Democrats Punt Another One Away On Alito
This morning, Joe Biden says that confirmation hearings in the age of Bush may be pointless, because senators never learn anything from the nominee. Biden says that it would be better just to move straight ahead to a floor debate of the nominee's views and past writings. Sure Joe, if the GOP leadership would actually allow you more than ten minutes for such a debate. But they wouldn't, and that's the problem: Biden, for all his time in the Senate, still doesn't have a clue. Look in the mirror Joe, if you want to know why the hearings are indeed pointless.
In fact, as I read the coverage and the flailing by the Democratic members of the Judiciary Committee, I realize once again that the GOP is successful not only because they are organized, message-disciplined, and in ownership of the media, but also because the Democrats are morons.
I hear Kennedy make a big issue over the Concerned Alumni of Princeton from three decades ago, a typical Democratic mistake of focusing on something that a nominee can swat away somewhat easily as Alito did, instead of focusing on what the guy has actually written in his opinions, especially the ones that have been overturned by more reasonable and qualified jurists above him.
We knew that there were valid lines of attack with this guy:
-The limits of exectuive power;
-Roe, and also spousal consent;
-Vanguard, and his judgement;
-The rights of employees, the disabled, minorities;
-His environmental record; and
-Why the White House is still withholding 45 Reagan-era documents.
The image out there is one of Democrats spending too much time going after him for his Princeton time and making his wife cry after Lindsey Graham asked the staged question on whether or not Alito is a bigot. I wonder at what point in the murder-boarding session that Graham ran with Alito to prepare him for these hearings did they discuss how and when Martha-Anne Bomgardner (by the way, doesn't the GOP usually raise a fuss when a wife doesn't take her husband's name?) was to cry and walk to the back of the room? I would also ask if Ms. Bomgardner has ever shed a tear for the ten year-old girl her husband said it was OK to strip-search, or for the wives her husband said should be forced to at least notify if not gain consent from for an abortion, or for the minorities he has ruled against, or for the employees he has ruled against, or for the immigrants he has ruled against. You get the idea: we are not hearing enough about these real issues, and that is the problem with the Democrats.
Each Democrat on the committee is pursuing over and over again the same issues without any depth or ability to drill into the most important ones except superficially. Why wasn't it possible for Pat Leahy to meet with his peers weeks prior to these hearings and divvy up the workload, and assign each senator with a particular part of Alito's record to go after? Why wasn't Dianne Feinstein and her staff tasked with drawing up questions and a line of attack on Alito's spousal consent position on abortion? Why wasn't Durbin and his staff assigned the Vanguard line of attack? Why wasn't Biden given the line of attack on executive powers? Why didn't Leahy focus on pinning Alito down on Roe? Why wasn't Kohl assigned the strip-search case, and some of his other questionable rulings? And why wasn't one of them assigned to make a big deal of the Bush White House hiding the remaining documents?
You get my drift. This should have been tasked out so that each senator and their staff would have been the expert and "prosecutor" if you will on a different part of Alito's record, and each given a chance to pointedly focus on things of relevance, like his actual record, so that the hearing would serve to educate the media and the public on what the guy has actually written and been overturned on, rather than how the big bad Democrats made his wife cry on cue.
And it would also help if the Democrats had planned ahead to set up a media war room that would debunk the misstatements and lies told by the media about Alito's record, so that the media was held to immediate account for what they falsely reported and what the GOP senators were getting away with. But no war room was set up, nor were the Democrats on the committee deployed effectively to act as prosecutors, instead of a granstanding herd of wandering cats.
It could have been different if Dianne Feinstein had really cared about Alito's record on women, wives, and choice, or if Biden really cared about executive power, or if the rest of them had the brainpower and committment necessary to act as an effective team trying to get to the bottom of the man's record and to make the case that he is the wrong guy at this time. Instead, they each want to be stars, and Leahy has always been ineffective at this job.
And as a result, the pretext for a Democratic filibuster is now all the more weaker than it could have been.
We live in a time where the GOP's effectiveness is just as much a function of the ineptitude of their opponents as it is anything the GOP and the media does itself.