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Friday, January 27, 2006

Sam I Am, Sam I Am, I Do Not Like That Sam I Am
The sad truth is that Alito was confirmed pretty much from the moment that Harriet Miers was nominated. There's not a Republican in Washington who wouldn't have bet the farm that Sammy would take his seat at the right hand of the duck-hunter, ready and willing to rubber-stamp Dubya's most reaching and preposterous policies. This is the legacy wrought by a flaccid and deferential Democratic minority.

Kerry's call for a filibuster, as doomed outright as any Democratic initiative in the past five years, seems to me nothing more than an effort to pad his resumé for another futile run in 2008. To that I say "thanks for nothing, John. If you hadn't gone windsurfing and worn that dumb cleansuit, we wouldn't be facing any of this crap now."

I agree with JB in his assessment that the media will pummel the Democrats with this, probably right on through the elections later this year. And if by some miracle we retake the Senate, then every contested initiative thereafter will be framed as an opportunity for Repubs to show the Dems how a successful filibuster is done. Every successful Republican filibuster will result in a congratulatory media blitz about the strength of the unified minority against the controlling Democrats.

There's no way to paint this as anything but a goddamned disaster. If there is any silver lining, it's the hope that in a few years we can all muse nostalgically about those quaint civil rights we used to have back when there were three branches of government.

A few summary thoughts: Byrd can go jump in a lake and take his cherished Constitution pamphlet with him. For all of his tough talk against Frist in the past weeks about the right to filibuster, in the end Byrd did nothing but bend over and urge his fellow submissives to do the same. Landrieu is so ridiculously ineffective that she makes even Lieberman look like a Democrat.

Come to think of it, there is another silver lining. Most of the domesticated citizenry (left or right) is so hopelessly and proudly uninformed that Diana Ross is the only Supreme that they can name, so it's not like my conservative coworkers will be guffawing about this great victory. Instead, they'll watch breathlessly each week to see if Todd Bridges can lace his own skates without accidentally hanging himself.

In the past weeks I've read a number of blogs (and more than one posting forum) wherein Liberals have been urging one another to "take action" to stop Alito. Well, 100,000 electronic signatures on a petition do not a filibuster make, and in the end, our hopes were much as they were at the beginning—entirely in the hands of the Democrats who have succeeded in achieving failure more times than any minority party in recent memory.

Seriously. Have the Democrats accomplished anything that can be called a victory under Dubya? Anything at all? The best they can do is strip a provision out of one spending bill so that Repubs can reinsert it into a different and undefeatable piece of legislation.

Hell, I can live with that. We're the minority, so it's not like we can introduce sweeping reforms. But every so often I'd like to see one meaningful display of unified strength, successful or not.

And I'd prefer that the figurehead of that display not simply be servicing his own Presidential ambitions.

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