1) I don’t want Republicans to use the filibuster, because I believe it is unconstitutional to filibuster judges — and even if it is constitutional, it so violates the spirit of the document and 214 years of tradition that I believe it is illegitimate.
2) The GOP will NEVER use the filibuster in such a way on judges. They never have done so before, so why would they start now?
3) McCain himself, bipartisan Hillary pal that he is, would NEVER support such a filibuster.
4) If the GOP had shown enough backbone to kill this misuse of the filibuster, they may have kept the Senate, and would not be in position in the first place to even consider misusing the filibuster.
5) The deal did NOT help other judges get confirmed. The pace of confirmations SLOWED considerably after the Gang of 14 deal. Indeed, more nominees got blocked after the deal, even with 55 GOP senators, than had been blocked before the deal, with only 51 GOP senators. Meanwhile, I flat-out don’t believe that Roberts or Alito would have been blocked absent the Gang deal. Moreover, remember that the two main choices were: Constitutional Option, or Gang. If people with the clout of McCain had openly and fully supported the constitutional option, the other wavering senators (or at least enough of them) would likely have fallen in line. And then the floodgates would have been opened for all reasonable nominees.
6) This is the area I have covered more closely than any other area in the federal government. I was apprised of all the ins and outs of what was going on. I knew about the constitutional option literally months before it was made public. What McCain etc did was such a knife in the back of judicial conservative activists that it basically killed the movement at the appellate level. There has only been one single worthwhile fight over appellate judges since the deal — that of Brett Kavanaugh, who was so close to Bush that the GOP Senate got the message he HAD to go through. Basically, ever since the Gang deal (the Gang bang, it should be called), the issue over judges that had been such a rallying point against the Left just faded away.
And McCain is personally more at fault for all of this than any other senator.