Liberal Oasis considers why the GOP is said to be waiting until next week to call a vote on the Senate floor debate begun today, and what message Democrats need to get out in the meantime:

If Republicans had the votes (and the will) to trigger the nuclear option, there’d be no reason to wait until next week. So either they don’t have the votes, or they don’t have the will. Assuming they don’t have the votes, the reason for starting the debate over the nominees (most likely the two women, Patricia Owen and Janice Brown) a week in advance is to try to shift public opinion by personalizing the issue. With poll after poll showing that Democrats are winning public opinion, it is extremely hard for Frist to tip those Senators on the fence. So having lost public opinion on the procedural argument, Frist last best hope is to try to win the argument over the judges themselves.

This should be a hard road for Frist as well, since Owen and Brown carry much ideological baggage. But Dems have not necessarily honed their messages regarding specific nominees, so it remains to be seen how that fight shapes up. It’s long past time for the Dem messaging to evolve, from the basic “abuse of power” theme to something that more clearly explains how these judges would harm average Americans…In short, the overarching messages must explain how these judges come out of an ideological movement beholden to two powerful interests: fat cat corporations and fringe fundamentalists. They seek to overrule Congress when it passes laws that would require corporations to protect our environment and the rights of workers. And they would impose the views of the fringe fundamentalists on the private matters of individuals, as they tried to do in the Terri Schiavo case.

Indeed, what’s at stake is the right of individual Americans to privacy and autonomy in their most intimate choices and the freedom of the American people to work through government for social justice for working Americans.

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