Moving Ahead By Learning From The Recent Past
In the post-cloture vote disappointment many feel tonight, let me weigh in with a few thoughts in addition to the posts by djmoonbat and Pessimist below.
First, gotta love those AOL polls (as of 7:30 PM Pacific time):
1. How would you grade Bush's overall performance?
Total votes: 336,154
2. Is the state of the union better or worse since Bush has taken office?
The same: 8%
Total votes: 334,610
Second, as disappointing as the cloture vote turned out to be, keep in mind that there wouldn’t have been as good a result as this if it hadn’t been for many of you in blog-land. Simply put, there aren’t enough Democrats in the Senate to make it feasible for red-state Democrats who are up for election next year to be decisive with their votes. But don’t confuse what happened today with what will happen tomorrow. There are many in the Senate who feel that a nominee deserves an up or down vote, but will still vote against that nominee when the vote comes up. My guess is that there will be between 36 and 38 votes tomorrow against Alito, and that number will include several Republicans who will be offset by a half-dozen or so Democrats who are either from red states and up for election next year, or have been convinced by Alito that he isn’t as scary as many believe him to be. Kent Conrad
Byron Dorgan all but admitted this to Ed Schultz last week in explaining why he will vote for Alito tomorrow. Conrad Dorgan said he asked Alito point blank several key questions last week in a one-on-one meeting, and was satisfied enough with the answers he got that he will vote for Alito. , even though Dorgan is in no political danger from going against Alito. Now it could very well be that Alito lied to Conrad's Dorgan’s face, but if that is the case, then there will be those half-dozen or so Democrats and almost the entire GOP caucus responsible for what will happen to our rights and country in the coming years. And politically that will be untenable for many of them, after the center-left blogosphere spends the next several years beating their brains out over their votes.
Third, it is vitally important for Senate Democrats to get ready for Arlen Specter’s Judiciary Committee hearings next week on the NSA spying mess. I am not encouraged at how well the committee’s Democrats will do next week after seeing their performance in dealing with Alito, but a lot can be redeemed next week if these disappointing guardians of our country get into their A-games, and start by reading Glenn Greenwald’s suggested questions, and do the homework on this subject that they didn’t do on Alito.
Again, this was set up so that Bush could crow tomorrow night in the SOTU about getting Alito confirmed. Fine, let that be on the record tomorrow night so that when Alito starts to unravel the last 100 years of judicial history in this country in an effort to take this country back to the 18th century, his lies and the wild support of this president and the GOP for him to do so will be as indelibly etched upon the memory of voters as the “16 words” were back in 2003.
The goal is to get more Democrats elected this fall so that there won’t be any more Alitos. And we should thank the bloggers, the activists, and yes, John Kerry and Teddy Kennedy for stirring up at least some pressure for a filibuster while those of us in the online community saw clearly that the Joe Bidens, Pat Leahys, Joe Liebermans, and even the Barack Obamas aren’t ready or never will be ready to fight for this party or this country.
(Thanks to buck turgidson for the correction)