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Monday, October 31, 2005

not a mind-blowing prediction

The Nuclear option will not be used. This is what the Senate has whips for: if the Dems filibuster when the Republicans have the votes to drop the "constitutional" bomb, the cloture vote will surely succeed. And if push comes to shove and the Republicans can't pull it off, the option will be tabled. Using or inviting the Nuclear option when you don't have the votes is a dominated strategy for either side.

The only case where the option will ever see daylight is if one side has a political incentive to lose. E.g., if the Democrats really want to paint the Republicans as strong-arming thugs, they might sacrifice the tactic for the P.R. advantage. Or, more cynically, if it ever looks like a Democrat is about to be elected President, they may sacrifice the P.R. for the tactical advantage.

For now, however, Alito is too temperate, and elections are too distant. For anything but conventional warfare, we'll have to wait for JRB's nom in '08.

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