SO, WHO WON?
I would say that it's an even split in the battle of the "nuclear option" on the filibuster. Sen. Bill Frist, like a wounded animal that one knows needs to have another bullet put in him or the animal goes looney with pain and does more damage, is still threatening something that will further weaken the GOP and make them extend to the point that Rev. Sun Hyun Moon begins to look like a common-sense minister.
Sen. Reid offered compromises, which, in hindsight, any Majority Leader worth his salt, would have accepted, if for nothing else than to SAVE FACE. At first, those of us who still claim Democratic affiliation, went nuts, and demanded that Reid take off the gloves and clock Frist. Little did we know, by manuevering the way he did, and facilitating party loyalty, Reid proceeded clock Frist, by doing exactly what he did: back Frist into a corner to the point that he had no choice but to put his hands on the chicken switch of the Constitution and threaten to blow Capitol Hill to Hell and beyond (if there is such a thing).
I certainly hope Sen. Reid decides he wants higher office. One can dream, but we need more Harry Reids in Washington. And even though I saw the usual DLC suspects at the compromise table, perhaps they weren't acting as if they wanted to be true Republithugs, but had an honest concern for the preservation of constitutional principles. If you have read this blog, you know how I feel about the DLC - to give them props means I'm willing to overlook how many times they have given away what's left in the store to the Republicans and received nothing in return, except a desire to bash fellow Democrats and try to feel good about it.
Many senior statesmen in the GOP (Lott, Warner, McCain, et al) remember when they were the minority party. Their past sins came back to bite them in the collective butt. And they knew that they couldn't wreak half the havoc they did without parliamentary procceses, like the filibuster. One senator actually said, "There will be a day when we're the minority party again" and he's right, because that's the way most election cycles operate (except when stolen or maniputated).
On the other hand, I don't like the fact that the three worst jurists that could be dug up (Brown, Owen and Pryor) are going to actually get a damned vote now. Maybe they will embarass themselves with judicial rulings to the point they effectively shoot their chances for advancement to the Supreme Court in the foot, or better yet, facilitate impeachment proceedings to have them removed for straight up incompetence as a result of relying upon their personal ideologies instead of established precedent or constitutional law.
The whole of this compromise is largely dependant on the Republicans keeping their word. We know that the Democrats involved will. But I'm waiting for the "weakest link" in the seven Republicans who willingly consented to being walking targets for whack jobs like James Dobson, to break rank and break their word at the first convenient opportunity. Today, Dobson's so pissed, watch him challenge McCain for the Republican nomination (sort of a "damn, if you want something done, do it yourself" attitude) in 2008. I say McCain, because Frist is effectively toasted, but will need to save face (plus he doesn't have a biopic coming out celebrating his heroism during Vietnam coming out on the A & E channel like McCain does), and thereby affect the Senate race in Tennessee, because once it's dawned on him that for all the prostitution to the Religious Right that he did, Sen. Frist is not going to be the Republican nominee. You read it here first.
In fact, I will not be surprised if he's being told by Ken Mehlmanto step down, and not consider running for the nomination in 2008 at this very moment. Jeb or Laura is being groomed to replace him. So, driven by a desire to remain inside the Beltway, Frist is going to reniege on that promise not to seek re-election in 2006; run for re-election, and force the Financial Service Industry's poster boy (who is actually the Representative of the 9th District in Memphis) to reconsider running for Dr. Frist's seat, which thereby jacks up his political aspirations...
The GOP loves to abandon those who do the most selling out, at the times when those individuals need them the most. I expect no less for the good "I can diagnose a comatose patient by watching video" heart surgeon from Nashville. But first, he has to pay Satan (Dobson) what's owed to him, especially since he didn't deliver on the promise of one-party domination. For today, anyway.
So, who really won here? For today, America won. And that's the way it should always be.