November 04, 2002


MEET DEAN BARKLEY: Third-party-watcher Micah L. Sifry profiles the newly appointed Independent Senator from Minnesota for The American Prospect Online. (Congrats to the post-Chris Mooney TAP Online for running something worth reading, for once.) Sifry's prediction on what Barkley might mean for the Senate (and remember, it's unclear how long he'll be staying there):

If I had to guess, I'd say that Barkley isn't likely to align himself with either Trent Lott or Tom Daschle if control of the Senate, even temporarily, comes down to his vote. He'll caucus alone and vote his conscience. That will probably not be good news for any of the GOP's rightwing judicial nominees, or for special interests hoping to sneak more corporate welfare into the spending bills that have to be resolved during the coming lame duck session. Then again, Barkley's also not likely to roll over for organized labor on the homeland defense civil service issue, nor is he a free trade critic like Wellstone.
How to read the line about it "not being good news" for judges? The current struggle is over the fact that the judiciary comittee won't even allow Bush's judges to face a floor vote. If the Republicans control the Senate, that'll change, and many of the nominees-- who aren't nearly so "rightwing" as Sifry's editors at TAP might have us believe-- will be confirmed easily. If Barkley really cares about scuttling judicial nominees, he'll back the Democrats; if he's philosophically loose-constructionist, but also as fiercely independent as Sifry makes him sound, he may prefer to let the Republicans bring their nominees to the floor-- where he can vote against them.

Posted by John Tabin at November 4, 2002 09:21 PM