Unfortunately, no big
news today from the Sunday talk shows, so the Ashcrometer falls only a measly two points -- to a clean 75% chance of confirmation.
At the same time, all the Democratic Senators who were saying nice things about Ashcroft have fallen silent. And a number that have always been silent have all but decided to oppose him.
The Conventional Wisdom in Washington still leans overwhelmingly in Ashcroft's favor. But Ronnie White's testimony will throw a heavy dose of volatility and unpredictability into the mix. And polls have already shown real misgivings about Ashcroft's nomination. In other words, strong shifts in public opinion could change the calculus rapidly and dramatically.
The real question now is whether the Senate Democratic caucus is willing to kill Ashcroft's nomination with a filibuster (i.e., with forty votes).
Talking Points three Democratic senators to watch are Joe Lieberman, Max Cleland, and Evan Bayh. They'll tell the story.
More on why soon.