Frist says he has the votesCarol Platt Liebau points us to an article by Jack Kelly at Irish Pennants. Jack says that Senator Frist has told Tony Snow that he has the votes for the Constitutional/Byrd Option.
On seeing the way Frist's eyes were popping out of his head when he walked out of the Senate floor this afternoon after Reid's little stunt I had one thought. In about 10 minutes his entire staff is going to be making phone calls, impolite ones, and counting noses. While Republican Senate Caucus rules, unlike the Democrat ones, do not allow the leadership to remove posts on Senate Committees from colleagues who don't go along with the party line, the Majority Leader of the US Senate can still wield a number of pretty big sticks when he wants to. It is rarely done by Republicans but one might say that these are "extraodinary circumstances".
Jack's post was at 3:31pm EST. He points to a partial transcript on Powerline tagged 1:31 (I think CST). I don't know when the Tony Snow show spot was aired. It is entirely possible that this statement was made before Reid insulted him.
How far over the cliff are the radical left wingers going to take the Democratic Party before they decide that it is not real smart to play hardball when you are consistently losing national elections? Do the stop when the Republicans have 60 Senators? 65? Since JFK the Democrats have only won the Presidency with one guy (Carter doesn't count as a loaf of bread would have beaten Ford, Ford lost an election, Carter didn't win one). That guy, Bill Clinton, ran as a moderate, twice. He governed slightly farther left than he campaigned but he was not a radical left winger in the mold of Teddy "hiccup" Kennedy and Dick "my brain has been surgically removed" Durbin.
I believe in a two party system as it keeps the country in balance. Each party will have people leaning to their edges. They shouldn't be in charge at a national level. When you put the radicals in charge you marginalize the party nationally and in fairly short order the other party holds all the cards. Reid has not only overplayed his hand, he keeps counter-raising. If they don't get a clue the Republicans will hold the presidency, a supermajority in the House, and 60 Senators after the 2008 election. As much as I generally agree with the Republicans more than the Democrats it is always good to remember that power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely. The country works best when compromise is required.