« Don't Fear The Caliphate | The RCP Blog Home Page | CBS News Poll »

Background on the Senate Stunt

More on Harry Reid's stunt invoking Rule 21 to shut down the Senate yesterday. The Note offers differing perspective from Senate staffers as to the result of yesterday's dust up over "Phase 2" of the Senate Intel Committee's investigation:

GOP Staffer: "We're agreeing to do what we're already doing — but Democrats needed to spin a victory."

Dem Staffer: "Frist can't take a punch. Republicans prove [they have a] glass jaw."

Meanwhile, The WaPo's Chris Cillizza has gotten word from a Democratic leadership aide that "red-state senators have been quietly supportive of the Reid maneuver."

Cillizza also confirms something I posited the other day in the context of discussing whether the Dems would try to filibuster Judge Alito. I wrote:

"The Democrats feel Bush is weak and I suspect the red-staters up for re-election fear a confrontation with this president over a conservative judicial pick far less today than they did even six weeks ago."

Cillizza writes today:

A Senate Democratic strategist, who requested anonymity to speak frankly, said Bush's falling approval ratings nationwide make red-state Democrats less fearful of bucking the president than they had been in previous years.

"The White House's ability to intimidate red-state senators is significantly diminished," said the source. "In 44 states his approval rating is under 50 percent."

 We'll see if the red-staters end up bucking the president or their own party on Alito. Ben Nelson made some favorable comments about Alito this afternoon, but it's still early in the process. The Gang of 14 meets tomorrow.