January 31, 2006

by Reb Yudel
Thoughts on Alito's confirmation

Digby: The glass is half full:

So we only got 25 Senators to vote for a filibuster of a Supreme Court nominee who, if defeated, would be replaced by someone just as bad by a president in the pocket of his radical right wing. Well.

Do you know how many votes the Republicans managed to get when uber wingnut Antonin Scalia was confirmed? 98. And Democrats had a majority. We didn't have to even think about a filibuster. We couldn't defeat Clarence Thomas and we had a majority, a huge push from women's groups and a very dramatic set of hearings that went into the wee hours of the morning. It is very, very tough to do.

I didn't expect it to get more than 25 votes and I'm frankly stunned that we did as well as we did. Indeed, something very interesting happened that I haven't seen in more than a decade.

When it became clear that the vote was going against the filibuster, Diane Feinstein, a puddle of lukewarm water if there ever was one, decided to backtrack and play to the base instead of the right wing. That's new folks. Given an opportunity to make an easy vote, until now she and others like her (who are legion) would always default to the right to prove their "centrist" bonafides. That's the DLC model. When you have a free vote always use it to show that you aren't liberal. That's why she was against it originally --- a reflexive nod to being "reasonable."

Obama had to choke out his support for a filibuster, but he did it. A calculation was made that he needed to play to the base instead of the punditocrisy who believe that being "bold" is voting with the Republicans. Don't underestimate how much pressure there is to do that, especially for a guy like Obama who is running for King of the Purple. The whole presidential club, including Biden joined the chorus.
Nancy Goldstein, however, says this:

For five years now it's been "Please baby, baby, baby, please! I'm
sorry I was a no-show last time, but hey, that was because I was
working overtime to save up to do something extra special for next
time, which is the really big event - right, baby?"

Last April, when the Democrats backed away from filibustering
extremist appeals court nominees, it was, "Don't you fret, baby. We're
not going to go to the mat over small fry like Owen, Pryor, and Brown
because we're saving the filibuster for the big one - you know, the Supreme Court, baby."
Months later, Democrats folded rather than fight John Roberts,
the young-ish yes man with a penchant for executive privilege and a
wife who used to head an anti-choice organization. After all, they
said, they needed to save their energy, and the filibuster, for the next Supreme Court nominee, who would undoubtedly be worse.

Well, baby, the moment of truth has arrived. It's Alito-time, and the
lyin'-ass boyfriends are backpedaling again. Why aren't they going to
raise a ruckus this time? Aw, baby... the filibuster is just so darned
hard to use with only 45 senators! And what's the point of trying to do anything until we've recaptured the Senate or the White House?

Who's right? Personally, all I know is that Rav Kook would look at an empty glass and see its potential to overlow with Divine light....

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