen Specter of Pennsylvania, the Republican chairman of the committee, who has tried to embarrass both sides into forging a compromise, blamed both Democrats and his Republican colleagues for the situation.
"If the Democrats voted their conscience and the Republicans weren't bound by the party line straitjacket," he said, there would be no need to change the rules and precipitate the impending crisis.
He said that the "nuclear-constitutional option" was "the talk of the Senate floor" and that "people are talking about it with an intensity."
His "nuclear-constitutional" label for the rules change was a combination of both sides' terms. Democrats have called the rules change the "nuclear" option, emphasizing its destructive potential. Republicans have taken to calling it the "constitutional" option, stressing their assertion that it is in accord with the Constitution, which does not explicitly provide for the filibuster.
Calling this the "nuclear-constitutional option" would seem to raise certain nettlesome originalism issues unless the Founders were even more farsighted than some of us have been willing to imagine. And it's possible that Specter was trying for a subtle homage to Tim Russert's famous "private personal accounts
" walkaround. But on the face of it I can't tell who's more tied up in knots, Specter or Lewis.