Monday, January 30, 2006
Alito Filibuster Attempt
Here's my reaction. I have read PollingReport.com, and it appears that every poll is showing that more people want Alito confirmed than not. Even some Democrats do, as is shown in the CBS News/NY Times poll:
ALL adults 33%, Republicans 63%, Democrats 10%, Independents 31%
ALL adults 18%, Republicans 2%, Democrats 37%, Independents 13%
ALL Adults 49%, Republicans 35%, Democrats 53%, Independents 56%
The decided/undecided percentages above will correlate to a considerable degree with likely voters, so we can roughly read this as voting Republicans 9-1 in support, voting Independents approximately 3-1 in favor, and voting Democrats between 3-1 or 4-1 against. (Democrats get a high turnout from union drives and the like, and some of these voters aren't that politically aware. 53% of Democrats hadn't made up their minds.)
It's clear that the Democratic leadership didn't want to filibuster, but now the presidential hopefuls on the Dem side of the aisle are all falling into the filibuster camp. What's significant to me is that those who are potentially in the running for the Democratic nomination in 2008 seem to have decided that the group of Democrats passionately against Alito's nomination will control the nomination process in 2006 & 2008. Only 18 percent of all adults want him rejected. Only 37 percent of Democrats want him rejected. Some of that 37% probably don't want a filibuster, so you are looking at a non-majority group of Democrats forcing the entire party into a rather extreme position.
Senators are by design somewhat insulated from popular swings of opinion, so it is highly significant that several senators came out against the filibuster and then announced their support of it. That includes Clinton, Obama and Feinstein. Kerry clearly gained hugely with the filibuster fanatics by his support, and that seems to have pushed over a whole line of senatorial dominos.
We are not going to be getting someone like Mark Warner as the Democratic nominee in 2008. We are not going to be getting a centrist presidential candidate from the Democrats. I had thought that the most likely result in 2008 was a moderate Democratic president and a Republican-controlled House and Senate, but obviously that's not going to happen.
WaPo argues that it's the darned internet, but Kerry started this, and he's clearly jockeying for the nomination in 2008. So how does that translate to the malign influence of the internet and leftish bloggers? I think they are verging on psychosis by casting it this way:
Democrats are getting an early glimpse of an intraparty rift that could complicate efforts to win back the White House: fiery liberals raising their voices on Web sites and in interest groups vs. elected officials trying to appeal to a much broader audience.Is it me, or is WaPo coldly disapproving of the fact that the "fiery liberals" have ideas and passionately want the Democratic party to be about something? Here is where the conscious non-policy of the Democratic national leadership really hurts the party. There has been little for these folks to support, and in their way, they see the filibuster as a necessary demonstration that the Democratic party still has a purpose. Is it truly fair to blame them for that desire? While Pelosi, Reid and Dean have seemed to be content to criticize Bush and Republicans, the "fiery liberals" want some sort of positive stand and agenda. They are not content with the status quo.
These activists -- spearheaded by battle-ready bloggers and making their influence felt through relentless e-mail campaigns -- have denounced what they regard as a flaccid Democratic response to the Supreme Court fight, President Bush's upcoming State of the Union address and the Iraq war. In every case, they have portrayed party leaders as gutless sellouts
The same people are now strongly united against Hillary Clinton's candidacy on the grounds that to them, she doesn't seem to stand for anything. She seems, as Ann Althouse puts it, lame. I can't disagree with them or with Ann.
They are just thinking that Alito won't legislate from the bench.