GOP Pulls Even:

After nearly six months of running behind Democrats in the public-relations fight over President Bush’s judicial nominees, Republicans are beginning to exude confidence, reports the Washington Times. “We were a little slower on the draw,” a GOP source told the Times. “But we’re there now–at parity with them in terms of mobilization and intensity and breadth and depth of coalition effort.”

Democrats anticipated a Senate showdown almost immediately after the election, prompting some conservatives–including Sen. Orrin Hatch (R.-Utah) in the pages of HUMAN EVENTS–to demand action on the “nuclear option” at the start of the 109th Congress. At the time, Majority Leader Bill Frist (R.-Tenn.) promised action in February, only to repeatedly put off the showdown due to poor message management and the reluctance of some Republican senators to support the move. Weekly conference calls are now taking place among conservative activists, and Frist’s office has kept pace with Democrats by sending out twice-daily e-mail messages on the judicial fight. Senate Majority Whip Mitch McConnell (R.-Ky.), meanwhile, has indicated he is confident the GOP has the votes to forbid judicial filibusters.