In a bid to end the stalemate caused by his own stubborn intransigence, President Bush re-worked his FEC nominations and has apparently cut a new deal with Senate leadership that would allow for a separate vote on the divisive Hans Von Spakovsky nomination. This follows the prior reach out that Sen. Harry Reid did at the end of April to try and move things along to fill the multiple FEC vacancies in a presidential election year.

For those who need background on just why Mr. Von Spakovsky is so reviled among decent people who value a fair election, see here, here, here, here, here, here here, here, here and here for starters. Just a peek into the GOP’s odious voter suppression void.

Up until now, the Bush Administration — and their personal administration toady, Mitch McConnell, who has ties to Von Spakovsky himself — have vehemently prevented a separate vote on the controversial Mr. Von Spakovsky. But no longer.

Which makes me wonder a number of things. What does this mean for the federal election law-breaking McCain? Especially if Von Spakovsky doesn’t get through the process — which is much more likely on a separate vote? What does this mean in terms of a head count — Mitch McConnell is highly competitive and hates to lose at anything, so what is he promising to gain the votes he needs to foist a voter suppression tactic guru onto the FEC? And what, if anything, is the Democratic leadership doing to counter this?

Or, in the alternative, is Von Spakovsky still on the list as a sop to the wingnuttiest, knowing that his nomination will likely go down in a vote — but allowing the Bush Administration to save face by saying that they tried? And, if so, what has Von Spakovsky been promised as a pay off at the end of this for going through the public humilation motions and taking one for the team? Is Scooter about to get a new pal at the Hudson Institute or some other wingnut welfare shop? Inquiring minds and all that…

In the meantime, since we’re all more than aware of the shortcomings of various members of the Senate Rules Committee — which theoretically has jurisdiction over approval of the nominations and proceeds on them at this point, unless the deal is meant to bypass rules and go stright to the Senate floor for a vote (still working on details on this) — how about we make a few calls today? Every Senator could use a call.

And while you are on the phone asking Senators to say NO to Von Spakovsky, please also ask them to say NO to any compromise on telecom immunity or any weakening of American civil liberties under the Bill of Rights. Just say no to a FISA deal. For that matter, so could House members on the FISA issue. I’m hearing that the vote on a FISA deal may come next week — and that Steny’s had his staff working overtime to make it happen. Yes, Steny, we’re still watching

Here’s the Senate Rules Committee membership list, direct dial numbers, and some toll free ones as well:

Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) (202) 224-3841
Chairman

Robert Bennett (R-UT) (202) 224-5444
Ranking Member

Robert C. Byrd (D-WV) (202) 224-3954
Ted Stevens (R-AK) (202) 224-3004
Daniel K. Inouye (D-HI) (202) 224-3934
Mitch McConnell (R-KY) (202) 224-2541
Christopher J. Dodd (D-CT) (202) 224-2823
Thad Cochran (R-MS) (202) 224-5054
Charles E. Schumer (D-NY) (202) 224-6542
Kay Bailey Hutchison (R-TX) (202) 224-5922
Richard J. Durbin (D-IL) (202) 224-2152
C. Saxby Chambliss (R-GA) (202) 224-3521
E. Benjamin Nelson (D-NE) (202) 224-6551
Chuck Hagel (R-NE) (202) 224-4224
Harry Reid (D-NV) (202) 224-3542
Lamar Alexander (R-TN) (202) 224-4944
Patty Murray (D-WA) (202) 224-2621
John Ensign (R-NV) (202) 224-6244
Mark L. Pryor (D-AR) (202) 224-2353

Toll-free numbers to the switchboard (via katymine):

1 (800) 828 – 0498
1 (800) 459 – 1887
1 (800) 614 – 2803
1 (866) 340 – 9281
1 (866) 338 – 1015
1 (877) 851 – 6437