Editore"s Note
Tilting at Windmills

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January 26, 2006
By: Kevin Drum

FILIBUSTER ALITO....I see that the New York Times is calling for a filibuster of Samuel Alito. Good for them.

Would this end up hurting Democrats? It might. And the end result would probably be the spectacle of Bill Frist and Dick Cheney ramming through the "nuclear option" to force debate to a close and install Alito on the Supreme Court regardless.

But in politics, if you only fight when you're sure of victory, you're never going to fight at all. Senate Dems blew the Judiciary Committee hearings as a chance to educate the country about Alito's radical views on presidential power, and a filibuster fight would give them a second chance. They should take it.

Kevin Drum 12:31 PM Permalink | Trackbacks | Comments (276)

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Liberal Oasis agrees: The Dems have to build up their credibility as fighters. If they vote NO, but don't filibuster, they'll look like pathetic wimps.

They're in a corner, but much better to go down swinging than reinforcing the wimp image once again.

The biggest message in the polls is that most people don't really care that much. Maybe they should, but they don't.

So this issue comes down to broader image: what do you want the party to look like? Wimps or Fighters?

Posted by: Samuel Knight on January 26, 2006 at 12:35 PM | PERMALINK

Agreed.

Posted by: JJF on January 26, 2006 at 12:36 PM | PERMALINK
And the end result would probably be the spectacle of Bill Frist and Dick Cheney ramming through the "nuclear option" to force debate to a close and install Alito on the Supreme Court regardless.

Given the administration's weak popularity, giving Republicans in elected positions -- particularly those that have to stand for reelection this year -- the opportunity to tie themselves to extraordinary partisan actions of the administration is not undesirable for the opposition.

Posted by: cmdicely on January 26, 2006 at 12:37 PM | PERMALINK

Yes, yes, yes, please filibuster.

Please do so loudly.

Then you'll see Republican pick-ups in Florida, as well as Maryland, Minnesota, and New Jersey.
West Virginia could well be in play, as well.

Please filibuster. Nothing would please Rove & Co. more.

Posted by: GOP on January 26, 2006 at 12:38 PM | PERMALINK

If we don't fight this nomination, we might as well decide we have no party. I suspect Karl Rove is praying that the Senate Democrats decide to duck and look weak again.

Posted by: pgl on January 26, 2006 at 12:40 PM | PERMALINK

Would this end up hurting Democrats?

*Snicker* Of course it would and only liberals think otherwise. The American people support the Terrorism Surveillance Program to fight the terrorists and the overturning of Roe v Wade and Griswold so that the unborn can be protected from murder. If you try to filibuster, this will only once again prove to the American people what a bunch of radical leftists are really running the Democratic Party as you watch Democrats lose in the 2006 election.

Posted by: Al on January 26, 2006 at 12:42 PM | PERMALINK

I have little hope that this will happen as they rolled over and played dead for Gonzales, Rice, and Roberts. But who gives a shit about "tactics" for success in 2006 at this point? If they had fought every piece of shit nominee and legislation proposed by either the White House or the Republicans in Congress there would have at least been the chance that the rest of the country, including the MSM, would have paid closer attention to the clusterfuck that is the Bush administration.

As someone pointed out recently, who in his or her right mind would want to be the president that follows Bush? Jesus, that would make the guy following the elephants in the circus parade look like the most fortunate man on Earth.

Posted by: Jeff II on January 26, 2006 at 12:42 PM | PERMALINK

I mist agree with GOP.
By all means filibuster.

Posted by: Fitz on January 26, 2006 at 12:43 PM | PERMALINK

GOP got it his point as I was typing. When someone from the GOP begs you to get into a fight - do so. Why? Because we know this GOP operatives say one thing and mean something else. Or is he assuming the good citizens of New Jersey want a theocracy to strip a woman's privacy rights? That is precisely what this Roe debate is about and I suspect most of the good citizens of New Jersey would be appalled at the American version of the Taliban, which is how I see these GOP efforts to overtune Roe.

Posted by: pgl on January 26, 2006 at 12:43 PM | PERMALINK

Note to self:

Dancing boy in short pants more scary to Democrats than crying middle aged woman.

Posted by: Rove on January 26, 2006 at 12:44 PM | PERMALINK

It's a loser, but sometimes you just have to prove you can take a beating.

The focus should be on the need to impeach Bush rather than allow him to expand his powers.

The little drunken snot, who never had a job in his life, demands an "up or down vote."

I say screw him. Let him demand until he turns purple.

I don't see why the senators are so goosey about this. Just stand here with a tube running down the inside of your trouser leg to a urine bag and read Cider House Rules into the record.

How tough could it be?

Posted by: Steve High on January 26, 2006 at 12:45 PM | PERMALINK

I actually really doubt that the repubs would pull off the nuclear option. They certainly aren't talking it up, and surely even a dope like Frist can count votes.

The nuclear option would be huge giveaway of the Senate's power all in one go. That has got to stick in a few Sentors craws even though they've been going along with the slow erosion.

Posted by: EmmaAnne on January 26, 2006 at 12:46 PM | PERMALINK

the policy should be "fight be default" - contest everything and take the offensive wherever you possibly can. the objectives of fighting battles you're unlikely to win include:

1) delaying the opposition's attempts to prosecute other fights successfully

2) creating friction in the opposition's internal decision-making processes and muddying the chain of command (very damaging for authoritarian regimes everywhere)

3) training our activists/operatives in political tactics, and preparing them to engage in campaigns of their own initiative. this is impossible without small battles.

for long enough democratic-leaning citizens have felt powerless and hopeless... but once you give em some hope - once you demonstrate that some things are indeed worth fighting for and make clear why this is one of those things - you'd be amazed to see how people respond.

Posted by: sayke on January 26, 2006 at 12:46 PM | PERMALINK

It could work -- so long as somebody locked up Biden, Byrd and Kennedy, and had the filibuster run by Senators elected after Reagan.

It isn't so much that the messengers are bad, as it is that nobody can see past them to the MESSAGE.

Filibusters used to be about matters of genuine national importance. The first one ever broken was by LaFollete, who was filibustering arming American merchant ships because, he predicted accurately, that would lead us into the First World War.

For all his sins, the filibuster record holder Strom Thurmond WAS genuinely fighting about a big issue, the eradication of white supremacy in the old South.

In the past couple decades, filibusters and Senate holds have become cheap currency.

So if we're gonna do this one, we have to do it RIGHT - and there is simply no way the Democratic old guard in the Senate is capable of that.

One message, summed up in a sentence.


.

Posted by: theAmericanist on January 26, 2006 at 12:47 PM | PERMALINK

Yes...indeed ...cal for Bush's impeachment
& filibuster Alito!!!!

One of my favorite handles of a conservative blogger over at RedState is "emprace the meltdown"

Iy's suddenly become very precient.

Posted by: Fitz on January 26, 2006 at 12:48 PM | PERMALINK

Then you'll see Republican pick-ups in Florida, as well as Maryland, Minnesota, and New Jersey.
West Virginia could well be in play, as well.Please filibuster. Nothing would please Rove & Co. more.
Posted by: GOP

Hardly. Abramoff, DeLay, Ney and others will be going on trail this Spring and Summer, and we may yet see additional indictments from Fitzgerald. While you may not see a shift to a Democractic majority in either house, the Republicans will have narrow majorities at best in both houses.

Posted by: Jeff II on January 26, 2006 at 12:49 PM | PERMALINK

Do you ever get the feeling Dems are kinda like curtains in a home? They help stop the light from entering and keep outsiders from seeing the mess everyone inside is either too lazy or too apathetic to clean up.

Posted by: steve duncan on January 26, 2006 at 12:52 PM | PERMALINK

Jo-Jo/GOP, we can't keep up with your sock-puppet personae.

Fitz, don't call people prescient when you can't spell the damn world. Sober up, take 3rd-grade English over again, and come back to us.

Agree this is worth fighting over; we won't win, but for cryin' out loud, we should be shouting from the rooftops about the attempted expansion of executive privilege and Alito's love of presidential fiat.

Posted by: shortstop on January 26, 2006 at 12:53 PM | PERMALINK

The C-Span tally has Alito a 53 declared vs 23 against.

Bo-ho (for me & GOP) No fillubuster that we can see.

Posted by: Fitz on January 26, 2006 at 12:56 PM | PERMALINK

The Dems should filibuster.

The Republicans won't be in the majority forever, especially with their current culture of corruption and incompetence.

If the Dems filibuster and the Repubs accept the loss of Alito, then one self-serving, unethical, lying-under-oath individual is not seated in the Supreme Court.

If the Dems filibuster and the Repubs pass the nuclear option, then judical filibusters are off the table when the Repubs are the minority party.

If the Dems filibuster and enough Repubs vote against the nuclear option, then Bush's maladministration is further weakened.

Seriously - what's the down side?

Posted by: Wapiti on January 26, 2006 at 12:57 PM | PERMALINK

Alito has the highest possible rating from the ABA. He enjoys high support and esteem from his colleagues, both Democratic and Republican. His views are clearly within the mainstream of conservative jurisprudence.

A fillibuster of this man would be a disaster for the Dems politically. But even worse, it would damage the judiciary.

Posted by: GOPGregory on January 26, 2006 at 12:58 PM | PERMALINK

Downside

Dems filibuster - Repubs go nuclear, we maintain our majority, Dems look hystarical, Alito gets on court, another SC slot opens up.. Dems cant filibuster, we win again.

Downside

Posted by: Fitz on January 26, 2006 at 1:00 PM | PERMALINK

anyone who thinks a filibuster over alito will help republicans in west virginia and florida -- two states i'm quite familiar with -- doesn't know what he's talking about. i don't think the mood in west virginia is too sympathetic to the gop after the events of the past month. by all means filibuster. the dems have far more to gain than lose by doing so.

Posted by: mudwall jackson on January 26, 2006 at 1:01 PM | PERMALINK

CNN says: Dems Won't Block Alito

--

Repubs go nuclear, we maintain our majority, Dems look hystarical

yeah, the Dems will look "hystarical". there's a reason it's called the "nuclear" option, ya know.

Posted by: cleek on January 26, 2006 at 1:02 PM | PERMALINK

Americans are ambivalent about Alito and most people don't even know his name. At worst a filibuster will show that Democrats have spine, connect Alito to the current executive power controversy, and increase his name recognition by 3%.

Fighting a president with a strongly held low approval rating will probably even push the Dems up a few percent.

I didn't think we had 41 votes, but God bless Reid if we do. I'd love to see them try the nuclear option in today's context of GOP power abuse.

If we don't have 41 it still shows a willingness to fight. Not all bad.

Posted by: ranaaurora on January 26, 2006 at 1:02 PM | PERMALINK

Today, The Oregonian ran an editorial on this issue. In their comment, they quoted Eleanor Clift who spoke recently at a Portland gathering for the anniversary of Roe v. Wade. Clift remarked, "Democrats are so afraid to lose the right to filibuster that they don't realize they've already lost it."

The editorial concluded with:
"Unfortunately, Senate Democrats as a group appear unwilling to turn their unhappy predictions into effective opposition. They have the votes to filibuster, but not the willingness to do so. They know if they try, Senate Republican leaders will change the rules and end the jucicial filibuster alogether.
In other words, the right to filibuster is a fig leaf. That's bad news for the Democrats, but it's worse news for Americans, who would prefer their Senate to be guided by rules and respect --not by dominance and fear."

Posted by: thethirdPaul on January 26, 2006 at 1:02 PM | PERMALINK

A fillibuster of this man would be a disaster for the Dems politically.

tell me, soothsayer, what model of crystal ball do you use ?

But even worse, it would damage the judiciary.

prove it

Posted by: cleek on January 26, 2006 at 1:03 PM | PERMALINK

Ok - filibuster (come on you spineless wimps) filibuster..
light up the phone banks, challenge anyone who dosent filibuster in the primaries!

filibuster, filibuster, filibuster...
(please)

Posted by: Fitz on January 26, 2006 at 1:05 PM | PERMALINK

The NY(untimely) Times could not have chosen a later date for this editorial except AFTER THE VOTE.

Posted by: judyo on January 26, 2006 at 1:07 PM | PERMALINK

lol - Fitz - so if the Dems give in this time, and another SC slot opens up, what has changed? Your logic is faulty, bub.

The current crop of Repubs in Washington are incompetent and corrupt. They don't have the moral character to clean up their act. The Repubs will not maintain the majority forever.

Posted by: Wapiti on January 26, 2006 at 1:07 PM | PERMALINK

rejecting as judge someone who thinks the government should be able to force women to carry babies to term, and who thinks that the president should be elevated to the role of authoritiarian commander-in-chief of all america (not just the armed forces during times of declared war), should be rejected as the banal flunky he is.

tactical and strategic reasons for fighting alito aside, the implications for our republic are so dire that filibustering him is a matter of national survival. letting him be confirmed is letting julius cross the rubicon.

Posted by: sayke on January 26, 2006 at 1:07 PM | PERMALINK

I say filibuster,and I say do it over Senate prerogative. Alito didn't give clear and direct answers to questions that Rehnquist or even Roberts did. The whole "stonewall" thing has got to end. We deserve to know the answers. And by the way, the right thinks they know his answers, too.

I would dearly love for my senator, Diane Feinstein to say "I will oppose any vote on this nomination until we receive the documents we subpoenaed, and until we get answers to the questions we asked while the canditate was under oath."

It is her due, and her right. Do you think Senators will want to go on record as saying Senate subpoena's don't have to be obeyed, and questions asked by Senators.

What I wish she had done was ask him if he, like Roberts, thought Roe was "settled law", like she did. And then when he "filibustered", I wish she had followed up with, "I'll take that as a no, then, you don't think Roe is settled law. Do you think that's a fair characterization?" And watch him sputter.

Of course, this is hindsight, and Monday-morning quarterbacking. So instead, I'll look forward to filibustering. I would love Senator Feinstein to take the podium in the Senate and state that the refusal to release documents, and the refusal to answer questions are part of an adminstration effort to make itself not answerable to any authority. She needs to remind the country that she was elected senator by the citizens of California, and they (including me) would really like to know these things about Alito.

Posted by: Doctor Jay on January 26, 2006 at 1:07 PM | PERMALINK

Wapit

Once the repubs go nuclear (to seat Alito) then no judicial filibusters are possible and majority vote wins (all judicial nominesss go to the floor)
Get it... bub

Posted by: Fitz on January 26, 2006 at 1:09 PM | PERMALINK

Democrats need to stop trying to figure out whether filibustering Alito would hurt them at the polls. To let him take O'Connor's seat on the Court would hurt the Court. It'd help Bush - he's already got lines in the SOTU about how he got Alito on the Court with bipartisan support of pro-life and unlimited executive power positions. It'd feed the "Democrats are weak" meme. It'd deprive them of credibility on the "We'll stop Bush from overreaching" meme. It'd deprive them of the central argument of any political campaign, which is, "We'll stick up for ourselves, so you can trust us to stick up for you."

It's the right thing to do. They can do it. They should. That's all they need to think and do. Anything else is distraction. Fight because you can; lose because you won't. Repeat as necessary.

Posted by: Chris on January 26, 2006 at 1:09 PM | PERMALINK

But in politics, if you only fight when you're sure of victory, you're never going to fight at all.

But why fight a fight you can only lose?

1. The Democrats don't have the party discipline to make the filibuster work, so how is it different than just voting no? Do they have the votes to maintain a filibuster? I doubt it. So Alito gets in.

2. If the Democrats did have sufficient votes to sustain a filibuster, the Repubs go nuclear and Alito gets in anyway.

3. If the Democrats maintain the filibuster and the Repubs don't go nuclear, then Bush in the spirit of harmony nominates a center of the road Republican to replace Alito? C'mon, you know what we'll get. And the Republican noise machine will drown out news about Abramoff, Delay and all the rest.

Fight when you have a chance to win.

Posted by: tomeck on January 26, 2006 at 1:10 PM | PERMALINK

Democrats need to stop trying to figure out whether filibustering Alito would hurt them at the polls. To let him take O'Connor's seat on the Court would hurt the Court. It'd help Bush - he's already got lines in the SOTU about how he got Alito on the Court with bipartisan support of pro-life and unlimited executive power positions. It'd feed the "Democrats are weak" meme. It'd deprive them of credibility on the "We'll stop Bush from overreaching" meme. It'd deprive them of the central argument of any political campaign, which is, "We'll stick up for ourselves, so you can trust us to stick up for you."

It's the right thing to do. They can do it. They should. That's all they need to think and do. Anything else is distraction. Fight because you can; lose because you won't. Repeat as necessary.

Posted by: Chris on January 26, 2006 at 1:12 PM | PERMALINK

ha, DSL bugged out for the dugout while I was trying to 'fess up to my own shameful hubris: "spell the damn world." Ugh. The confession was for all the literate posters. Fitz, I'm sure, never even noticed.

Posted by: shortstop on January 26, 2006 at 1:12 PM | PERMALINK

By the way, I'd like to thank GOP for all the great advice on political strategy he gives to us on this blog. And it's free, too!

Posted by: Doctor Jay on January 26, 2006 at 1:13 PM | PERMALINK

A simple no vote is basically a Clinton/Leiberman triangulation. A yes with a "but I don't like it" tacked on. Leiberman of all people should know that it doesn't work anymore.

Posted by: ranaaurora on January 26, 2006 at 1:13 PM | PERMALINK

This is not going to be an issue in elections almost a year from now. It just isn't, people don't vote based on the Supreme Court, and the few who do are partisans whose votes won't change one way or the other.

The wingnut morons here who are cheering for it should tell you all you need to know.
I would just filibuster long enough to prevent Alito from appearing at the SOTU speech, because it's always fun to watch president monkeyboy throw a hissyfit.

Posted by: Ringo on January 26, 2006 at 1:13 PM | PERMALINK

filibuster - do it

(i dont think you kids understand ...lawyers and judges are waching...what do you think they will think...?)

Posted by: Fitz on January 26, 2006 at 1:18 PM | PERMALINK

(sorry about the double post above)

One more reason to filibuster - even if it means a nuclear confrontation - even if it means losing it - is that for Bush/Frist to go nuclear over Alito would illuminate the Democratic argument about abuse of power and unlimited authority in the President in a way that we have not successfully made, ourselves, yet (would the peanut gallery please hold it down for a moment? thank you).

This is the political equivalent of the episode "Who Shot Mr. Burns" with Homer holding a gun on Mr. Burns, demanding, "Say I didn't shoot you!" - except it's Bush/Frist/Alito threatening to break the rules of the Senate to show that their power-grab (anti-filibuster, unitary executive, NSA spying, etc.) is legitimate. We could not get a more serendipitous set of circumstances if we *TRIED*. The story doesn't just write itself, it reinforces itself. I don't insist that the Senate Democrats get the reference, or the logic; just that they recognize an opportunity when it appears. Is that so hard to do?

Posted by: Chris on January 26, 2006 at 1:20 PM | PERMALINK

Once the repubs go nuclear (to seat Alito) then no judicial filibusters are possible and majority vote wins (all judicial nominesss go to the floor)
Get it... bub

yep, and then the Dems block and slow down every bit of Senate business after that(a good thing)...Repubs whine and cry and try to blame Dems, even though they're in the majority. Voters hold Republicans responsible because they're in charge and no one likes a whiner, they also vote on local issues. I guarantee Senator Man-on-Dog Santorum loses either way.
get it...bitch.

Posted by: haha on January 26, 2006 at 1:20 PM | PERMALINK

If they do filibuster and allow their arguments to decay into nothing more than character assassination, they will only hurt themselves.

Wasting everyone's time with meaningless filler wont achieve anything either.

This would be a good time to throw down the gauntlet by cataloging the incompetence, irresponsibilty, callousness, hypocracy, and economic treason of the right.

The Democratic Party could use this as an opportunity to decide what they believe. They should pull no punches with their allies or the Republicans. It would be great theater and might even capture the imagination of the American people. The image of people actually debating controversial(even within their own party) issues in a civilized rational manner in a non-contrived forum would almost be a first in American history.

It would be beneficial to our democracy, regardless of the consequences for the Democratic Party. The only rule would be 'no caning.'

Posted by: Michael7843853 G-O in 08! on January 26, 2006 at 1:22 PM | PERMALINK

Chris
Nice Simpsons strategy- implement that immediately?

Posted by: Fitz on January 26, 2006 at 1:24 PM | PERMALINK

I'm scared. Somebody may say something unkind. Voters may think we're not just Republicans in wimps clothing.

Posted by: DLC on January 26, 2006 at 1:24 PM | PERMALINK

"It'd feed the "Democrats are weak" meme. It'd deprive them of credibility on the "We'll stop Bush from overreaching" meme"

Maybe. I'm starting to think that the smart move for the Dems this year is to use the line Ronald Reagan used in the Bronx in 1980:

"I can't do a damn thing for you unless I'm elected".

What's wrong with a meme of "The GOP Congress gives Bush whatever he wants, they never disagree, he has never vetoed a bill. If you approve, vote GOP. If you want to hold Bush back, you have to give the Dems a Congressional majority".

Or, the short version:

"Together, we can stop Bush".

Posted by: Alderaan on January 26, 2006 at 1:25 PM | PERMALINK

Had your boys done anything close to a credible job during the committee non-grilling, you might have a chance of filibustering and not looking like complete fools.

Since your boys did such a pathetic job during the hearing...

Has the idea of a comprehensive plan occurred to any of you? Or is piecemeal the way to go?

Posted by: conspiracy nut on January 26, 2006 at 1:25 PM | PERMALINK

A filibuster is not really a loser. If the GOP uses the nuclear option, it just demonstrates an abuse of power--changing the rules to help them win.

No debate about Alito took place in the press. A filibuster would force that debate. Even if they can't sustain a filibuster indefinitely, Dems can say they just wanted to have a broader debate with the public since the hearings were so scripted. They can also tie this into the way the GOP likes to ram legislation down our throats without letting us debate. Even a "loss" can be turned into a winner if the Dems wanted it bad enough.

Posted by: gq on January 26, 2006 at 1:27 PM | PERMALINK

Is Canada the only country in the world where the pro-Bush politicians will actually gain ground this year?

Posted by: Frodo on January 26, 2006 at 1:27 PM | PERMALINK

His views are clearly within the mainstream of conservative jurisprudence.

I didn't realize that the concept of a Unitary Executive was "mainstream."

But then again, maybe the next Democratic president should have absolute control over the FCC so he could simply revoke Fox News' broadcast licenses for yellow journalism, or shut down Free Republic and RedState.org for undue criticism of the government and giving aid and comfort to our enemies.

But even worse, it would damage the judiciary.

Hmmm, I wonder how Abe Fortas and scores of Clinton judicial nominees feel about that? Why wasn't the judiciary damaged by their filibusters and secret holds?

Posted by: Windhorse on January 26, 2006 at 1:27 PM | PERMALINK

Straws, Straws, Quick grab them! Grab them ALL!!!!

Posted by: Fitz on January 26, 2006 at 1:28 PM | PERMALINK

Can someone explain better to me how it could hurt the Dems to fil?

Posted by: Gore/Obama '08 on January 26, 2006 at 1:33 PM | PERMALINK

I disagree with Tomeck's argument. Dems should filibuster. They should be able to get 41 votes against cloture. It doesn't have to be a straight party-line vote, but they can't let more than a couple Dems vote for cloture. Ben Nelson, okay. Tim Johnson? He's not up in '06; twist his arm harder. Mary Landrieu? Don't sell us out for an empty promise about New Orleans; Bush'll screw you anyway. And then campaign against you in '08 like he did in '02, or did you forget that fight? They might lose, but they'd go down fighting. Maybe they'll learn something this time. Maybe they'll impress some voters with their spine. At least we'd have an issue - abuse of power, stacking the courts - in a way that we don't now. This is, however, a prerequisite for the second step, so it's *possible* we wouldn't get any further. That'd suck, but at least we'd've tried.

Next, Dems should be willing to go nuclear, even if it looks like they'd lose. This should be a party line vote. Period. Anyone who can't understand the right of a substantial minority should be kicked out of the party for short-sightedness and disloyalty. What's worse than replacing O'Connor with Alito? What are they saving the nuclear option for, a case when Lindsay Graham says it's okay? Some weapon *that* would be. Make Republicans defend not just Bush, but breaking the rules of the Senate, to increase presidential power. That should put lie to the "moderate" Republicans' reputations in their blue states. A vote for the nuclear option is a vote for Bush is a vote for criminalizing abortion and unlimited presidential power. It's as simple as that.

I don't expect Bush to nominate someone like O'Connor. But I trust Harry Reid to find someone who's not a total raving nutball. And Bush won't respect Democrats or their alleged power until we show him we know what we're doing.

Posted by: Chris on January 26, 2006 at 1:33 PM | PERMALINK

Let him squeek through on all Republicans but Chafee and two Democrats. Having this royalist on the high court will greatly accelerate the adoption of a constitutional amendement on individual privacy.

PS: Chafee will loose the Republican primary to the Republican wing nut, guaranteeing the Democrats win that Senate seat.

PPS: The nuclear option requires formal rule changes according to the Senate Parliamentarian, and the Republicans don't have the votes to do it.

Posted by: SavageView on January 26, 2006 at 1:34 PM | PERMALINK

The Democrats absolutely need to filibuster Alito. I can't remember where I read it, but there's a Republican blog somewhere that says that Dems have nothing to lose and plenty to gain by doing it. For one thing, Chafee's seat in RI would get VERY hot...he's on the bubble now (being a "liberal" Republican in a Democratic state), and it would put him on the spot severely, probably give us a pickup in the Senate there.

And so what about the "nuclear option." If you don't use the filibuster because you're afraid they'll take it from you, then you really don't have the filibuster to begin with. Let them blow up the Senate like that if they want...I don't think they will, but if they do, they'll have to answer for it to the people. Plus, although I think overturning Roe v Wade would be a disaster for this country, if the Republicans use the nuclear option to install Alito and the Court does overturn Roe v. Wade, Republicans will pay for it at the polls for a very long time.

So, I don't see what there is to lose. It's not like acting like a bunch of wimps for the last few years has helped the Dems out very much anyway...try growing a pair and see what that does.

Posted by: aggro on January 26, 2006 at 1:34 PM | PERMALINK

And the end result would probably be the spectacle of Bill Frist and Dick Cheney ramming through the "nuclear option" to force debate to a close and install Alito on the Supreme Court regardless.

And, what the heck, Supreme Court justices can also be impeached... after 2006, of course. Our own nucular option, if you will.

Posted by: The Dad on January 26, 2006 at 1:37 PM | PERMALINK

try growing a pair and see what that does

A pair of what?

Posted by: gq on January 26, 2006 at 1:39 PM | PERMALINK

It appears that there are already enough votes on record for cloture, but by all means, keep talking.

Posted by: tbrosz on January 26, 2006 at 1:39 PM | PERMALINK

I vote for filibuster. Dems are getting boring again.

Posted by: Frank J. on January 26, 2006 at 1:40 PM | PERMALINK

Just say we gave Alito a hearing what did you on the righ give Harriet,Nothing you ran her off without even a hearing.

Posted by: pssst on January 26, 2006 at 1:41 PM | PERMALINK

I continue to read the following conventional wisdom:
"Would this end up hurting Democrats? It might."
--
How?
How would this hurt the Dems? By losing the two dozen moderate Republicans that didn't follow the issues and accidentally pulled the lever for a Democrat?

This is insanity. How many people are out there who won't vote because they are brainwashed into thinking "the Dems don't stand for anything".

Take a stand - damn it!!! The national Dem party is disgraceful. If they can't hold against this right wing nutter of a judge... why bother?

Posted by: Jay in Oregon on January 26, 2006 at 1:42 PM | PERMALINK

Dems should file for cloture on the nomination of Harriet Miers to the Supreme Court.

That could be amusing.

Posted by: Chris on January 26, 2006 at 1:43 PM | PERMALINK

The only noise out there is from that very small 36% who don't have a clue as to how bad this President really is.

Posted by: pssst on January 26, 2006 at 1:44 PM | PERMALINK

We can't stop this nomination, but we can do harm to Bush. Reid is in a tough spot because he can hardly afford to make the caucus even smaller. But our party--and I mean the big tent party--is getting the crap kicked out of it north and south, east and west. This is not about abortion. This is about tangling assholes with the GOP and hurting them every way possible.

True a filibuster could 'hurt' the Dems, but it's not like we're sitting on a sack of gold. I wish we DID have more to lose, but we don't.

Posted by: Steve High on January 26, 2006 at 1:49 PM | PERMALINK

the thirdpaul:
"Democrats are so afraid to lose the right to filibuster that they don't realize they've already lost it."
--

I also read this in the Oregonian. Good read. Filibuster - damn it!!! These all powerful Republicans are nothing but corrupt corporate shills. And this pReznut is the ultimate symbol of an ignorant, arrogant brain dead icon of what a rich family name backed by $$$ from those gaming the system.

As Molly Ivins just wrote... Enough already!

Posted by: Jay in Oregon on January 26, 2006 at 1:51 PM | PERMALINK

Dems are getting boring again.
Initially I wanted to go with "staying boring still", but then I remembered the hearing. Did you did catch Senator Chappaquick bloviating on Alito's morality? Did you catch Biden (D, Pluto) at all?

They've still got some laughs in them.

Posted by: conspiracy nut on January 26, 2006 at 1:54 PM | PERMALINK

Alito already despises the left. What effect would a filibuster have on his judicial "blindness" compared with all the dems but one or two voting no? Probably not a great deal. Option 1 = screwed. Option 2 = screwed. Is there anyway to get out of the screwed box?

If we had a democracy anymore I would really be concerned about its future.

Posted by: lou on January 26, 2006 at 1:55 PM | PERMALINK

They should take the risk of losing the right to filibuster, because the Republicans are likely to be in the minority in the near future.

Posted by: bob h on January 26, 2006 at 2:01 PM | PERMALINK

aggro,

I think (not 100% sure) it was one of the folks at polipundit suggesting a filibuster made sense because it would force Chaffee to take a hard vote and put him on the spot. However many others disagreed. Chaffee can easily support cloture saying this proud Italian-Amarican deserves an up or down vote. I believe RI has the largest percentage of Italians of any state. He can then still vote against Alito knowing Sam will still get the votes he needs easily.

Sen Tim Johnson of SD is the 2nd Dem to confirm he'll vote FOR. Frist can only 'allow' 6 GOP Senators to vote against and get Alito passed without using Cheney.

Polipundit is also reporting Frist has the votes to invoke cloture.

I can imagine what the left thinks it's accomplishing here. This is just stupid. If in fact Stevens is able to survive until a Democrat it elected they'll never be able to replace him wiht a liberal. There will never be another 96 - 0 vote for a justice, Now ideology is a disqualifying factor. Ruth Bader wouldn't make it out of committee today. This court will absolutely get more conservative because there won't be another liberal appointed.

Posted by: rdw on January 26, 2006 at 2:02 PM | PERMALINK

The various Republican commentators on this thread (tbrosz, GOP, conspiracy nut, etc.) are warning that a filibuster would backfire on the Democrats and further erode their power. What power? The US currently is a one-party state, with only a token minority party. The Democrats have no power to change the course of events in government. The filibuster may fail, but if they don't at least try, what is the point of being an opposition party?

The conservative commentators here clearly relish the idea of a one-party state. Life is so much simpler if there is only one side to every issue.

Posted by: Daryl McCullough on January 26, 2006 at 2:03 PM | PERMALINK

Kevin: a filibuster fight would give them a second chance. They should take it.

The vote by the full Senate gives them a second chance to take a dive. They will take it.

Posted by: SecularAnimist on January 26, 2006 at 2:05 PM | PERMALINK

But in politics, if you only fight when you're sure of victory, you're never going to fight at all.

So not true. LBJ, who politically could out maneuver anyone, never would get into battles that were impossible to win. A filibuster would be a waste of breath, not to mention effort, time, dignity, political capital, etc.

Posted by: Brendan on January 26, 2006 at 2:05 PM | PERMALINK

I don't think the present political landscape would tolerate the nuclear option. It's a bluff. Call it.

Posted by: JoeW on January 26, 2006 at 2:07 PM | PERMALINK

because the Republicans are likely to be in the minority in the near future.
Tradesports has the odds going up for the Repubs holding the Senate. Currently about 80%.

On Johnson though, odd that, a Dem Senator from SD not wanting to engage in obstructionism. Wonder why he decided that...

Posted by: conspiracy nut on January 26, 2006 at 2:09 PM | PERMALINK

"Senate Dems blew the Judiciary Committee hearings as a chance to educate the country about Alito's radical views on presidential power, and a filibuster fight would give them a second chance. "

Nonsense. They blew it. Period. There are no second chances.

Posted by: cecce on January 26, 2006 at 2:12 PM | PERMALINK

Some commentator above admitted his goal is 'to harm Bush."

That about sums up today's Democratic party. No ideas or solutions, nothing positive to offer, nothing but hatred of President Bush.

Posted by: GOPGregory on January 26, 2006 at 2:12 PM | PERMALINK

When your opponent has lied the nation into a war, has abused his power to illegally spy on American citizens, and has through indifference allowed thousands of Americans to be killed by terrorist action, a goal of merely harming his political standing is not just acceptable but is downright patriotic.

Posted by: true patriot on January 26, 2006 at 2:19 PM | PERMALINK

Fillibuster, Who the hell is going to remember this in 6 months when all these repugs will be going to trial.Just keep in mind Bush has only a 36% approval rating don't let the little noise machine get in your way,The american People are way smarter then the right gives them credit for.

Posted by: pssst on January 26, 2006 at 2:20 PM | PERMALINK

Sorry GOPGregory--hatred and violence is the Right's forte. We are contemptuous of Bush. He may be a good guy for a beer and a dirty joke or two, but not to lead a world-historic nation.

Posted by: Paul Ryan on January 26, 2006 at 2:20 PM | PERMALINK

rdw is exactly right: "I can imagine what the left thinks it's accomplishing here. This is just stupid. If in fact Stevens is able to survive until a Democrat it elected they'll never be able to replace him wiht a liberal. There will never be another 96 - 0 vote for a justice, Now ideology is a disqualifying factor. Ruth Bader wouldn't make it out of committee today. This court will absolutely get more conservative because there won't be another liberal appointed. "

That pretty much nails it, doesn't it. The Senate, you see, lefties, is composed of two Senators per state. Look at the map. There's a LOT more Rep states than Dem states, and would have been, even if Kerry (or Gore) had won. So, almost regardless of who has the WH, in the average year over the next couple of decades (probably) the Senate will be majority Republican. Under the brilliant leadership of Chuck (what? a camera? where???) Schumer, Dems have accomplished one thing and might soon accomplish another: making ideology a key litmus test for ALL future nominees (whether from a Rep or Dem president) and making the confirmation a simple majority process.

Now, with the senate being elected the way it is, who do you think gains from these changes?

Posted by: cecce on January 26, 2006 at 2:23 PM | PERMALINK

Because a Clinton hater can spot a Bush hater from a mile away.

Posted by: pssst on January 26, 2006 at 2:24 PM | PERMALINK

And let's not put too much money on Stevens surviving the next couple of years. What is he now, 95?

Posted by: GBH on January 26, 2006 at 2:27 PM | PERMALINK

The Honorable Judge Stevens is 85

Born April 20, 1920 in Chicago, Illinois

Posted by: conspiracy nut on January 26, 2006 at 2:31 PM | PERMALINK

I guess you folks don't envisage a Democratic president in the future who would make nominations to the Supreme Court. As Senator Kyl said the other day, you are setting the standard. Ideology counts. What goes around, comes around.

Next go around, instead of voting to confirm judicially qualified but ideologically unacceptable nominees, as Republicans did with President Clinton's nominees, Republicans may take your approach. They will vote against nominees on the basis of their ideology, and, if in the minority, filibuster.

Don't cry that it's unfair or unconstitutional, as you undoubtedly will. You set the standard. My own view is that the Republicans did the right thing with President Clinton's nominees. Judicial qualifications, not ideology should be the test whether the president is a Democrat or a Republican.

Democrats need to focus on winning elections with programs that answer real American concerns, then they can appoint Supreme Court justices they like.

Posted by: Abu El Banat on January 26, 2006 at 2:37 PM | PERMALINK

If the Democrats filibuster, the Republicans will use the nuclear option. All of your arguments about how the Democrats need to put up a fight on Alito also apply two-fold on the Republicans not allowing a filibuster to succeed.

I am not saying that the Republicans won't pay a price for using the nuclear option, just that the price won't be as high as allowing the filibuster to succeed. The Republican base is adamant on this issue- "crush the filibuster or say goodbye to our votes- we would rather stay home."

Posted by: Yancey Ward on January 26, 2006 at 2:38 PM | PERMALINK

One the one hand, aside from the whole nuclear scenario, is that the Repubs will just fillabuster the next Dem SC nominee, whenever that is. And I'd had to get into a game of tit-for-tat over SC justices. On the other hand, they'll probably try to fillabuster the next Dem nominee anyway, so it doesn't really matter.

I'm mighty certain that liberals can't count on the media to effectively communicate the ins-and-outs of this battle or the complex nature of the nuclear option scenario. And I don't think the Dems have proven they themselves can win the public over on an issue like this. So overall, I think its a bad idea.

The Dems do need to work very, very hard at finding a way to get their message across to John Q Public without the help of the punditry, because they're just gonna keep getting hammered until they do. Part of what they need to start doing is, of course, taking on the occasional battle, but the other part is finding a way to do it without looking like chickens running with their heads cut off.

Posted by: Royko on January 26, 2006 at 2:40 PM | PERMALINK

Dems have accomplished one thing and might soon accomplish another: making ideology a key litmus test for ALL future nominees

This started at least as early as 1968 with the Republican filibuster of Abe Fortas for Chief Justice simply because he was considered a liberal judge.

Read more please.

Posted by: Windhorse on January 26, 2006 at 2:40 PM | PERMALINK

You people think to much.

Posted by: pssst on January 26, 2006 at 2:40 PM | PERMALINK

Abu El Banat: I guess you folks don't envisage a Democratic president in the future who would make nominations to the Supreme Court.

There aren't going to be any Democratic presidents in the future. The Republicans blatantly stole the 2000 and 2004 presidential elections and they will continue to do so.

Posted by: SecularAnimist on January 26, 2006 at 2:41 PM | PERMALINK

And yes, I can't spell filibuster. :D

Posted by: Royko on January 26, 2006 at 2:43 PM | PERMALINK

Look at the map. There's a LOT more Rep states than Dem states

you'll kindly link to the law that guarantees it stays that way.

Dems have accomplished one thing and might soon accomplish another: making ideology a key litmus test for ALL future nominees (whether from a Rep or Dem president) and making the confirmation a simple majority process.

ah yes, the GOP mantra: it's always someone else's fault.

Posted by: cleek on January 26, 2006 at 2:43 PM | PERMALINK

what do we have to loose, we've already lost everything including our dignity. In the final equation, it won't matter, Alito's in, but at least, as Kevin suggests, we'll alert the country to what Alito is about and that might help fence sitters in the voting booth come November.

Of course, the GOP is licking its chops, hoping we F Alito. We will be cruxified as obstructionists and caring more about abortion then terrorists.

But we have to wake up the women out there about what is about to happen to their right choose, and wake up the nation about who is about to become a real King George.

Posted by: the fake Fake Al on January 26, 2006 at 2:44 PM | PERMALINK

Democratic Sen. Johnson to Back Alito

Yep.

Sen. Johnson might have to face Gov. Mike Rounds in 08. And Hillary wont clear 40% in South Dakota.

Plus, Sen. Johnson no longer can rely on dead Sioux voting for him multiple times, in multiple precincts. That train already left the station.

Just ask Tom . . . Tom D . . . Tom Dash . . . Tom D . . .

This nomination cannot be stopped. The Democrats will again play obstructionists along with weak on security.

Posted by: rdw on January 26, 2006 at 2:45 PM | PERMALINK

ceccce - pretty much nailed it.
Thems the cold hard facts.
And any filibuster makes it that more ugly for the dems.


This is just there last minute whippering.
They blew the wad with Bork, made further spectacles of themselves with Thomas.

If they filubustered Alito No-one would ever listen to them again.

Posted by: Fitz on January 26, 2006 at 2:49 PM | PERMALINK

This started at least as early as 1968 with the Republican filibuster of Abe Fortas for Chief Justice simply because he was considered a liberal judge.
You guys just make this shit up as you go, don't you?

When the Judiciary Committee revealed that Fortas received a privately funded stipend, equivalent to 40 percent of his Court salary, to teach an American University summer course, Dirksen and others withdrew their support. [source]
And because Google is so informative
At that time, 67 votes were needed to stop debate (it is now 60). The vote was 45-43, with 10 Republicans and 35 Democrats voting for cloture and 24 Republicans and 19 Democrats voting against cloture.
Of course, that was back when there was actually such a thing as a conservative Democrat.

Posted by: conspiracy nut on January 26, 2006 at 2:50 PM | PERMALINK

I am in favor of the nuclear trigger being pulled by Republcans.

Posted by: JamesP on January 26, 2006 at 2:50 PM | PERMALINK

The Democrats will again play obstructionists along with weak on security.

What's that? Can't hear you with all this culture of corruption amongst the Republican leadership, the K Street Project, and the very loud and desperate attempts by Republicans to deny they have anything to do with it.

We say throw the bums out. How's that SEC investigation going with Frist?
Drip..drip...drip....

Posted by: The American People on January 26, 2006 at 2:55 PM | PERMALINK

these "Fitz" and "rdw" bots are pretty convincing. i wonder what language they're written in ? i wish i had a copy of the code, because i think with a greater number of canned phrases they just might be able to pass the Turing test.

Posted by: cleek on January 26, 2006 at 2:56 PM | PERMALINK

You guys just make this shit up as you go, don't you?

Taken from the Senate website:

Anticipating Senate concerns about the prospective chief justice's liberal opinions, Johnson simultaneously declared his intention to fill the vacancy created by Fortas' elevation with Appeals Court Judge Homer Thornberry. The president believed that Thornberry, a Texan, would mollify skeptical southern senators.

A seasoned Senate vote-counter, Johnson concluded that despite filibuster warnings he just barely had the support to confirm Fortas. The president took encouragement from indications that his former Senate mentor, Richard Russell, and Republican Minority Leader Everett Dirksen would support Fortas, whose legal brilliance both men respected.

http://www.senate.gov/artandhistory/history/minute/Filibuster_Derails_Supreme_Court_Appointment.htm

Clever of you not to include the opening paragraphs from the source you cited.

Posted by: Windhorse on January 26, 2006 at 2:57 PM | PERMALINK

Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito

Posted by: Fitz on January 26, 2006 at 2:58 PM | PERMALINK

Fillibuster, Who the hell is going to remember this in 6 months when all these repugs will be going to trial.

Not us. Throw the bums out.

Just keep in mind Bush has only a 36% approval rating don't let the little noise machine get in your way,The american People are way smarter then the right gives them credit for.

Yes, we always laugh when Bush is described as "popular".

Posted by: The American People on January 26, 2006 at 2:58 PM | PERMALINK

Wait a minute, you're pointing out a passage that says that despite Fortas being liberal, LBJ had enough votes. And you think this supports your position that Fortas was filibustered for being liberal ... how?

Clown.

Posted by: conspiracy nut on January 26, 2006 at 3:03 PM | PERMALINK

Did I read somewere the age of Justice Stevens?
How old is that guy anyway?

And how many more years does Bush have in his term?

How many more lower court vacancies are there to fill (including Alito's old seat)?

Can anyone answer these questions?
Im starving for solid fact here.

Posted by: Fitz on January 26, 2006 at 3:03 PM | PERMALINK

Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito

see, i'd at least make the "spontaneous" canned phrases full sentences. having a bot spit out random sentence fragments gives it a Tourette's kind of feel. it will raise the suspicions of the human subject and likely cause the bot to fail the Test.

gotta get that source code.

Posted by: cleek on January 26, 2006 at 3:05 PM | PERMALINK

Whoa, Windhorse, whoa. Abe Fortas was filibustered because of ethics concerns, not because of ideology. Check your records again.

By all means, filibuster Alito. The country only supports his nomination by about a 51%-30% margin. If you want to show how far away from the country's mainstream the Democratic "mainstream" has become...well, I usually can't watch people make fools of themselves, but in this case, I'd make an exception.

Posted by: Sixth Sense on January 26, 2006 at 3:06 PM | PERMALINK

What the republicans are trying to say is the american public is stupid,Try getting Elected on that platform.

Posted by: pssst on January 26, 2006 at 3:07 PM | PERMALINK

Can anyone answer these questions?
Im starving for solid fact here.

and I'm starving for oxygen.

Posted by: Fitz' brain on January 26, 2006 at 3:10 PM | PERMALINK

c-nut,

I know your reading comprehension isn't much better than your thinking skills, but let's go slowly so your plaque-riddle neurons can grasp this:

LBJ was warned that Fortas might be filibustered by Republicans because of his general political leanings, including being pro-civil rights. So in order to appease them he promised to make his next appointment a more conservative judge.

He miscalculated his own party's support (conservative Democrats didn't like judges who supported African-Americans either) and his nominee was filibustered.

Lose some weight, your heart is forced to pump too much blood away from your brain to that fat ass of yours and it's blunting your comprehension.

Posted by: Windhorse on January 26, 2006 at 3:11 PM | PERMALINK

Time to go home and wach C-Span..
See you kids at the state of the union.

(can no one answer my important questions?)

Posted by: Fitz on January 26, 2006 at 3:12 PM | PERMALINK

Windhorse, I'm still reading that, while the initial concern was that perhaps Fortas was "too liberal", the ethics concerns are what ultimately did him in. Is that right, or can my "plaque-riddled neurons" not grasp something?

Posted by: Sixth Sense on January 26, 2006 at 3:17 PM | PERMALINK

Taking the stipend was the excuse to mount the filibuster that was promised from the beginning:

In 1965, Abe Fortas joined the Supreme Court as an associate justice on the Warren Court, participating in landmark decisions that expanded individual rights in criminal procedure, privacy and juvenile rights cases. When Chief Justice Earl Warren announced his retirement in 1968, President Lyndon Johnson nominated Fortas to fill the vacancy.

Although Fortas won approval from the Senate Judiciary Committee, Republican senators proved unwilling to confirm the nomination. President Johnson, who was in his final year of the presidency, had failed to consider the reaction of junior Republican senators and conservative Southern Democrats to the nomination of a known liberal for the court's top job.

Three months of partisan debate culminated in a filibuster blocking Fortas' nomination. Fortas asked that his name be removed from consideration after his supporters were defeated in a cloture motion to end debate.

Fortas' nomination as chief justice was filibustered largely for political reasons.

http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=4732341

Posted by: Windhorse on January 26, 2006 at 3:18 PM | PERMALINK


Am I The only one who can Google the term Abe Fortas?
This is from a non-partial reporting source (student legal aid)
The man resigned from the court- does that sound like some political witch hunt for ideolgical reasons.
He was on the Take: I remember my dad sayiny that and he has practiced law for forty years (im a lawyer myself)


http://www.michaelariens.com/ConLaw/justices/fortas.htm
In June 1968, at the end of the 1967 Term of the Supreme Court, Chief Justice Earl Warren had Fortas arrange an appointment at the White House, at which time Warren announced his retirement, effective upon the confirmation of his successor. On June 26, LBJ nominated Fortas as Chief Justice. To Fortass seat, LBJ nominated a friend from Texas, Homer Thornberry. In July, Fortas erred, appearing before the Senate Judiciary Committee despite the fact that no sitting Justice had ever done so. During those hearings, Fortas lied to the Committee, although he had not yet been caught in that lie. The Senate recessed without voting on the nomination. When Senator Robert Griffin learned in September that Fortas had accepted $15,000 to give some summer school lectures at American Universitys law school, money that had been raised by Fortass former partners and clients, the nomination was in trouble. In early October, after a vote to end the filibuster on the nomination failed, Fortas asked that his nomination be withdrawn. By 1969, further revelations led Fortas to resign from the Court. A convicted financier named Louis Wolfson had agreed to pay Fortas $20,000 per year for the remainder of his life, an amount that continued until the death of his wife if Fortas died before she did. Fortas received the first check in January 1966, after joining the Court, and though he returned it in December, Fortas's actions were condemned as ethically improper.

After resigning from the Court in May 1969, Fortas was rebuffed in his attempt to rejoin the law firm he had helped create, although his wife remained a partner in the firm. In 1970, he started another law firm. He practiced law until his death in 1982.

Posted by: Fitz on January 26, 2006 at 3:19 PM | PERMALINK

He miscalculated his own party's support
Well Windhorse, I guess I can take your version of history, or I can believe the Senate site.

Hmmm, what to do, what to do...

Posted by: conspiracy nut on January 26, 2006 at 3:20 PM | PERMALINK

Conspiracy of nuts
Its the first hit that comes up
http://www.michaelariens.com/ConLaw/justices/fortas.htm

Its all right there!
God liberals are retarded or something.
(I think they believe their own press/lies)

Posted by: Fitz on January 26, 2006 at 3:24 PM | PERMALINK

Robert Byrd has stated he will vote for Alito.

Whatever his faults and whatever flaws may rest in his reasoning, Byrd clearly is not a "spineless Dem." Nor do I believe, as DailyKoss suggests, that Bryd is responding to challenger Raese. Winston Churchill bankrolled by Bill Gates could not defeat Bryd in WV.

We need to study this - for without West Virginia, Kentucky, Tennessee, and Arkansas the Democrats will remain forever a minority.

Posted by: Thinker on January 26, 2006 at 3:41 PM | PERMALINK

Alito's nomination comes up, opening statements, boring. Test vote on invoking cloture -- Democrats get 43 votes to continue debate. Frist moves to another issue -- immigration, say.

First day of Alito filibuster headlines: Dems block Supreme Nomination.

Second day. Dozens of Republican Senators - McCain, etc. -- demand Democrats give Alito an up or down vote. First offers Democrats an hour of debate, equally divided. Democrats refuse. Headlines: Doubts Democrats Can Prevent Vote.

It will become a simple narrative: how long can Dems hold out? with the subtext "and who cares?"

Third, fourth, fifth day -- it's a purely political fight, folks. There will be no issues here. Alito isn't gonna be borked. No one will know why Democrats are filibustering the guy -- and, believe me, Senators will cave rather than give away their precious right to talk.

There will be Senators off the floor at press conferences, and one will say it's over abortion, and another that it's over signing statements, and a third will say the Senate wants straight answers: it will all be background noise to a purely political story: Dems Block Justice.

Reid should offer Frist a four hour debate, and put an egg timer on every Democrat's desk.

Posted by: theAmericanist on January 26, 2006 at 3:47 PM | PERMALINK

FILIBUSTER ALITO!

Posted by: Apollo 13 on January 26, 2006 at 3:49 PM | PERMALINK

The democratic senators are punking out one by one. First, the punk fencesitter from Nebraska, Ben Nelson. Next, the idiot from South Dakota, Tim Johnson. Third, the KKK flunky old fart from West Virginia, Robert Byrd. It's time to start a new party.

Posted by: Joe on January 26, 2006 at 3:51 PM | PERMALINK

Yea...vote for Ralph Nader on the Green Ticket!

Posted by: Fitz on January 26, 2006 at 3:52 PM | PERMALINK

FILIBUSTER ALITO!

to what effect? does anybody here think Bush would nominate someone better if Alito failed to get through ? he can't, The Base would abandon the GOP.

Posted by: cleek on January 26, 2006 at 3:52 PM | PERMALINK

I am in favor of the nuclear trigger being pulled by Republcans

There's no shot at a filibuster. Reid is in the worst of all positions. The best he can manage will be some parlimentary moved to delay confirmation until after the SOTU adress. That way he can appear both weak and petty at the same time.

Karl Rove is thrilled. Byrd, Nelson and Johnson all understand being obstructionists AND weak on national security is suicidal. Bill Nelson of Florida just gave Katherine Harris the best news she's had in months. Between posing with Michael Moore at the DC premiere of Farenheit and this he'll be easily framed as an uber-lib. You know Ms. Harris will be exceptionally well funded. Wouldn't that be a finger in Al Gore's eye?

Posted by: rdw on January 26, 2006 at 4:03 PM | PERMALINK

Nice rdw

I had not been following the Florida thing..
Oh ya, he's in a spot...

Posted by: Fitz on January 26, 2006 at 4:11 PM | PERMALINK

Fitz wrote: Yea...vote for Ralph Nader on the Green Ticket!

Ralph Nader did not run on the Green ticket in 2004; he ran as an independent. The Green Party rejected Nader's bid for their "endorsement" (he did not seek their nomination) and nominated long-time Green Party activist and organizer David Cobb for president.

Ralph Nader is not and has never been a Green or a member of the Green Party, although he did run as the Green Party presidential nominee in 2000. It is extremely unlikely that Nader will ever again run for President on the Green ticket.

Posted by: SecularAnimist on January 26, 2006 at 4:13 PM | PERMALINK
And Hillary wont clear 40% in South Dakota.

Since when does South Dakota get a vote on New York's representation in the US Senate?

Posted by: cmdicely on January 26, 2006 at 4:16 PM | PERMALINK
PPS: The nuclear option requires formal rule changes according to the Senate Parliamentarian, and the Republicans don't have the votes to do it.

Since the nuclear option explicitly involves breaking the rules (specifically, it involves a challenge to the ruling correctly applying the rules then being upheld by a majority), the fact that it takes a majority to eliminate the filibuster for judicial nominees within within the substantive content of the rules are largely irrelevant (but, its worth noting, that also means that the rule is not actually removed, just ignored.)

Posted by: cmdicely on January 26, 2006 at 4:20 PM | PERMALINK

Kerry just called for a Filibuster
(he must want to be president someday)

Specter & Frist are trying to scheduale a vote for Monday

Posted by: Fitz on January 26, 2006 at 4:22 PM | PERMALINK

Bush hasn't earned the right to nominate anyone. Ask George Will. By nominating Harriet Miers Bush demonstrated for all to see that he lacks the intellectual heft required to pick a Supreme Court nominee. The fact that Alito stonewalled his confirmation hearings is just icing on the incompetence cake.

George's own words:

"the president has forfeited his right to be trusted as a custodian of the Constitution."

Posted by: on January 26, 2006 at 4:23 PM | PERMALINK

Kerry is calling for a filibuster! It's ON!

Yay! More fun!

Posted by: Frank J. on January 26, 2006 at 4:27 PM | PERMALINK

Filibuster....!!! Go Go ...heat up dem phone lines
Lets see it happen.
Call Kos
Lets shake em up

Go. Go. Go.

Posted by: Fitz on January 26, 2006 at 4:30 PM | PERMALINK

I have to hand it to Fitz, rdw, conspiracy nut and the other Bush-bootlickers.

Since seizing power through a stolen election, the Cheney-Bush regime has been, and continues to be, quite successful in destroying Constitutional government in the USA and transforming America from a democratic republic into a third-world wreck of a once great nation, comprised of a population of increasingly impoverished and powerless peasants languishing under the boot of an authoritarian regime which serves a tiny, ultra-rich, hereditary, neo-fascist, corporate-feudalist aristocracy.

And the support of brain-dead, programmed, propaganda-regurgitating neo-brownshirt goons like yourselves has been a contributing factor to their success.

You guys have every right to gloat over your victory.

Posted by: SecularAnimist on January 26, 2006 at 4:36 PM | PERMALINK

Thats what were here for.

Posted by: Fitz on January 26, 2006 at 4:37 PM | PERMALINK

SecularAnimist,
Exactly. Thanks for typing that all out for me so I didn't have to.

Posted by: Frank J. on January 26, 2006 at 4:44 PM | PERMALINK

Senior White House officials said the move makes the Democrats look bad, and Republicans already have enough votes to overcome any filibuster attempt.

Then why would they care?

More crocodile tears from the new kremlin.

Posted by: Advocate for God on January 26, 2006 at 4:49 PM | PERMALINK

Since when does South Dakota get a vote on New York's representation in the US Senate

Cmdicely,

Are you the lst person to figure out Hillary is running for President?

The good news is not only is she running but she'll win the democratic primaries. The bad news is she's running and will win the Democratic primaries. Princess is not electable in a national race but is perfecty positioned for the primaries. How are the lefties going to resist the 2 for 1 here when the 2nd is their hero the brilliant best president we ever had William Jefferson Clinton?

The best fund raiser in the party is Bill followed by Hillary followed by Chuck Schumer. She owns NY and CA and is native daughter in IL. Some lefties think she's too far right but most understand that's an act and she owns all of the lefties identified as female. As Geena Davis will tell you, "It's time".

I never thought I'd vote for McCain and I won't in a primary. But if it's Hillary vs John he carries 45 states.

BTW: The GOP now has three black candidates running for major statewide offices in PA, OH and MD. ALL three are ahead in polls. If you don't see what a disaster this could be in 08 you are blind.

Posted by: rdw on January 26, 2006 at 4:51 PM | PERMALINK

From James Taranto of the WSJ

"I think that this situation absolutely requires a really futile and stupid gesture be done on somebody's part," said Eric "Otter" Stratton in the classic 1978 film "Animal House." Today's lead editorial in the New York Times advocates just such an approach.

The "situation" in this picture is the imminent confirmation of Justice-designate Samuel Alito:

"It is hard to imagine a moment when it would be more appropriate for senators to fight for a principle. Even a losing battle would draw the public's attention to the import of this nomination. . . . "Senate Democrats, who presented a united front against the nomination of Judge Alito in the Judiciary Committee, seem unwilling to risk the public criticism that might come with a filibuster particularly since there is very little chance it would work. Judge Alito's supporters would almost certainly be able to muster the 60 senators necessary to put the nomination to a final vote.

"A filibuster is a radical tool. It's easy to see why Democrats are frightened of it. But from our perspective, there are some things far more frightening. One of them is Samuel Alito on the Supreme Court."

The Times is right about one thing, though: If there is to be a really futile and stupid gesture, Senate Democrats are just the guys to do it.

BTW: Kerry calling for a filibuster is dumb in and of itself. He's just mugging to get on the news AND stepping on Harry Reid's toes. This is Harry's announcement. This rates one of his morose announcements flanked by a dozen libs.

Posted by: rdw on January 26, 2006 at 4:57 PM | PERMALINK

rdw...Shhhhhhhh

Posted by: Fitz on January 26, 2006 at 4:57 PM | PERMALINK

Yeah, don't spoil it, rdw. Kennedy has vowed to join in the filibuster.

Everytime Kennedy gets national airtime, a Republican gets elected.

Posted by: Frank J. on January 26, 2006 at 5:01 PM | PERMALINK

Advocate,

You need to follow the news. Ben Nelson, Tim Johnson and Byrd have already said they're voting FOR while the gang of 14 and Feinstein have ruled "no filibuster".

This is over. This is a disaster. The smart move is to get it over with as quickly as possible and hope Sam makes a ruling you can disagree with enough to run on in 06 or 08. Right now they're just dimwitted obstructionalist too stupid to know it's over. Everyone in the press knows but them.

Posted by: rdw on January 26, 2006 at 5:02 PM | PERMALINK

This just gets better. You can't make this stuff up.

KERRY THE BRAVE, CONT'D [Byron York]
Sorry, I made a mistake. Kerry is already in Davos, from which he is leading the Democratic charge on Alito.
Posted at 04:58 PM

KERRY THE BRAVE [Byron York]

From a Senate source: Kerry's call for a filibuster comes after his leadership, that is, Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid, decided there won't be one. In other words, Kerry was making a brave, Kos-friendly pronouncement in the total confidence that a filibuster will never happen. And now, word is, he is off to Davos to continue what some Republicans are calling a "filibluster."
Posted at 04:45 PM

Posted by: rdw on January 26, 2006 at 5:06 PM | PERMALINK

a coordinated fillibuster with succinct points e.g.vote for Alito=vote against choice and vote for jackoff and vote for endless war in iraq and vote for bush corruption and vote for katrina fiasco and secrecy and nonaccountability etc....tie the alito vote to anup or down not on alito but on bush

Posted by: saxonslug on January 26, 2006 at 5:07 PM | PERMALINK

It's too bad the lefty commenters here aren't in charge of the Democratic Party. Frank J would get all the entertainment he could stand.

Posted by: conspiracy nut on January 26, 2006 at 5:11 PM | PERMALINK

rdw: Kerry calling for a filibuster is dumb in and of itself.

rdw: This is over. This is a disaster. The smart move is to get it over with as quickly as possible and hope Sam makes a ruling you can disagree with enough to run on in 06 or 08. Right now they're just dimwitted obstructionalist too stupid to know it's over. Everyone in the press knows but them.

More crocodile tears and disingenuous advice from rdw.

Who would have thunk it!

If it was such a bad idea, you'd be sitting back remaining silent hoping it would happen instead of trying to prevent it from happening.

Perhaps it comes from having lips that are permanently glued to Bush's posterior.

Posted by: Advocate for God on January 26, 2006 at 5:12 PM | PERMALINK

conspiracy nut: It's too bad the lefty commenters here aren't in charge of the Democratic Party. Frank J would get all the entertainment he could stand.

Your inanity is more than enough entertainment for everybody here.

rdw: In other words, Kerry was making a brave, Kos-friendly pronouncement in the total confidence that a filibuster will never happen.

Pretty smart political move then. Playing to the base without any risk. Just the same type of tactic that you've swooned over when Bush and the GOP do it.

Toothless crocodile tears, rdw, toothless.

Posted by: Advocate for God on January 26, 2006 at 5:15 PM | PERMALINK

Advocate,
Do you really think the comment section of Kevin Drum site is where people go to influence policy decisions?

No! Please don't filibuster! Anything but that! If Kennedy takes the floor, then all us Republicans are dooooomed!

Seriously, though, the Republicans are going to get more corrupt and lazy until the opposition stops being such a joke. A filibuster is going to make the moonbats temporarily happy, but that's all it will accomplish.

Posted by: Frank J. on January 26, 2006 at 5:18 PM | PERMALINK

Oooh, inanity. Your new Work of the Day. It's good you're working on your vocabulary like that. Maybe one of these days I can get some creative abuse, instead of the same old tired stuff.

Posted by: conspiracy nut on January 26, 2006 at 5:19 PM | PERMALINK
Are you the lst person to figure out Hillary is running for President?

No, I'm just saying that she's not going to be the nominee; but your opinion to the contrary has been noted and filed.

Posted by: cmdicely on January 26, 2006 at 5:22 PM | PERMALINK

No, I'm just saying that she's not going to be the nominee
Say it ain't so! I've really been looking forward to First Lady Bill Clinton.

Posted by: conspiracy nut on January 26, 2006 at 5:27 PM | PERMALINK

conspiracy nut: Maybe one of these days I can get some creative abuse, instead of the same old tired stuff.

Maybe some day you'll post something other than the tired old stupid, ignorant, brain-dead, scripted, programmed, boilerplate right-wing Republican talking points that you get from Rush Limbaugh and Fox News, and then you'll deserve some new abuse.

Posted by: SecularAnimist on January 26, 2006 at 5:28 PM | PERMALINK

To paraphrase Sean Connery from "The Untouchables":

You wanna know how you do it? Here's how, they pull a knife, you pull a gun. They send one of yours to the hospital, you send one of theirs to the morgue.

FIGHT !
.

Posted by: VJ on January 26, 2006 at 5:31 PM | PERMALINK

So who has the knife and who has the gun in this fight?

Posted by: Frank J. on January 26, 2006 at 5:33 PM | PERMALINK


Make up your mind, yesterday you were pounding me for not following the tired old stupid, ignorant, brain-dead, scripted, programmed, boilerplate right-wing Republican talking points that I get from Rush Limbaugh and Fox News.

Posted by: conspiracy nut on January 26, 2006 at 5:34 PM | PERMALINK

No, I'm just saying that she's not going to be the nominee;

Who beats her?

Posted by: rdw on January 26, 2006 at 5:34 PM | PERMALINK

Who beats her?
That would be the man for all seasons, author, gifted speaker, and former Vice President of the United States
Al "I invented the model for Love Story" Gore!

Posted by: conspiracy nut on January 26, 2006 at 5:37 PM | PERMALINK

Right-Wingers,
The Alito thing is over with no matter what a couple Dems do, so you can say what you really think about that, but please try to act afraid of Hillary Clinton as a Presidential Candidate.

Posted by: Frank J. on January 26, 2006 at 5:42 PM | PERMALINK

please try to act afraid of Hillary Clinton as a Presidential Candidate
It ain't acting, couldn't you see the shaky typing above when I wrote "First Lady Bill Clinton"? That's enough to send chills down the spine of the most hardened wingnut.

Posted by: conspiracy nut on January 26, 2006 at 5:46 PM | PERMALINK

The strongest argument in favor of filibustering is that the Republicans will hold the threat of the Nuclear Option out as long as they hold a majority in the Senate and will scream bloody murder if the Democrats try to use it to stop a filibuster when (and it will happen sometime) the Republicans lose their majority. It's much better to force the issue to a vote now and either set the precedent once and for all that judicial nominees can't be filibustered or else (my prefered outcome however unlikely I think it is) have them try to go nuclear and fail and take it off the table for good.

This is in addition to the fact that Alito's views on Presidential power should be completely unacceptable to Senators of either party at a time when the current President is making unprecedented claims of his power's at the expense of the other branches of government. The Democrats need to make it clear that they agree that Alito is perfectly qualified in terms of experience and expertise but disqualified by views that ARE outside the mainstream.

As for the trolls repeated suggestions that Republicans rose above partisanship to support Clinton's nominees, get real. The only reason most of the votes on Clinton's judicial nominees were overwhelmingly favorable is that the only ones that even got a vote at all were either barely liberal or were part of a quid pro quo that let them through in return for Clinton nominating another judge selected by the Republicans.

Posted by: tanj on January 26, 2006 at 5:47 PM | PERMALINK

conspiracy nut: That would be the man for all seasons, author, gifted speaker, and former Vice President of the United States Al "I invented the model for Love Story" Gore!

Al Gore is a tremendously gifted speaker. However, because he does not speak in cartoon comic book stereotypes, that is lost on a moronic mental slave like you, who is only able to gobble and regurgitate scripted, programmed, brain-dead right-wing talking points.

Oh, yes. You are also able to dispense profound sociological wisdom that you gleaned from watching Leave it to Beaver.

Posted by: SecularAnimist on January 26, 2006 at 5:50 PM | PERMALINK

Al Gore is a tremendously gifted speaker.
I think I said that. I'm really looking forward to him and Kerry facing off in the Dem primary debate. It'll be a real hoot seeing which one of them can spray spittle the farthest as they rant against the evil George Bush and the brownshirt Republican brigades taking over America.

Posted by: conspiracy nut on January 26, 2006 at 5:53 PM | PERMALINK

tanj wrote: This is in addition to the fact that Alito's views on Presidential power should be completely unacceptable to Senators of either party at a time when the current President is making unprecedented claims of his power's at the expense of the other branches of government.

Like President Cheney and Sock-Puppet Bush, the Republican senators are bought-and-paid-for agents of America's ruling class, the ultra-rich, hereditary, neo-fascist, corporate-feudalist elite. That's the only "branch of government" that they care about. They do what their owners tell them.

Posted by: SecularAnimist on January 26, 2006 at 5:57 PM | PERMALINK

Who beats her?

Who knows? But the candidate that is most talked about two years out (e.g., Lieberman '04) is rarely the nominee. Now, Hillary's not a Joementum-level weak candidate, but I don't think she can win. She doesn't seem to have the propensity to generate positive surprises, and without that, her popularity works against her, as it only buys her negative attention and sky high media expectations, which works against generating any excitement or momentum in the primary campaign.

Posted by: cmdicely on January 26, 2006 at 6:02 PM | PERMALINK

VJ: To paraphrase Sean Connery from "The Untouchables":
You wanna know how you do it? Here's how, they pull a knife, you pull a gun. They send one of yours to the hospital, you send one of theirs to the morgue.
FIGHT !

Nuclear option. Meet nuclear winter.

Posted by: Apollo 13 on January 26, 2006 at 6:02 PM | PERMALINK

Who knows? But the candidate that is most talked about two years out (e.g., Lieberman '04) is rarely the nominee

Joe is all but out of the party and that's part of your problem. It's going to be exceedingly hard to defeat Hillary. No other candidate will half as well funded. No other candidate will have 1/4 as much TV time. If Bill is active make that 1/10. Warner seems legit but he's got to compete with has-beens like Biden and Kerry, possibly Gore and Daschle and even Dean.

I know Howard says he won't run but that's only if he's the chair of the DNC and look for him to get tossed after a poor '06.

Posted by: rdw on January 26, 2006 at 6:16 PM | PERMALINK

I seriously considered giving Sen. Kerry my vote in 2004. (See here.) He is now working hard to convince us that his "centrist" approach in 2004 had nothing to do with conviction. (See here.)

I have lots of problems with GWB, but at least he believes in something and sticks with it, for better or worse politically. Kerry has confirmed that he is a "finger in the wind" politician who is going to be embarrassed when he runs again in 2008.

The office of the person who received the Democratic nomination for President in 1984 (and lost by historic proportions) is very close to mine, and everyday when I see him I am reminded of my respect for him as a public servant, as well as the class he has exhibited since.

Senator Kerry, I work with Vice President Mondale. (Okay, we take the same elevator to the same floor every morning.) Senator, you're no Walter Mondale. (Or Paul Wellstone.) Your opinion is for sale based on where at a particular point in time you think the votes are, and I can't respect that.

Posted by: Todd Pearson on January 26, 2006 at 6:23 PM | PERMALINK

Todd Pearson wrote: I have lots of problems with GWB, but at least he believes in something and sticks with it, for better or worse politically.

That's a joke, right? First of all, George W. Bush is an empty-headed empty suit who reads whatever Karl Rove puts on a teleprompter in front of him, so it is incorrect to attribute any "beliefs" or actual positions on any issue to Bush (although even I will sometimes write that Bush has this or that policy or position, I do so simply as a convenient shorthand).

And Bush has flip-flopped around on (e.g. Department of Homeland Security) or bailed out of (Social Security) every issue on which he has encountered the slightest real challenge or resistance. He sticks with two things: the fake, phony non-issues that Rove uses to manipulate his deluded, gullible right-wing base (e.g. gay marriage) to go to the polls, and the one real issue that matters to his owners: concentrating wealth and power in the hands of his already ultra-wealthy and ultra-powerful cronies and financial backers in the military-industrial-petroleum complex.

Having said that, I tend to agree with you about John Kerry. He is no Mondale. Or Wellstone. Or Gore.

Posted by: SecularAnimist on January 26, 2006 at 6:38 PM | PERMALINK

Does none of of you wingnuts have a job? Or do they not care if you watch CSPAN all day down at the car wash?

Posted by: shortstop on January 26, 2006 at 6:39 PM | PERMALINK

Never mind Kerry. Who would even put Mondale and Gore in the same sentence with Wellstone?

Posted by: shortstop on January 26, 2006 at 6:41 PM | PERMALINK

Does none of of you wingnuts have a job?
Sure, I work here at the DNC, rallying the base, how am I doing?

Posted by: conspiracy nut on January 26, 2006 at 6:42 PM | PERMALINK
Joe is all but out of the party and that's part of your problem.

Joe is most decidedly not "all but out of the party", though he has dedicated much of the last few years to being the media's go-to guy for bashing of liberalism. And, really, I think that's a big problem.

It's going to be exceedingly hard to defeat Hillary.

Yeah, that was the story about Joe when Al Gore decided not to run again in 2004, too.

No other candidate will half as well funded.

Yeah, that was the story about Joe when Al Gore decided not to run again in 2004, too. Wasn't true then, and quite probably won't be true of Hillary in 2008, either. Yeah, she's a good fundraiser, but media momentum drives funding, for good or ill, and someone who is a clear frontrunner so long before the election (see, Joe) has trouble doing anything but disappointing. And that produces negative media momentum (or, in technical parlance, Joementum.)

No other candidate will have 1/4 as much TV time.

That's questionable. Any candidate that outperforms expectations in any area will get lots of media attention -- and positive attention -- for that, meanwhile, there is little Hillary can do to produce positive surprises. If we had a single, national primary, Hillary would have better prospects.

Warner seems legit but he's got to compete with has-beens like Biden and Kerry, possibly Gore and Daschle and even Dean.

That actually puts Warner in a position much like Kerry in 2004; I'd hardly say that makes it unlikely he'll get the nomination.

I know Howard says he won't run but that's only if he's the chair of the DNC and look for him to get tossed after a poor '06.

If there is a poor performance in 2006 and Dean gets tossed as DNC chair, he's got nothing going into 2008, and -- run or not -- won't play a significant role.

Posted by: cmdicely on January 26, 2006 at 6:44 PM | PERMALINK

John Kerry is a brave man who did what 99 other senators could have done, but didn't.

It's a long shot, but let's see what comes next.

Posted by: Steve High on January 26, 2006 at 6:44 PM | PERMALINK

I think the Democrats ought to lift Molly Ivin's rallying cry (she won't mind) "Enough Already"!
They need to use it before, during and after the filibuster. We from the center to left have had it! Let's get those collective male and female gonads in gear and stop this wingnut nonsense, STARTING NOW!!! We have a country to loose if we don't.

Posted by: Rain on January 26, 2006 at 6:52 PM | PERMALINK

Gore has said that he does not intend to run for office again. Although I wish that he would, since he is one of the finest public servants ever to serve the people of this country, and the legitimately elected President of the United States, I tend to believe him.

However, the things that he is doing now in the private sector, his numerous eloquent and powerful and insightful public speeches, and his work on global warming (which within the next few years will become the single most important issue on everyone's mind, and which the movie about Gore's global warming lecture tour that's debuting at the Sundance Festival this week will highlight), have earned and will continue to earn him positive attention. There may well be a lot of Democrats urging him to run by 2008.


Posted by: SecularAnimist on January 26, 2006 at 6:53 PM | PERMALINK

Personally, I think that a filibuster will make the left half of the Democratic party feel even more contemptuous toward middle America than they already feel, and drive a few more of the right half of the Democratic party into voting for Republicans.

If what you want is a smaller and more homogeneous Democratic party, then filibuster away.

Posted by: contentious on January 26, 2006 at 8:06 PM | PERMALINK

contentious wrote: Personally, I think that a filibuster will make the left half of the Democratic party feel even more contemptuous toward middle America than they already feel

Actually, it is the Republicans who have nothing but contempt for middle America. That's why they lie to them, cheat them, and steal from them, and then (as exhibited every day by the Republican partisans who comment here) gleefully gloat over the success of their lying, stealing and cheating.

Posted by: SecularAnimist on January 26, 2006 at 8:15 PM | PERMALINK

Ah, conspiracynut, but he doesn't Look 85 now, does he?

Posted by: GBH on January 26, 2006 at 8:38 PM | PERMALINK

"John Kerry is a brave man who did what 99 other senators could have done, but didn't.

It's a long shot, but let's see what comes next."


Yeah, by all means, let's all "see" how well Kerry does filibustering Alito from Davos. That will be oh-so-interesting to see.

Nitwit.

Posted by: cranky on January 26, 2006 at 9:09 PM | PERMALINK

When you have Bobby Byrd baning on the Dem members of the Judiciary committee for their behavior during the hearings, I think the filibluster will be a no show.
I look forward to the effort of Kerry trying tp speak for 20+ hours in an effort to get the vote delayed. Can he do that from Switzerland and still be counted as "present"?
Three Dems have committed to vote for Alito. How many more will commit before the vote? Any bets?

Posted by: meatss on January 26, 2006 at 9:20 PM | PERMALINK

Filibuster Alito
Do I support a filibuster? The answer is yes.
Posted by John Kerry @ 16:52

http://blog.thedemocraticdaily.com/?p=1762

Posted by: Pamela on January 26, 2006 at 9:34 PM | PERMALINK

By all means fuck me in the ass with a porcupine.
If Dems do this I can see big Republican gains in PTown, the East Village, the Castro, WeHo and on the Brokeback Mountain reservation.
Go ahead and do it. I double dog dare you.

Posted by: Fitz & GOP on January 26, 2006 at 9:40 PM | PERMALINK

Well it was just AL
"overturn Roe vs Wade and Griswold to save the unborn from murder"
You can follow the logic on Roe, but Griswold--to save the unconceived from not being conceived?

Posted by: lee on January 26, 2006 at 9:42 PM | PERMALINK

Yeah, that was the story about Joe when Al Gore decided not to run again in 2004, too

Joe was never the front runner and he never did better than 4th in a primary. I like the guy but he defines boring and he was NEVER a big fund raiser. His efforts in 04 were a disaster although Al could have helped by dropping out earlier. Fund raising is critical and I stand by what I just said. Hillary and Bill are by far the best fund raisers the Democrats have. The next best is Chuck Schumer and he's part of the team. Bill Or Hillary can fly to Hollywood anytime they need $10M and get it. Or they can drive down 5th Avenue and get is just as quickly. They will raise 2x's as much as their closest competitor.

As far as TV time you've got to consider the star power of the happy couple. There's no one in either party who can compete with Bill Clinton. The next brightest star is Hillary Clinton and no one in either party can compete with her. At the same time there will be 8 other candidates in the Democratic primaries AND 8 or more in the GOP primaries. There's only so much TV. If Dean remains as chairman that's another camera hog who knows how to get attention.

I think what we see right now from Kerry is a sign of how competitive camera time will be. The man is a buffoon. He calls back from his private plane on he way to Davos to inform the press he's going to filibuster and Teddy will support him. Quite obviously this isn't possible, especially after Byrds commments and the promise of the gang of 14. So Kerry is going to talk a lot. This is pure hollywood. He's going for publicity Robert Byrd and the party be damned.

So how does Biden compete? How does Warner compete? It's way too early but the positioning has started.

BTW: I think Warner is a legit candidate and your party would benefit by selecting him. Hillary cannot win. Kerry is clearly going after the looney left so important in the primaries. Biden is going to run against the war s well. I just don't see how Warner can do it tactically.

Posted by: rdw on January 26, 2006 at 10:00 PM | PERMALINK

However, the things that he is doing now in the private sector, his numerous eloquent and powerful and insightful public speeches, and his work on global warming (which within the next few years will become the single most important issue on everyone's mind, and which the movie about Gore's global warming lecture tour that's debuting at the Sundance Festival this week will highlight), have earned and will continue to earn him positive attention.

Al Gore is a dick. Everything he has including his Senate seat was handed to him by his Dad. Global Warming has NEVER been important in US elections and it won't be in 06 or 08 either. The story by 08 will be of Canada, Denmark, Spain and at least 2 or 3 other nations PULLING OUT of Kyoto because they're so far over their limits. 11 of the 1st 13 European signees are over their limits and will stay over their limits.

Kyoto is a piece of garbage. It's the worst treaty every negotiated in the history of civilization. It's created pollution by mandating the mass transfer of manufacturing capacity from the 1st world with it's environmental protections to the 3rd world which ar environmental wrecks.

At the same time in 08 the Asian-Pacific partnership, designed by Bush to bypass the UN and replace Kyoto, will be functioning and adding nations. With a starting group of the US, India, China, Japan, Korea and Australia they have more than 50% of the worlds GDP and 40% of it's population. Once they set their agenda and working process they'll add affiliates and represent a majority of the worlds GDP and Population.

The story of 08 will be exactly the opposite of what you expect.


Posted by: rdw on January 26, 2006 at 10:13 PM | PERMALINK

Yeah, screw the abortion angle. Shit, 87% of counties in the US you can't get an abortion anyway. They have already done away with it.

It is the crackpot unitary executive theory that is scarier than hell. If these bastards get that abortion will be all but forgotten as everything will be determined by the whim of a GOP president.

If a Dem ever gets back the White House, which I seriously doubt given who counts the votes, then these crazy bastards will toss that theory like so much old newspaper that wrapped up the fish and chips.

Posted by: Vinnie on January 26, 2006 at 10:15 PM | PERMALINK

I'm mostly hoping for a Democratic fillibuster against Alito because, in making themselves appear extreme against this pleasant, even-tempered, Italian-American with the weepy wife, the donkeys will set up a "there they go again" dynamic that will work against them when Stevens or Ginsberg finally croaks and we fascists get to annoint the 5th anti-Roe vote. Alito's replacing Sandra doesn't accomplish that. The fourt vote, in other words, is irrelevant to the issue everybody's really (if they're honest) so wound up about.

Better for the donkeys to keep their powder dry and wait until it really matters. If they can prevent an anti-Roe majority until '08, the infamous ruling may survive indefinitely. But fillibustering Alito in '06 will certainly weaken their efforts at keeping that 5th vote off the court in '07. God the Dems are stupid. And God John Forbes Kerry is a vain and ruthless striver (don't suppose this move has anything to do with his upcoming rerun in '08, do you?). If fact, this is all about Kerry sticking it to Hillary. She's happy to vote against Alito. But she wants no part of either a fillibuster (will make her look extreme to moderates and conservatives) or the need to take a stance in public against fillibustering him ('cause that would all but finish her with the Upper West Side/Hollywood crowd).

'Course, I do say the above with at least some trepidation as to the political ramifications of the overturning of Roe. I suspect a lot of moderate pro-life voters who never vote Democrat these days will finally feel liberated to do so.

Posted by: anonymous on January 26, 2006 at 10:15 PM | PERMALINK

Off thread but so cool.

Jobs? Keep Your Stinking Jobs!
The Chicago Sun-Times reports on the Windy City's War against Wal-Mart:

Eighteen months after the Chicago City Council torpedoed a South Side Wal-Mart, 24,500 Chicagoans applied for 325 jobs at a Wal-Mart opening Friday in south suburban Evergreen Park, one block outside the city limits.

The new Wal-Mart at 2500 W. 95th is one block west of Western Avenue, the city boundary.

Of 25,000 job applicants, all but 500 listed Chicago addresses, said John Bisio, regional manager of public affairs for Wal-Mart.

As blogger Steve Bartin notes, "The morons who run Chicago don't appear to want jobs in the city of Chicago."

Posted by: rdw on January 26, 2006 at 10:21 PM | PERMALINK

Oh, thank you, Fitzie for posting the Michael Ariens article about Abe Fortas. Why didn't you also post his affection for Thomas Sowell? Why didn't you post his knocking Brown v. Board of Education and the Warren Court? Why didn't you post his love and devotion for school vouchers? Why didn't you post his adulation for Rhenquist and saying that the late Chief Justice had done more for minorities in the land than anyone?

Posted by: thethirdPaul on January 26, 2006 at 10:40 PM | PERMALINK

You people don't know how much I hate Al Gore for having beat George Bush in 2000. Do you hateful lefties realize how close we came to having a President who would have made an attempt to stop more than 2000 people from dying on the RNC's Highest of Holy Days - September 11? Do you understand how much my stomach churns at the thought of all those terrorists getting caught before they could provide me with the entertainment value of watching elitist New Yorkers jump from the twin towers? And then there are the dead soldiers. How many were there under Clinton? That's right, fewer than two dozen. It's almost as if he felt the military should be used sparingly. That was probably that pansy Al Gore's fault. If he had skipped out on his National Guard service like a real man perhaps he would have understood the joy of knowing that soldiers were dying.

Posted by: rdw on January 26, 2006 at 10:50 PM | PERMALINK

Filibuster!!!!!!

Posted by: berlins on January 26, 2006 at 11:35 PM | PERMALINK

John Kerry on the Alito fillibuster:
http://john-kerry.dailykos.com/storyonly/2006/1/26/192843/363

Posted by: Jay in Oregon on January 27, 2006 at 12:01 AM | PERMALINK

contentious wrote: Personally, I think that a filibuster will make the left half of the Democratic party feel even more contemptuous toward middle America than they already feel
***
Actually, it is the Republicans who have nothing but contempt for middle America. That's why they lie to them, cheat them, and steal from them, and then (as exhibited every day by the Republican partisans who comment here) gleefully gloat over the success of their lying, stealing and cheating.

The Democrats were filibustering (or threatening to filibuster) Bush's court nominations in 2001 - 2004. It didn't work then, and I doubt that it will work now. Some of the 7 Democrats in the gang of 14 have already announced their intention to vote for cloture, so it looks like the vote for cloture will be about 62-38, and the vote to confirm will be about 55-45. but we'll see. It's ironic that the Democrats would vote against someone whom the slightly-leftish ABA would rate highly qualified.

Along with Republican gloating, I read plenty of Democrat self-pity in these threads. I don't remember who said this first, but the Democrats are the only thing keeping the Republicans in power.

Posted by: contentious on January 27, 2006 at 12:02 AM | PERMALINK

Contentious,

From NRO, after noting Collins from Maine will vote for.

I believe that 86 senators have now declared their positions: 55 for Alito, 31 against. Of the remaining Democrats, four (Conrad, Dorgan, Landrieu, and Pryor) are possible yes votes.

So it looks like Alito will get between 56 and 62 votes probably 58 to 61

It is amazing how inept the Democrats have been at every stage. The best that can happen for them now is kerry won't grand stand and it's over by Tuesday.

Posted by: rdw on January 27, 2006 at 12:27 AM | PERMALINK

shortstop

Who would even put Mondale and Gore in the same sentence with Wellstone?

Umm... "Wellstone has a better chance of being elected President in 2008 than either Gore or Mondale."

:o)

Posted by: fletch on January 27, 2006 at 1:35 AM | PERMALINK

John Kerry is a brave man who did what 99 other senators could have done, but didn't.

Well-ll-ll... I guess someone had to marry Teresa Heinz! :o)

Posted by: fletch on January 27, 2006 at 1:40 AM | PERMALINK

Did I mention how much I also hate Kerry for going to Vietnam and winning medals? Slacker. If skipping out on his Guard Duty was good enough for Bush, it should have been good enough for Kerry. Thank god we were able to get enough morons to believe that a purple heart is something you put on a band-aid and wear to a Republican convention, instead of believing that military crap about how it goes to those who are wounded while serving. Otherwise a genuine War Hero might be serving rather than the guy whose actions enable an ever rising body count for me to enjoy.

Posted by: rdw on January 27, 2006 at 1:46 AM | PERMALINK

I'm all for the filibuster. It think it'll help you send the message about what the Democrats really stand for.

Posted by: McA on January 27, 2006 at 1:52 AM | PERMALINK

Well, apparently Kerry's flying back from Davros to DC tonight ...

I have mixed feelings about it. I'd love to support a filibuster wholeheartedly, but it's tough when the grounds are *completely* ideological. Alito isn't so much a firebreathing whacko as a calm, nerdy Uber-authoritarian. Scary thing, he may well be "within the mainstream" of current conservative opinion -- which says a helluva lot more about the current state of conservative opinion than it does about Alito's position in the main stream of American jurisprudence.

But there's no fire in the belly from the Democrats. Where's fucking Feingold on this? That Kerry and Kennedy are leading the charge doesn't bode well for a unified Democratic voice.

I mean, I love the nobility of a fight on principle, damn the consequences. But it's got to say something important about the Democrats as a whole. Coming from one wing of the party, from one region (hell, one state) doesn't achieve the goal of showing "the Democrats" taking a strong stand.

And that's where my misgivings come from.

Bob

Posted by: rmck1 on January 27, 2006 at 2:12 AM | PERMALINK
I'd love to support a filibuster wholeheartedly, but it's tough when the grounds are *completely* ideological.

Opposition to the fundamental Constitutional basis of our government -- that of a limited government with limited powers for each of the branches, circumscribed by the Constitution -- is a fine reason to oppose a judicial nominee -- at any level -- even (perhaps especially) if that opposition is overtly "ideological" rather than the result of some nominally ideologically-blind interpretive theory.

Posted by: cmdicely on January 27, 2006 at 2:28 AM | PERMALINK

cmdicely:

Well, I don't think any interpretive theory could be blind to ideology. To interpret is to choose, and to choose is to reveal one's values. I was thinking of Bork -- who was qualified out the wazoo but had no qualms with trashing the 14th Amendment and the penumbral doctrine in front of the cameras. That launched an ideological backlash that was broad-based; Specter to this day pays a price from the GOP for supporting it.

Then there was Clarence "Lawn Jockey / Scalia's Hand Puppet" Thomas, who should have been filibustered on the grounds of his qualifications and personal character, but obviated it by egregiously playing the race card.

I agree with all the points made against Alito. The "unitary executive" in a time of Orwellian unending "war" is truly the slippery slope to Fascism Lite at the very least, and it scares the bejesus out of many of us.

But we *do* have to worry about the Party. I wish we were more unified. If we had had the votes to deny cloture, I'd say go for it -- but we don't.

I just don't want it to look, at the end of the day, like preening by two out-of-touch liberal lions.

That meme gets out and it resolves a lot of ambiguity in the minds of voters who currently don't know what exactly to think about the wiretapping scadal -- and not in our favor.

Bob

Posted by: rmck1 on January 27, 2006 at 2:41 AM | PERMALINK

scadal = scandal

Posted by: rmck1 on January 27, 2006 at 2:43 AM | PERMALINK

Fillibuster Alito sound like Fellatio!

Posted by: DirtyA on January 27, 2006 at 3:03 AM | PERMALINK

DirtyA:

And fellatio sounds like fellito -- which is what the Republicans on the Committee took turns doing to him in front of the TV cameras.

Bob

Posted by: rmck1 on January 27, 2006 at 3:14 AM | PERMALINK

You'll only get 1, *maybe* two filibusters before the GOP pulls the nuclear trigger and it goes off.

Do you really want to waste it on Alito?

Posted by: Orion on January 27, 2006 at 3:23 AM | PERMALINK

You'll only get 1, *maybe* two filibusters before the GOP pulls the nuclear trigger and it goes off. Do you really want to waste it on Alito? - Orion

Yeah you're right Orion. I guess we should save those filibusters for the day that Bush starts rounding up his political enemies or when martial law is declared after Emperor Bush decides to abolish the Bill of Rights. I bet we will all be glad we did on that day huh? The cheering in the reeducation camps will sure be loud on that day.

Posted by: Eric Paulsen on January 27, 2006 at 6:24 AM | PERMALINK

This Delightful Filibuster Attempt
[Ed Whelan 01/27 07:46 AM]
This New York Times article on Kerrys fili-blustering is a delightful read. One excerpt:

Democrats cringed and Republicans jeered at the awkwardness of his gesture, which almost no one in the Senate expects to succeed. "God bless John Kerry," said Don Stewart, a spokesman for Senator John Cornyn, a Texas Republican on the Judiciary Committee. "He just cinched this whole nomination. With Senator Kerry, it is Christmas every day.

So much for following the advice offered by the New York Times editorial page yesterday. It would seem that even some New York Times reporters recognize how nutty its editorial page is.

I love the politics of this filibuster maneuver, under every conceivable eventuality. (Yes, even if the filibuster were somehow to succeed that would trigger cloture reform.) Democrats who have already stated their opposition to Alito are now put to the unpleasant choice of pleasing the hard Left by also supporting the filibuster or of maintaining some semblance of responsible behavior with the mass of their constituents. And those few remaining Democrats who are genuinely undecided on Alito now have to factor in that opposing him at this point (yes, even if they also oppose the filibuster) will likely be seen as joining forces with Kennedy and Kerry.

Im beginning to wonder whether Kerry and Kennedy arent actually part of the Vast Right-Wing Conspiracy. What better set-up for the Presidents State of the Union address Tuesday than the triumph of Judge Alitos confirmation and the follies of the Democrats.

Posted by: rdw on January 27, 2006 at 8:01 AM | PERMALINK

cmdicely,

The filibustering of Alito on purely ideological ground is profoundly stupid. Look ahead. Stevens is 85 and Ginsburg 73. Both have had health issues and are expected to be the next two retirees. Chuck Schumer has ensured they will not be replaced by liberals under any conditions. Obviously if they can't hang on until 2009 it'll be a conservative pick. Obviously if McCain or Allen win it'll be a conservative pick. Obviously if Hillary wins it'll be a very moderate pick. There will never be another Ginsburg appointed to the court.

Did you hear Robert Byrds comments about WV being a conservative state? There will always be at least 40 conservative Senators. The people who fired Meirs will make sure they filibuster anyone who smells liberal. Hillary wouldn't even nominate anyone who worked for the ACLU.

The Senate Democrats have botched every phase of the judical process not limited to Supreme Court appointments and no one appointment has been botched worse than Alito. Conservatives are beaming over Kerry's efforts. A desperate and vain man trying for a nomination he can't win. 25% of the country soldily behind his efforts. 60% solidly opposed. Kerry doesn't care because that 25% represents 60% of Democratic primary voters. This is too perfect. The actions he has to take to attract the looney left are repulsive to the larger majority. It does not get any better than this.

Posted by: rdw on January 27, 2006 at 8:15 AM | PERMALINK

You'll only get 1, *maybe* two filibusters before the GOP pulls the nuclear trigger and it goes off. Do you really want to waste it on Alito? - Orion


You are acting as if the Democrats actually have a choice. They do not. Reid needs 41 Senators. He does not have them. Bill Nelson has put himself at risk just for supporting the notion of a filibuster. Ben Nelson and Tim Johnson could not take that risk.

Just like during the Roberts hearings Bush appointed a candidate too strong for Democrats to stop. They are weak. Keep on putting your Red State senators in harms way and you will remain weak.

Posted by: rdw on January 27, 2006 at 8:29 AM | PERMALINK

There. rdw gets the last word.

You are all now agreed with rdw and the conservatives!

He's double plus right!

Posted by: Dummy on January 27, 2006 at 10:04 AM | PERMALINK

Harry Reid is trying to shoot down John Kerrys pathetic call for a filibuster:

No one can complain on this matter that there hasnt been sufficient time to talk about Judge Alito, pro and con, Mr. Reid said on the Senate floor. I hope that this matter will be resolved without too much more talking.

Why is the normally combative Reid so eager to avoid a filibuster fight? Because the roll call vote on cloture would demonstrate how impotent Senate Democrats really are.

Consider: 55 Republicans are all virtually certain to vote against a filibuster (with the unlikely exception of Lincoln Chafee (R-RI).) Add to that the seven Democrats in the Gang of 14, who appear miraculously to be keeping their promise. Then add non-Gang Democrats, such as Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), and Tim Johnson (D-SD), whove spoken out against a filibuster. When you add it up, there are at least 63 senators whore certain to oppose a filibuster.

Thus there are no more than 37 votes for a filibuster, and perhaps even fewer than 30.

Imagine how weak the Democrats, and especially Reid, would look if they could publicly muster no more than thirty-some votes for a filibuster. Far better for them to go directly to a roll call where they have a good chance of holding Alito to less than 60 votes. Thats why Reid desperately wants to avoid a filibuster fight.

Posted by: rdw on January 27, 2006 at 10:23 AM | PERMALINK

BTW: The above post is copied entirely from polipundit.

Reid is dancing on hot coals.

Posted by: rdw on January 27, 2006 at 10:32 AM | PERMALINK

Well, I don't think any interpretive theory could be blind to ideology.

Neither do I, though its possible for them to be irrelevant to the major left/right political ideology; honest originalism, rare as it is, has a kind of ideological content, but its neither really liberal or conservative (though plenty of conservatives use originalism selectively and creatively as a dodge to protect end-oriented conservative positions that have nothing to do with originalism.)

Posted by: cmdicely on January 27, 2006 at 11:08 AM | PERMALINK

DirtyA,

"Fellatio" - If Clarence reads this, he'll spend his whole day at the Supremes watching his "Long Dong Silver" collection.

Just think of the money witless saves by not having his own blog - however, he could have his little logo of I'm a Blogger for Bush on it and his list of non-entities, such as Pennsylvanianinexile and Frank J - all of the heavies.
Start your own blog Drexel Dimwit, and we would all be sure to fail to miss the site.

Posted by: stupid git on January 27, 2006 at 11:50 AM | PERMALINK

cmdicely,

do you think that the Democrats should filibuster Alito? Whether you do or don't think so, how do you think the filibuster would play out politically.

I think that Alito should be confirmed, and will be confirmed. I don't know whether the Democrats ought to filibuster his nomination, but I think it will hurt them politically. (Among other reasons, 65% of Americans favor restrictions on late term abortions, but the Democrats don't; there are other issues where Alito has more in common with the "mainstream" than the Democrats who oppose him have.) I prefer for both parties to be competitive, so I have a slight preference for the Democrats to avoid filibustering; on the other hand, I like democratic political spectacle, and a filibuster will make a fine spectacle.

I have previously preferred Sen Feinstein over her Republican challenger, but my respect for her has declined greatly in response to her idiocies in the Roberts and Alito nominations. If the Republicans could find a decent candidate, I think their chances of winning her seat have increased.

Posted by: contentious on January 27, 2006 at 11:57 AM | PERMALINK

Alito thinks that shooting an unarmed suspect is okay. Alito thinks that warrants can be expanded from what was approved to include everything desired - even if it includes strip-searching a 10-year-old girl. Alito thinks that, having expressly told Congress he would recuse himself from such cases, he can rule on cases where he has a stake. These are not the positions of a mainstream justice; these are the positions of a political hack. He should be filibustered because he believes in the letter of the law when it is convenient and in the intent of the law what that is convenient.

Posted by: on January 27, 2006 at 1:05 PM | PERMALINK
do you think that the Democrats should filibuster Alito?

I think the Democrats should strongly, vociferously, and clearly articulate the reasons why Alito should not be confirmed. The filibuster is a tactic that could be used along with that to draw attention to it, but its not particularly central.

Whether you do or don't think so, how do you think the filibuster would play out politically.

The filibuster, in and of itself, isn't going to do much politically; any strong and principled opposition -- with or without the filibuster -- could be used politically to set up strong difference of principal for the 2006 elections, and work to the benefit of the Democrats.

(Among other reasons, 65% of Americans favor restrictions on late term abortions, but the Democrats don't; there are other issues where Alito has more in common with the "mainstream" than the Democrats who oppose him have.)

Perhaps there are issues where Alito is particularly mainstream, but those aren't the reasons he should be opposed.

I prefer for both parties to be competitive, so I have a slight preference for the Democrats to avoid filibustering

How does a preference for "competitive" parties breed a preference for parties not to actually contest issues forcefully?


Posted by: cmdicely on January 27, 2006 at 1:17 PM | PERMALINK

From AP:

Sen. Kent Conrad, D-N.D., also announced Friday he is "leaning in favor of voting for'' the conservative judge. "It is clear to me that a majority of the American people and the people I represent support his confirmation,'' he said after meeting with Alito in his office.

Posted by: rdw on January 27, 2006 at 1:34 PM | PERMALINK

cmdicely:

> "Well, I don't think any interpretive
> theory could be blind to ideology."

> Neither do I, though its possible for them to be irrelevant
> to the major left/right political ideology; honest originalism,
> rare as it is, has a kind of ideological content, but its
> neither really liberal or conservative (though plenty of
> conservatives use originalism selectively and creatively
> as a dodge to protect end-oriented conservative
> positions that have nothing to do with originalism.)

Honest originalism? Is that like the unicorn? I dunno, Chris;
I'm not a legal scholar (nor do I play one on TV nor even on a
blog), but it strikes me that a true focus on "original intent"
is strictly speaking impossible. In this world of internet
communications, railways and highways, just-in-time inventories,
border-oblivious pollution, drug trafficking, not to mention
the legal fiction of a corporate individual, can one even begin
to imagine the Framers' response to modern interstate commerce?

How is it possible *not* to read the 9th Amendment as a Rorschact
inkblot that would *have* to include all kinds of unenumerated
rights (not least bodily privacy) and how does one decide which
ones the Framers would hold dear -- and yet read virtually nothing
into the 10th Amendment to support traditional states' rights?

It has always struck me that arguments for so-called originalism
or strict constructionism were cultural arguments by other means,
and that the "activist judges" meme was only a front that could
use to sell this idea to the people, since the idea of an allegdly
powermad judiciary is a good cover for disagreeing with decisions.

In this sense, the so-called originalists share an MO with the much
more dangerously radical Constitution-In-Exile movement, and the
intent of both is to move back the clock to values that one can make
a historical argument were more prevalent in the Framers' day. This
supports all sorts of conservative outcomes: less gun regulation,
more state support for religion, a pre-1937 interpretation of Due
Process to value the rights of businesses over individuals.

Originalists aren't asking how James Madison would interpret
a modern statute -- since James Madison would undergo weeks
of culture shock trying to understand the context in which it
was drawn up, and at which point, he's no longer James Madison.

Originalists are asking what James Madison's cultural values were.

Bob

Posted by: rmck1 on January 27, 2006 at 1:51 PM | PERMALINK

cmdicely,

You are forcing Reid to go entirely against conventional wisdom. That is, don't lose high profile votes because you will appear to be weak and will lose support. This is especially true if the vote isn't close. It's one thing to lose. It's another to be so inept. Reid won't get 35 votes.

Another downside is to put Red state Democrats at great risk. Alito is an attractive figure to a majority of Americans. His favorables are more than double his negatives. The attempt to paint him as a racist was a complete failure. Requiring Bill Nelson and Mary Landrieu and other Red staters to support a filibuster will cost them politically.

Consider this piece of speculation on Hillary. Kerry, by forcing this, will require her to make an actual vote. The more votes she takes the less traingulation she can do. That is why the RNC is happy aobut this and why you'll be seeing many more votes. Voting FOR a filibuster will help her in the primary. It will hurt her after she gets the nomination. If she's not forced to vote she can suggest one thing in the primary and other after.

This is why it's hard for Senators to win. They have a voting record. Kerry and Rove want a lengthier record. We areee that record might appeal to you but neither you nor I swing elections. What will the middle think? We know they don't think he's a racist.

Posted by: rdw on January 27, 2006 at 1:52 PM | PERMALINK

How does a preference for "competitive" parties breed a preference for parties not to actually contest issues forcefully?

In this particular case, the issues that separate Alito from the left half of the Democratic party seem to show that Alito is in the "mainstream" and the Democrats are not. If the Democrats wish to contest forcefully those issues in which they are the minority, it will weaken them. I should add that in California the Republican primaries generally favor candidates so out of the mainstream that they favor eliminatiion of all abortions. The mainstream majority is for a few restrictions, such as prohibitiion of partial birth abortions (which are usually billed under a different name.)

I love it when political contestants contest the issues forcefully. I look forward to when the Democrats decide which alternative to the Republican prescription drug plan they want to rally around and pursue forcefully; in the 2004 election there was a slight preference for the Republican plan over Kerry's proposal, but perhaps that will change this year -- hundreds of people are having trouble getting used to the Republican plan, out of the millions who are covered. I would also like to see the Democrats forcefully advocate for Kerry's energy plan of 2004; it has hardly been mentioned, then or since.

I expect that by Nov. of 2006 Alito will have written a majority opinion that almost everyone agrees with (perhaps overturning Kelo? or Raich?) and all the Democrats who voted against him will look like the same fools they were during the confirmation hearings. That's just a prediction; only time will tell. Other commentators have predicted that his opinions and votes will enhance the Democrats.

Posted by: contentious on January 27, 2006 at 1:59 PM | PERMALINK
Honest originalism? Is that like the unicorn?

Well, no. There are certainly mostly honest originalists among legal scholars, and probably a few among judges. Not likely they'll pass any party's ideological litmus tests for nominations to the Supreme Court, though.

I'm not a legal scholar (nor do I play one on TV nor even on a blog), but it strikes me that a true focus on "original intent" is strictly speaking impossible. In this world of internet communications, railways and highways, just-in-time inventories, border-oblivious pollution, drug trafficking, not to mention the legal fiction of a corporate individual, can one even begin to imagine the Framers' response to modern interstate commerce?

The Framer's response to modern interstate commerce isn't really a proper focus for originalism, what is important is not how they would respond to what exists now, but what they intended then and how that applies logically to the new factual circumstances. And, yes, like any other interpretive theory, originalism, in practice, has some subjectivity to it. That's inescapable.

It has always struck me that arguments for so-called originalism or strict constructionism were cultural arguments by other means, and that the "activist judges" meme was only a front that could use to sell this idea to the people, since the idea of an allegdly powermad judiciary is a good cover for disagreeing with decisions.

Certainly, that's how that language has been used by policy entrepreneurs on the right, but its hardly unique to legal scholarship that ideas from field of study get adopted, distorted, and repackaged to sell policy agendas.

In this sense, the so-called originalists share an MO with the much more dangerously radical Constitution-In-Exile movement, and the intent of both is to move back the clock to values that one can make a historical argument were more prevalent in the Framers' day.

Since the Constitution-in-Exile movement is an extreme policy advocacy group that has adopted originalist rhetoric as a tool, its not surprising that the two groups would seem similar, superficially.

Originalists aren't asking how James Madison would interpret a modern statute -- since James Madison would undergo weeks of culture shock trying to understand the context in which it was drawn up, and at which point, he's no longer James Madison.

No, originalists aren't asking that question for a different reason -- a modern statutes original intent can't be determined by reference to James Madison. A real originalist would only look to Madison for evidence of the intent to something which Madison was involved with, like the Constitution, and only to understand how he meant it at the time, not what he would want to do in response to new facts.

Originalists are asking what James Madison's cultural values were.

Neither true originalists nor the fake kind using originalism as fig-leaf for an agenda that has nothing to do with any mode of interpretation except as a means to an end are particularly centralyl concerned with what James Madison's cultural values were, though either might cite evidence of what Madison intended in drafting a legislative enactment.

Posted by: cmdicely on January 27, 2006 at 2:21 PM | PERMALINK
You are forcing Reid to go entirely against conventional wisdom.

Well, certainly the conventional "wisdom" of political surrendrism that has led the Democrats to defeat time and again, sure.

Note, that the Republicans have been defying that same conventional "wisdom" since they were in the Congressional minority, and its a big part of the reason why they got and maintained the majority.

If you're always and obviously sticking your finger in the air seeing where the wind is blowing rather than at least seeming to be standing up for what you believe is right even when the vote will go against you, its pretty hard to drive the agenda anywhere, or to gain any credibility as having principles.

Now, those who favor the kind of cautious politicking that has been the Democratic "conventional wisdom" at least since the Republicans secured a Congressional majority, and all too often even before that, will say that its a tactical move, that its a way of avoiding losing elections, securing a majority, and then, once that's secured, is the time to pursue policies based on true values.

But I think the evidence has, again and again, shown that that doesn't work, so not only isn't it particularly principled, but its just bad tactics.

Posted by: cmdicely on January 27, 2006 at 2:27 PM | PERMALINK

cmdicely wrote this: The filibuster, in and of itself, isn't going to do much politically; any strong and principled opposition -- with or without the filibuster -- could be used politically to set up strong difference of principal for the 2006 elections, and work to the benefit of the Democrats.

I think it's interesting that you think the filibuster will have little political effect. Most others seem to think that it will have a strong effect, either for or against the Democrats.

Do you think that opposition to Alito will work to the advantage of the Democrats, as opposed to "could" work to the advantage of the Democrats. I think it will work to the disadvantage of the Democrats, foremost because it will illuminate and possibly exacerbate the differences among themselves.

Posted by: contentious on January 27, 2006 at 2:37 PM | PERMALINK

Lee wrote of Al: " "overturn Roe vs Wade and Griswold to save the unborn from murder"
You can follow the logic on Roe, but Griswold--to save the unconceived from not being conceived?"

It really does help to know what the other side actually thinks (not that Al is much help), especially if (as in the, ahem, abortive filibuster against Alito's confirmation) you want to make an effective difference with 'em.

You want to beat those guys? Show them some RESPECT.

As a matter of theology, this all starts with Catholic doctrine, developed vaguely over centuries and finally codified by the late Pope JPII starting when he was a cardinal (he was the only member of the Papal Commission set up for this in the 60s who never went to a meeting, and then his dissent became doctrine): sex has two divinely granted functions, the "unitive" and the "procreative". BOTH must be present, or else a sexual act -- ANY act, including those between loving married couples -- is a sin.

That is to say, no blowjobs, ever.

Even the vaunted Father J.P. Murray, the most famous modern Americanist (and a key supporter of JFK's take on the separation of Church and State) argued against legalizing contraception in the years before Griswold.

Making the CONSTITUTIONAL case for the connection between Roe and Griswold was vital. We failed.

After Roberts' confirmation, I think the chance is lost for Democrats to talk about religion in SCOTUS politics sensibly, if only because Biden, et al, couldn't seem to ask a cogent question, and of course the subj. itself lends itself to sniggering. (Whether Democrats would gain by branding ourselves as the Blowjob Party is, er, an open question.) But it IS the core issue -- privacy -- and that IS the underlying theology of it.

Most Christians reject the Catholic doctrine, while few can parse it (but no Catholic CAN reject it, and remain in communion with the Church: it's an authoritarian institution: this is why the potential for a Kerry to be denied communion is real).

[As it happens, this is why I'm "theAmericanist" in threads -- it denotes the only heresy ever formally condemned by a Pope which originated in this country, the idea that religious liberty, free speech, and the separation of Church and State have a moral value.]

Roberts notwithstanding, I've never seen an intelligible argument that explains how Roe can be overturned without eroding Griswold -- if a state has authority to ban abortions, how can they not have authority to ban contraception or gay sex?

Father Neuhaus notes that what he calls "bricolage" (dismantling the God-given purpose for sexuality like a tinker toy) began with Griswold: first contraception for married couples, then unmarried couples, then abortion, then homosexuality, and soon cloning and growing body parts from babies in labs...

There 65 million American Catholics.

Progressives need to learn to ask HARD questions, simply and bluntly. The Alito nomination, like Roberts before, is an excellent bad example.


.

Posted by: theAmericanist on January 27, 2006 at 2:41 PM | PERMALINK
Do you think that opposition to Alito will work to the advantage of the Democrats, as opposed to "could" work to the advantage of the Democrats.

Opposition alone is not enough; strong, well-articulated, principled opposition on this issue -- even if it fails -- along with such opposition on other issues would work to Democrats values. Simply throwing up a procedural roadblock without articulating the argument forcefully, and without follow through on other issues, won't do anything good, and depending on how badly its mishandled, may be bad. Asking for simple answers to "is opposing this good or bad" is pointless. The world isn't that simple.

Posted by: cmdicely on January 27, 2006 at 2:45 PM | PERMALINK
As a matter of theology, this all starts with Catholic doctrine, developed vaguely over centuries and finally codified by the late Pope JPII starting when he was a cardinal (he was the only member of the Papal Commission set up for this in the 60s who never went to a meeting, and then his dissent became doctrine): sex has two divinely granted functions, the "unitive" and the "procreative". BOTH must be present, or else a sexual act -- ANY act, including those between loving married couples -- is a sin.

This is a (fairly common) misstatement of the theology. Its actually more that deliberate frustration of either function is a sin (generally; there is, for instance, a distinction between "natural" avoidance -- or incidental rather than purposeful "artificial" interference -- of procreation in choosing, e.g., the time of the act, which is licit for proportional reasons, and purposeful "artificial" intereference with the procreative function, which is always illicit.)

[As it happens, this is why I'm "theAmericanist" in threads -- it denotes the only heresy ever formally condemned by a Pope which originated in this country, the idea that religious liberty, free speech, and the separation of Church and State have a moral value.]

That's an incorrect statement of what was condemned as heretical. What was condemned was not that those things might have value, but that total indifference to system of belief and worship, absolute and universal disestablishment, etc., were properly held as absolute moral ideals.

Roberts notwithstanding, I've never seen an intelligible argument that explains how Roe can be overturned without eroding Griswold -- if a state has authority to ban abortions, how can they not have authority to ban contraception or gay sex?

Quite easily, if the state is seen as having a legitimate interest in protecting fetuses.

Posted by: cmdicely on January 27, 2006 at 3:03 PM | PERMALINK

Well, certainly the conventional "wisdom" of political surrendrism that has led the Democrats to defeat time and again, sure.

Note, that the Republicans have been defying that same conventional "wisdom" since they were in the Congressional minority, and its a big part of the reason why they got and maintained the majority.

They got the majority because they came up with an agenda called the Contract with America which tied the party back to Reagan. Newt played the rabble-rouser well but that's not what led to '94. He not only has a unified theme he had a unified party.

With Alito there are no articulated principles aside from Alito being conservative. The Senate hearing were dreadful. Every political comedian torched the Democrats and they're still doing it. The ABA give him their highest ratings and all who worked with him and for him give him enthusiastic support.

The CW is you don't fight until you bleed unless there is some chance of victory or some gain. That doesn't exist here. The CW is to fight the fights you can win and save your powder in losses. You are recommending Harry please 15% - 20% of the electorate he already owns and to chance offending the other 80%.

You are down to 44 Senators for a reason. You forced Tom Daschle and Max Cleland, among others, to vote blue state as they were getting ready to stand before red state voters. If you still had Daschle and Cleland you probably would be able to sustain a filibuster.

Bill Nelson is comfortable now in Florida. Force him to support a filibuster and he will be less popular. Keep at it and that Red State will vote in the GOP candidate.


Posted by: rdw on January 27, 2006 at 3:13 PM | PERMALINK

Opposition alone is not enough; strong, well-articulated, principled opposition on this issue -- even if it fails -- along with such opposition on other issues would work to Democrats values. Simply throwing up a procedural roadblock without articulating the argument forcefully, and without follow through on other issues, won't do anything good, and depending on how badly its mishandled, may be bad
.

What on earth makes you think there's anyone in he senate capable of making a strong well- articulated statement? Did you see the hearings. Set aside for a minute many of these Senators are running against each other for President and they all trail Hillary. Desperation does not breed cooperation.

You don't have a single Senator capable of delivering a strong message. Kerry came back from Davos and misstated two of Alito's rulings and critized one in which he joined the majority and then O'Connor voted with him. He made it clear he does not understand the unitary executive. But even if he did so what. Are more that 1.5% of Americans concerned at all about the Unitary executive?

The longer you fight the more exposed to ridicule. They can't win here. This is not a principled stand. It's a petty pity party.

Posted by: rdw on January 27, 2006 at 3:24 PM | PERMALINK

LOL -- Cm doesn't know what he's talking about, but I won't personalize the thread with his errors.

Posted by: theAmericanist on January 27, 2006 at 3:29 PM | PERMALINK

Cmdicely,

here's what you are in for.

Quote of the Day


White House Spokesman Scott McClellan, on John Kerrys pathetic call for a filibuster of Judge Alitos nomination:

I think it was a historic day yesterday. It was the first ever call for a filibuster from the slopes of Davos, Switzerland.

Democrats will be able to muster no more than 35, correction, 33 votes for a filibuster, and probably even fewer than that.

-- PoliPundit

Kerry is so toast. How can he not know? Does he understand most Americans look at Davos with a strong measure of contempt? I suspect not. It's been reported he flew over and back in a private plane. Look for him to be asked about this the next time he runs his mouth on Global Warming.

It is simply assinine to lose with only 33 votes. That's not principled. That's a waste of time. That's inept.

Posted by: rdw on January 27, 2006 at 3:32 PM | PERMALINK

cmdicely:

> "Honest originalism? Is that like the unicorn?"

> Well, no. There are certainly mostly honest originalists
> among legal scholars, and probably a few among judges.
> Not likely they'll pass any party's ideological litmus
> tests for nominations to the Supreme Court, though.

Alright then Chris, what is your opinion as a law
student of what is originalism properly understood?

> The Framer's response to modern interstate commerce
> isn't really a proper focus for originalism,

Well it's certainly a focus of the Constitution-in-Exile movement,
who want to severely restrict economic regulations based on the
Interstate Commerce Clause, which expanded after 1937. For instance,
their argument in the Colorado medical marijuana case two SCOTUS terms
ago argued by a CiE front group is essentially the same arguemnt Alito
made in the machine gun case -- that an individual's use of something
proscribed by interstate commerce didn't affect interstate markets.
As I understand it, the SCOTUS's majority decisions in both cases
used similar reasoning that they did. If you purchase a machine gun
(or use locally grown marijuana for a health condition), it inevitably
affects local markets which in turn affect regional markets. Forgive
me if my summary here is too generalized; I'm doing this from memory.

> what is important is not how they would respond to what
> exists now, but what they intended then and how that applies
> logically to the new factual circumstances. And, yes, like
> any other interpretive theory, originalism, in practice,
> has some subjectivity to it. That's inescapable.

I guess what I'm having trouble with is how one finds logical
analogies with entirely unforseeable sets of factual circumstances.
How do radically unforseeable facts fit into a logical framework
premised not by intrinsic rightness, but by original intent?

I'm doubtless missing something fundamental
here regarding basic legal reasoning.

> "It has always struck me that arguments for so-called
> originalism or strict constructionism were cultural
> arguments by other means, and that the "activist judges"
> meme was only a front that could use to sell this idea
> to the people, since the idea of an allegdly powermad
> judiciary is a good cover for disagreeing with decisions."

> Certainly, that's how that language has been used by policy
> entrepreneurs on the right, but its hardly unique to legal
> scholarship that ideas from field of study get adopted,
> distorted, and repackaged to sell policy agendas.

Okay then, so what's wrong with my thesis that the true underlying
intent here is to push the courts backward to an allegdly more pure
age -- which is, of course, a time-honored conservative preoccupation.

> In this sense, the so-called originalists share an
> MO with the much more dangerously radical Constitution-
> In-Exile movement, and the intent of both is to move
> back the clock to values that one can make a historical
> argument were more prevalent in the Framers' day.

> Since the Constitution-in-Exile movement is an
> extreme policy advocacy group that has adopted
> originalist rhetoric as a tool, its not surprising
> that the two groups would seem similar, superficially.

Well but my specific observation is that the intent of both
originalists and indeed any other conservative advocacy group
which uses the cover of originalist rhetoric seems to do so
at the behest of the set of values out of which American was
born -- values purer, less corrupted, than current values.

In other words, a primarily cultural argument. How is this wrong?

> "Originalists aren't asking how James Madison would interpret a
> modern statute -- since James Madison would undergo weeks of
> culture shock trying to understand the context in which it was
> drawn up, and at which point, he's no longer James Madison."

> No, originalists aren't asking that question for a different
> reason -- a modern statutes original intent can't be determined
> by reference to James Madison. A real originalist would only
> look to Madison for evidence of the intent to something which
> Madison was involved with, like the Constitution, and only
> to understand how he meant it at the time, not what he
> would want to do in response to new facts.

Okay -- James Madison would only be of value in trying to understand
the true meaning of the Constitution, got it. But then, in applying
the Constitution to the statute in question, you're already out of
Madisonville and into a set of circumstances for which asking the
question of Madison would be, as you say, undeterminable. So what's
the point of this exercise, then? What am I (glaringly) missing?

> "Originalists are asking what James Madison's cultural values were."

> Neither true originalists nor the fake kind using originalism
> as fig-leaf for an agenda that has nothing to do with any mode
> of interpretation except as a means to an end are particularly
> centralyl concerned with what James Madison's cultural values
> were, though either might cite evidence of what Madison
> intended in drafting a legislative enactment.

I dunno, Chris. Wouldn't that kind of be the whole point?
To discover a world of values less corrupted than our own?

Otherwise, why would original intent even have a purpose?

Bob

Posted by: rmck1 on January 27, 2006 at 3:41 PM | PERMALINK

Americanist:

Take your insufferable arrogance and either suppress it and have a civil discussion -- or STFU. If you feel Chris Dicely's wrong -- demonstrate it with an argument. Preening about it makes you look like an ass.

Bob, on behalf of the Political Animal regular bloggers.

Posted by: rmck1 on January 27, 2006 at 3:47 PM | PERMALINK

音乐教育,科学发声方法
声乐科学,娱乐行业,音乐教育

美术知识,画图技巧

Posted by: f343dfd on January 27, 2006 at 3:53 PM | PERMALINK

cmdicely, Americanist:

> "[As it happens, this is why I'm "theAmericanist" in threads -- it
> denotes the only heresy ever formally condemned by a Pope which
> originated in this country, the idea that religious liberty, free
> speech, and the separation of Church and State have a moral value.]"

> That's an incorrect statement of what was condemned as
> heretical. What was condemned was not that those things
> might have value, but that total indifference to system
> of belief and worship, absolute and universal disestablishment,
> etc., were properly held as absolute moral ideals.

Looks like there's some serious hairsplitting going on here,
because I can't see a shred of daylight between these two positions.

If separation of Church and State has a moral value, than universal
disestablishment is a moral ideal -- since the two are synonymous.

Bob

Posted by: rmck1 on January 27, 2006 at 3:57 PM | PERMALINK

no to filibustering alito? are the democrats waiting for bush to appoint the ACTUAL antichrist to the sup. ct. before they dust off their cajones?

here's a great chance for the dems to frame the national discussion around abortion, executive power, civil liberties, etc. refusing to fight cedes the ground, once again, to the GOP.

sometimes I truly hate the democratic party.

Posted by: mencken on January 27, 2006 at 4:09 PM | PERMALINK

From today's White House briefing:

Q: Can I also ask you, on Senator Kerry's comments, what is your reaction to the filibuster call by Senator Kerry, on Judge Alito?
MR. McCLELLAN: On his call yesterday? It was a pretty historic day. This was the first time ever that a Senator has called for a filibuster from the slopes of Davos, Switzerland. I think even for a Senator, it takes some pretty serious yodeling to call for a filibuster from a five-star ski resort in the Swiss Alps. (Laughter.)

Posted by: GBH on January 27, 2006 at 4:33 PM | PERMALINK

It's pretty sad when the most incisive commentary on Political Animal comes from Otter of Animal House. Really stupid and futile gesture, indeed.

Posted by: GBH on January 27, 2006 at 4:38 PM | PERMALINK

UPDATE 3: And Joe Biden (D-DE) too. Down to 32.


With Joe Biden taking the opposite side this is more than embarrasing. It's one thing to pick a fight you can't win and go down iin a valiant attempt. This is a brutual ass kicking.

Posted by: rdw on January 27, 2006 at 5:16 PM | PERMALINK

Strip Search Sammy will fit right in on Dubya's Island.

Posted by: Apollo 13 on January 27, 2006 at 5:26 PM | PERMALINK

Well, I, for one, am really upset because that "elitist" Senator is in Davos, Switzerland. We have plenty of fine American ski areas which also have space in which to hold international economic conferences.

So, I have no sympathy for that "elitist" Senator "Saxby" Chambliss being in Davos.

I, personally, have skiied Davos and will never be able to live down that "elitist" aura.

Posted by: thethirdPaul on January 27, 2006 at 5:28 PM | PERMALINK

Of course, I know that good ole boy Saxby was only there for the conference - His "football knee", which kept him out of the military, never would have allowed him to schuss and cavort on the slopes.

Posted by: thethirdPaul on January 27, 2006 at 5:35 PM | PERMALINK

rdw fits in on Dubya's Island, too.

3rd Paul,
You think the NSA eavesdropped on Kerry's telephone calls from Davos?

The Repubs are hot to get Strip Search Sammy on the court ASAP. He's just the guy to affirm that King George is above the law.


Posted by: Apollo 13 on January 27, 2006 at 5:36 PM | PERMALINK

mencken,

They're not refusing to fight. They're giving it everyhing they have. They're getting their ass kicked. What more could they say than hasn't already been repeated 20x's?

Posted by: rdw on January 27, 2006 at 5:40 PM | PERMALINK

Man, some folks are just ... odd. Bob bitches: "If you feel Chris Dicely's wrong -- demonstrate it with an argument."

I don't "feel" he's wrong -- I know what I'm talking about, and he doesn't. Strive to emulate this distinction. (It just seems silly to get personal about this sorta thing with a dummy.)

Dicely wrote: "What was condemned was not that those things might have value, but that total indifference to system of belief and worship, absolute and universal disestablishment,
etc., were properly held as absolute moral ideals..."

This just ain't so.

The nature of 'the Americanist heresy' gets a bit complex, since it was dropped down the memory hole in a bit of deft manoeuvering by Cardinal Gibbon (the principal Americanist who gave his imprimatur to the Baltimore Catechism): the Pope condemned the heresy in an 1899 letter to Gibbon, without -- quite -- saying what it was, much less who the heretics were. No fool, the Cardinal promptly replied: Good thing nobody 'round HERE thinks anything like that, boss!

Then Gibbon told Bishop Ireland, who wanted to continue the good fight, to STFU. (In proper ecclesiastical language, of course.) For folks who really care, it's a fascinating subject (involving Teddy Roosevelt and a Prussian version of the al Qaeda model, if you really wanna know: email me.)

The Readers Digest version: for centuries, political power in Christendom had depended on, and been expressed in, control over Popes and bishops. By the 19th century, this had finally failed, thank God -- at one point Pius IX excommunicated the entire Italian Army in precisely the way some American bishops want to excommunicate pro-choice Catholic Senators.

But in America, there was already a lively tradition separating Church and State -- starting in Maryland, a colony ostensibly founded for Catholics to worship freely (which the actual colonists didn't much like, being as how Bloody Mary was still a living memory). John Carroll, the first American Catholic bishop (whose brother signed the Declaration)refused to condemn "all heresies and heretics" in his investiture, simply because as a patriot, he would NOT say that George Washington was going to hell.

By 1854, Pius IX issued his "Syllabus of Errors", which included on a long list of things incompatible with salvation: religious liberty, freedom of speech, and the separation of church and State.

In those years, there was a boom in American Catholicism -- primarily through Irish immigration (which prompted the Know-Nothings), but also through a revival among German origin foreign stock in places like Milwaukee. (There was an effort to create a kind of Germania in America: that Prussian al Qaeda thing, which Gibbon broke in a walk on the Jersey shore with President Harrison.)

When a biography of the priest (Hecker, founded the Paulists) who helped that boom was published, the French grabbed it as a club to beat the Pope with. He responded by attacking Americanists, who were weak on that whole Syllabus of Errors thing, having abolished slavery in the Civil War (which the Vatican didn't think much of, having lost their own civil war): "The underlying principle of these new opinions is that, in order to more easily attract those who differ from her, the Church should shape her teachings more in accord with the spirit of the age and relax some of her ancient severity and make some concessions..." Lots of half-educated Catholics figure that "Americanism" is the same as "Modernism"; it ain't.

Among these new opinions were that: "allowance be granted the faithful, each one to follow out more freely the leading of his own mind and the trend of his own proper activity.... such liberty has its counterpart in the newly given civil freedom..", which had been condemned by the Syllabus as incompatible with salvation.

Leo XIII wasn't exactly subtle about it, kvetching: "the assumed right to hold whatever opinions one pleases upon any subject and to set them forth in print to the world, have so wrapped minds in darkness that there is now a greater need of the Church's teaching office than ever before..."

Thus, to the boffo finish -- for freedom and progress to have "real existence and growth, can only be on the condition of recognizing the wisdom and authority of the Church....", which Leo noted, could not allow that "the Church in America to be different from what it is in the rest of the world."

Being as how this was exactly what Ireland and Gibbon had been preaching, that voting in America was a moral duty, that the First Amendment was a good thing, well: there ain't much TO Dicely, now is there?

Since the Vatican's position then, and through Vatican II continued to be, that the Syllabus was correct to condemn religious liberty, freedom of speech, and the separation of church and state as incompatible with salvation (as, in fact, it did also with divorce, labor unions, and legal contraception), I'm right and Dicely is wrong.

It helps not to confuse rationalization with doctrine. There is NO Catholic doctrine -- none -- which explains how it is moral to vote for legalized divorce and contraception, but not for legal abortion or same sex marriage.

That's why I figure the Democrats blew the chance with Roberts: we should treat people of faith with that level of respect that bothers to UNDERSTAND it, and ask the hard questions.

But there's no point in intellectual armwrestling with folks like Dicely who dunno their asshole from their elbow. So I didn't want this to be personal, which I figure it HAS to be, since it is only tangential to the thread. (Being as how, if Dicely had actually thought about my post, he'd have AGREED. Or does he think making a cartoon of the guys who beat us is a sound tactic?)

More clear now?

Posted by: theAmericanist on January 27, 2006 at 5:44 PM | PERMALINK

Apollo 13,

Kerry, yes, shifty European look - Saxby, never - he appears too much like a Solon (from Central Casting) fits his suits much better than his predecessor, for some reason.

Posted by: thethirdPaul on January 27, 2006 at 5:54 PM | PERMALINK

That bad knee of Saxby's kept him out of Vietnam. Didn't seem to bother him when he was dirty bombing Max Cleland. I hope there's a special place in hell for Saxby Chambliss.

Posted by: Apollo 13 on January 27, 2006 at 6:15 PM | PERMALINK

"special hell for Saxby"

And may Ralph Reed be sitting there with him. Never will forget his comment on Crossfire, when he said "Well, I didn't know this election was about medals".

Ooh, another "elitist" at Davos for the conference. It's that "liberal" from Medina, Bill Gates. Quick, NSAers, start monitoring.

Posted by: thethirdPaul on January 27, 2006 at 6:26 PM | PERMALINK
I dunno, Chris. Wouldn't that kind of be the whole point? To discover a world of values less corrupted than our own?

For an originalist, as an interpretive theory, no, that's not the point, though I think it is the point for a lot of laypeople that are drawn in by originalist rhetoric by policy entrepreneurs.

Otherwise, why would original intent even have a purpose?

The purpose is that of maintaining government by a particular model of consent of the governed, in which enacts mean what they mean when enacted, and changes to that meaning are effected by new enactments. Its not to create a privileged time frame -- current enactments are viewed in light of their original intent, not how the framers would have understood them.

Posted by: cmdicely on January 27, 2006 at 7:05 PM | PERMALINK


By 1854, Pius IX issued his "Syllabus of Errors", which included on a long list of things incompatible with salvation: religious liberty, freedom of speech, and the separation of church and State.

This mischaracterizes the Syllabus. The idea that, as one example, no state could legitimately establish (or continue to keep established) the Catholic Church was held to be error; the idea that such separation might be the morally proper course for some particular states was not challenged.

Similarly, for the rest, it was the portrayal of these as universal absolutes that was condemned, not the idea that they might have instrumental moral value.

Which is a pretty uncontroversial position; few would argue that there are not limits to each of these, which could not be the case if they were absolute ideals, rather than having merely instrumental value.

Since the Vatican's position then, and through Vatican II continued to be, that the Syllabus was correct to condemn religious liberty, freedom of speech, and the separation of church and state as incompatible with salvation (as, in fact, it did also with divorce, labor unions, and legal contraception), I'm right and Dicely is wrong.

Er, no. The Catholic Church did not argue that religious liberty, freedom of speech, and the separation of Church and State were incompatible with salvation, it argued (and still does) that absolute liberty in these areas was not a moral ideal. It did not, and does not, deny that liberty in these areas has instrumental moral value (that is, that it may serve moral ends), and that the appropriate degree of liberty varies from place to place and time to time. This was contemporaneously elaborating, in regard to the Syllabus, by Bishop Dupanloup, to the praise of the Pope and other Bishops.

It helps not to confuse rationalization with doctrine. There is NO Catholic doctrine -- none -- which explains how it is moral to vote for legalized divorce and contraception, but not for legal abortion or same sex marriage.

Well, sure, but that's because those claiming that it is categorically, doctrinally wrong to vote for legally allowing the latter two are, rather obviously, badly confusing valid Church doctrine on what behavior is morally acceptable to engage in with a command that the state is obligate to punish, which is clearly erroneous. Punishment by the state can only be prudentially and contingently called for, and only based on the specific facts, conditions, and expected effects of a particular regulatory scheme; the moral character of an act, in and of itself, is clearly insufficient to command sanction by the state.

(Being as how, if Dicely had actually thought about my post, he'd have AGREED. Or does he think making a cartoon of the guys who beat us is a sound tactic?)

I think, actually, that this is a false dichotomy, irrelevant in substance to your advocacy, and I think, further, that there is no meaningful sense (even if you happen to be a registered Democrat) in which you and I are part of an "us" devoted to any substantive common cause, politically. At least, judging from your writings here and the abusive personal emails you've sent me.


Posted by: cmdicely on January 27, 2006 at 7:39 PM | PERMALINK

The Repubs are hot to get Strip Search Sammy on the court ASAP. He's just the guy to affirm that King George is above the law.

And you think George is as dumb as a post. What must Chucky think. George is appointing his get out of jail free card and he can't do a thing to stop him. All the while insurging there will never be another Ruth Bader on the court.

Posted by: rdw on January 27, 2006 at 8:01 PM | PERMALINK

Americanist, cmdicely:

> Man, some folks are just ... odd.

Indeed.

> Bob bitches: "If you feel Chris Dicely's
> wrong -- demonstrate it with an argument."

Woah ... civil debate on a blog.

> I don't "feel" he's wrong -- I know what I'm talking about,
> and he doesn't. Strive to emulate this distinction. (It just
> seems silly to get personal about this sorta thing with a dummy.)

You're an ass, Paul.

> "(Being as how, if Dicely had actually thought about
> my post, he'd have AGREED. Or does he think making a
> cartoon of the guys who beat us is a sound tactic?)"

> I think, actually, that this is a false dichotomy,
> irrelevant in substance to your advocacy, and I think,
> further, that there is no meaningful sense (even if you
> happen to be a registered Democrat) in which you and I
> are part of an "us" devoted to any substantive common
> cause, politically. At least, judging from your writings
> here and the abusive personal emails you've sent me.

He did the same thing to me, Chris. We disagreed about
foreign policy and I smelled something very funny about his
views of Islam. So he calls me an idiot publicly and sends
me an email, letting me know he's published interviews in
the WaPo and the National Review. As if, you know, I would
collapse in reverence to his greater wisdom on the subject.

What an insufferable twat.

You thoroughly kicked his ass, btw. Good show :)

Bob

Posted by: rmck1 on January 27, 2006 at 8:09 PM | PERMALINK

"special hell for Saxby"

And may Ralph Reed be sitting there with him. Never will forget his comment on Crossfire, when he said "Well, I didn't know this election was about medals".

Max voted the wrong way on national security and he paid the price. When one is a Red State Democrat one must take precautions. Max got stupid. The ads were very fair. He choose to put politics before National Security. You can do that in NY. You can't do that in GA.

Look for more than a few Democrats to regret their vote on Alito, especially the filibuster. It's so interesting that Frist AND Kerry want this filibuster vote. Let's get everyone on the record. No boviating. Put your vote where your mouth is. Mark Prior is too smart to filibuster. Let's see if Bill Nelson and Blanche Lincoln are as smart.

Don't worry about Ralph Reed. He will be the next lieut-governor of GA and after that Governor or Senator and after that will run for President.

Posted by: rdw on January 27, 2006 at 8:16 PM | PERMALINK

Since the Vatican's position then, and through Vatican II continued to be, that the Syllabus was correct to condemn religious liberty, freedom of speech, and the separation of church and state as incompatible with salvation

DECLARATION ON RELIGIOUS LIBERTY

THE GENERAL PRINCIPLE OF RELIGIOUS FREEDOM

The Vatican Council declares that the human person has a right to religious freedom. Freedom of this kind means that all men should be immune from coercion on the part of individuals, social groups and every human power so that, within due limits, nobody is forced to act against his convictions nor is anyone to be restrained from acting in accordance with his convictions in religous matters in private or in public, alone or in associations with others. The Council further declares that the right to religious freedom is based on the very dignity of the human person as known through the revealed word of God and by reason itself.

Vatican II, Dignitatis Humanae, 7 December, 1965

Also, just an observation, you may not want to drink and post.

Posted by: Windhorse on January 27, 2006 at 8:33 PM | PERMALINK

3rd Paul,
I'm in total agreement about Ralph Reed. He's the ultimate R-hypocrite complete with ties to Abramoff scams. Get this. His spokeswoman, Lisa Baron, writes downright ribald columns here in HotLanta. I checked 'em out but her articles are loaded with girlie talk. I managed to get through a few. Ribald example from, "My big cavernous pit of love:

I swear I dont have a big vagina, but over the Thanksgiving holiday, I told my father-in-law I did."
Lisa adds a new spin on family values that should enhance Ralph Reed's Christian conservative creds. Heh.


Posted by: Apollo 13 on January 27, 2006 at 9:03 PM | PERMALINK

Ya know, it would help if you guys practiced literacy, e.g., I noted "through Vatican II..." and Windhorse quoted... Vatican II.

Just as an observation, Wind: you might not want to reply to posts (much less quote 'em), when you haven't, you know, READ 'em.

Dicely, desperate, sez: "The Catholic Church did not argue that religious liberty, freedom of speech, and the separation of Church and State were incompatible with salvation, it argued (and still does) that absolute liberty in these areas was not a moral ideal...."

Syllabus of Errors, "VI. ERRORS ABOUT CIVIL SOCIETY, CONSIDERED BOTH IN ITSELF AND IN ITS RELATION TO THE CHURCH ..."

"55. The Church ought to be separated from the State, and the State from the Church. -- Allocution "Acerbissimum," Sept. 27, 1852."

Kindly translate Extra Ecclesiiam Nulla Salus, Dicely, and stop being such a dope in public.

Look, like I said before: Dicely simply doesn't know what he's talking about, (this is why I quoted Popes) and for that reason, it's sorta silly to argue with him.

But there IS a larger point, which is: all politics is identity politics. Progressives have developed a real habit, talking amongst themselves, of posing as smarter, and better informed, and, I dunno, having greater insight into the world... than all those folks who have elected Republican majorities to the House and Senate, and this knucklehead into the White House.

You can see this in Bob -- he IDENTIFIES with Dicely "you totally kicked his ass", cuz that's what this is about for him.

I have a different approach. Like it or not, I don't post as "theAmericanist" for folks to identify WITH me.


Posted by: theAmericanist on January 27, 2006 at 9:13 PM | PERMALINK

Ya know, it would help if you guys practiced literacy, e.g., I noted "through Vatican II..." and Windhorse quoted... Vatican II.

I read the post. Did you mean to say "up until Vatican II when it changed?" Because then your point would be valid and my correction mistaken.

Instead you said "continued to be through Vatican II" which implies "not stopping there." In your parlance if a thing began in the 19th century and "continued to be through the 20th century" did it stop at the beginning of the 20th century?

Nice try though. I have a feeling you just got a little carried away.

BTW, thanks anyway for the whole "boot camp for progressives" thing you're trying to provide here. There are at least half a dozen regular posters to this blog who could get published in political mags if they put their minds to it, brilliant minds with insights to offer from their respective areas of study. Calling them dumb not only doesn't advance the cause, it reflects poorly on you and provides incentive to ignore your invective.

My experience is that participants here are more inclined to listen to ideas articulated thoughtfully without resorting to ad hominems. We are all driven to distraction by the current political situation, everybody here feels the pain.

Except rdw, who is happier than a riot cop at a G8 Summit.

Posted by: Windhorse on January 27, 2006 at 9:44 PM | PERMALINK

Or does he think making a cartoon of the guys who beat us is a sound tactic?

It doesn't like it at first blush, but making a cartoon out of Democrats is how Republicans won the last two elections ("Wooden Al" "Ozone Al" "Purple Heart Band Aids" "Windsurfing Kerry") and how they continue to win daily battles.

Maybe it's because the current crop of Dem leaders make it so easy.

Ask rdw, it's his specialty.

Posted by: Windhorse on January 27, 2006 at 9:51 PM | PERMALINK

Apollo 13,

Thanks for the links - Strange - "Told Ralph not to listen to my husband's show"? - sounds like a whole lot of "family values" there for Ralphie.

Posted by: thethirdPaul on January 27, 2006 at 10:07 PM | PERMALINK

Maybe it's because the current crop of Dem leaders make it so easy.

Quite true. The Senate judiciary committee is pitiful. Dean is worse. Al Gore and John Kerry were/are both bad actors who were able to get by as big fish in small ponds with the help of an overly friendly media. It did not help them that they constantly got away with white lies and exaggerations conservatives would have been hammered over. They never learned discipline.

The key factor is the powerful rise of the alternative media. Bill Clinton could not have been elected in this environment. He'd not have won a single primary. Talk radio is 3 networks now of 24 x 7 conservatism of some real sharp people including Bill Bennett, Laura Ingraham, Michael Medved, Glenn Beck, Tony Snow not to mention Rush and Hannity. Add in Fox, Washington Times and a few other new papers and then the force behind this, the internet.

There are major conservative writers I'd never heard of in the 80's I can now read almost daily including Mark Steyn, Victor Davis Hansen, Charles Krautenhammer, Thomas Sowell and others.

In the 80's and much of the 90's the networks had the 1st and last word. Dan Rather was a disaster. If the NSA 'scandal' broke in the 80's we'd all think we're getting wiretapped daily and GWB would be getting impeached. But I immediately knew the real story and GWBs solid legal position. That explains why a large majority support it.

A great example of the media impact is Kerrys recent filibuster announcement. In the 1980's ABC would never have reported he was in Davos at the time. Not in millon years would they have mentioned he went by private jet. Obviously that's not a remotely attractive image. One of our filthy rich Senators handing out with the rest of the filthy rich. Yet before John gets home the image is set. Scott Mccellen gets in a beautiul shot at him.

You cannot nominate liars or clowns. If you nominate Kerry, Gore, Clinton or Biden you will lose. They are cartoons. Warner seems to be a good candidate. Feingold is too far left but honest and sober. Evan Byah seems to be a good candidate. Pray Howard Ford is elected Senator from TN for he'd be terrific. You need more honest, moderate, sober people and recognize them.

Posted by: rdw on January 27, 2006 at 10:48 PM | PERMALINK

Except rdw, who is happier than a riot cop at a G8 Summit.

Also quite true. I love irony. Here is GWB. Possibly the dumbest President ever to hold office. His polls are in the toilet and he's having a bad year. He's weak politically. He goes and nominates the most conservative male he can find and what happens? The intellectually brilliant and morally superior Senate democrats form a circular firing squad and proceed to get off multiple rounds.

And the best part for me is next week, after it's all over and Justice Alito is hearing cases, you'll still be claiming the man is dumber than a post. You are down to 44 Senators and 202 congressmen yet he's the fool. You are the smart one.

What's not to like?

Posted by: rdw on January 27, 2006 at 11:01 PM | PERMALINK

As a grammatical point, a runner hits a triple when the ball lands in the outfield and he makes it safely through third. The use of "through" does not denote that he ended off base, nor does it mean that he made it safely home: 'safe through third' means a triple without a score. The implication is that either he didn't try for home or else he was out. 'Doctrine through Vatican II' means... it stopped there.

So, yeah, Wind: you misread it not only literally, but also from context. I had noted to Dicely (who really doesn't understand the stuff he talks about) that he misrepresented the Americanist heresy, which Leo XIII condemned in 1899.

Among other things, the Vatican had condemned the separation of Church and State as incompatible with Catholicism, and thus with salvation. Pressed, I did a fairly decent short sketch of the history of "Americanism" within Catholicism (Maryland, John Carroll, etc.), which is why I noted the Syllabus of Errors (1854).

Vatican II came after that. (Liberal scholars of Church history used to consider Vatican II as the triumph of Americanism, but that view has faded since JPII.)

My point, which you missed at least partly cuz Dicely couldn't miss an opportunity to miss one by speaking up, is that progressives would do well to show some respect to, for example, pro-life Catholics by actually understanding what they believe. Understanding also shows where the fault lines are, to press upon: Dicely doesn't even know that's what political argument is FOR.

Somebody had posted of Al, gee, being pro-life by opposing Roe makes sense cuz you're helping unborn babies get born, so in opposing Griswold would you be helping the unconceived?

So I noted it helps to understand the actual doctrine. (Which Dicely garbled -- but what's telling is that he even tried: the important part of the post was that we oughta respect the other side enough to understand 'em -- so why, exactly, was it useful to make a mistake correcting me on a narrow point of Catholic doctrine?)

Likewise -- it is actually significant, and directly related to Griswold and Roe and the Vatican and our Catholic majority Supreme Court, what the Americanist heresy MEANS.

Pro-choice Catholic politicians (as well as those who don't run for office) generally take the view that they are personally opposed to abortion, but respect the Constitutional authority that protects a woman's right to choose one.

As any number of proper Catholics point out, this is precisely what Catholic doctrine rejects -- not just for abortion, but also for same sex marriage: currently for the former, prospectively for the latter. (This is how Ratzinger got to be Pope, yanno.)

Yet this was also EXACTLY the doctrine for legalized contraception -- represented by no less than J.C. Murray, the most influential modern Americanist (and, as noted above, a key to JFK's Catholicism).

And it was true for legalized divorce, etc.

THAT would have been a productive line of inquiry with Roberts and/or Alito -- but look at what happened in this thread: I raised it, and Dicely promptly objected -- and got it wrong.

Identity politics, guys: identify yourself with people who don't know the facts, who misrepresent the other side, and who are eager to exclude, and you've pretty much lost the right to bitch when you lose elections.

Republicans and conservatives successfully caricature Democrats and liberals because so much of their cartoon is instantly recognizeable: we're like Dicely, getting it wrong, loudly.

Posted by: theAmericanist on January 27, 2006 at 11:12 PM | PERMALINK

3rd Paul: Thanks for the links...

My pleasure.

OK, back to the topic.

Filibustering Alito, Jan. 23, 2006, poll:

Of those surveyed, 48 percent said a Democratic filibuster of the nominee would not be justified, while 38 percent said it would be. Another 15 percent said they were not sure whether a filibuster -- the use of extended debate to block a Senate vote on the nominee -- would be justified. [Cite]
Although support for Alito increased from 49% to 54% just after the Senate hearings, Americans are "not sure" about some of Strip Search Sammy's POVs. So it's not over. Yet. Opinions can still shift. Yesterday:
A new CNN-"USA Today"-Gallup poll shows that 58 percent of Americans consider President Bush's second term a failure. And 51 percent of them say they're likely to vote for someone who opposes President Bush. [Emphasis added. Cite]
Opposing Alito and defying the Bushies works for me. It might work for the 51% who want an oppose Bush candidate, too. Alito favors unchecked presidential power, which will surely embolden George "so long as I'm the dictator" Bush. And that's not good. David Greenberg named it in 2004: "The Triumph of Anything Goes." Alito's theory of the unitary executive and the limits of power haven't been adequately explained in a meaningful way to the public, IMO. If they were, and let's hope they will be, it could mobilize voters to oppose Alito.

Even though Dems are mounting a belated opposition effort, some say it could backfire. I'm not convinced. If 44 Senate Dems represent a majority of Americans, then I'm all for Dems thwarting the confirmation process. Better late than never. My Georgia senators don't listen to me or represent me so I look for blue-state Dems to speak on my behalf. Otherwise, His Majesty remains on his throne unopposed and we will all lose. If Dems don't stand united in opposition to Bush, voters might also think, how can Dems vanquish our enemies? A legit leadership question.

Meanwhile, there's some crafty politics goin' on with this last-minute Alito filibuster. I beginning to wonder if this maneuver wasn't stealthily planned for dramatic, headline-grabbing effect. Hillary has joined the fight and that'll put this on the top of subjects for the weekend TV news programs and into Monday. There's that 15% "not sure" group among Americans on filibustering Alito. Could swing toward the Dem's POV with sufficient exposure and rhetoric.

Alito's stance on executive powers dovetails nicely with the NSA warrantless eavesdropping controversy. Dems can talk about two issues in one by shining the spotlight on Alito and how he could perpetuate presidential overreach, not to mention reverse Roe, civil rights, and workers' rights. I like the ninth-hour Hail Mary from blue-state Dems. Doesn't give Repubs much time to plot and scheme to reframe the argument with the usual noisemaking and kicking of sand in the umpire's eyes. So far what's been spewed is Kerry is going to get his "yodeling" ass kicked. But Dems have the megaphone while the WH responds with sophomoric potshots. Yodeling?!

Let's remind the 54% of Americans who think that Bush is a "divider," not a "uniter" by tweaking Bushie on the nose to see if we can rattle the Idiot King. Smile for the cameras, Chimpy. Maybe that percentage will grow.

Even if the Alito filibuster fails, opposition Dems could gain by reminding Americans that Repubs control the Senate. And that's good. Might make some voters ponder about changing the rubber-stamp Repub Senate, to throw the bums out, and give the controls to the Dems to keep Bush in check for the remainder of his term.

The Dems who have said they oppose the filibuster... aren't they from red states? Can't blame red-state Dems for letting the blue-state Dems champion the opposition.

Interesting this latest news on Dems:

"Why are we so compelled to accept in such a rush a nominee who so clearly has been chosen for political and ideological reasons?'' Kerry said in a floor speech today after he returned to Washington from the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland.
"I know this is flying against some of the political punditry in Washington. But this is a fight worth making,'' Kerry said.
Besides Kerry and himself, Kennedy said Senators Debbie Stabenow of Michigan and Paul Sarbanes of Maryland argued for a filibuster when Democrats held a caucus Jan. 25.
Reid said today he would vote against ending the filibuster. Using the parliamentary tactic is "an opportunity for people to express their opinions as to what a bad choice'' Alito was to replace O'Connor, Reid said.
California Democrat Dianne Feinstein, who had previously said a filibuster against Alito wouldn't be justified, today said in a statement she would vote against shutting off debate. [Bloomberg]
I love the way Reid twists the knife upon purloining a meaty point.

Bloomberg also reported that with eight Dems, Repubs have the votes to stop the filibuster. Do they? Do they really?

Heh.

Posted by: Apollo 13 on January 28, 2006 at 1:19 AM | PERMALINK

'Doctrine through Vatican II' means... it stopped there

Dang it, I wish I'd had you with me the last time I got pulled over: you could've explained to the nice officer that when the forward motion of my car "continued on through" the red light that it actually stopped there, if only semantically so.

But that's irrelevant. You broad point about respecting and understanding the beliefs and POV of the opposition in order to challenge them is well taken. Progressives do have a fatal tendency to dismiss opposing beliefs as unserious and unworthy of a charitable read, ostensibly because they pride themselves on their intellectual acumen or education, if not a revulsion to certain cultural tendencies they see as atavistic. The converse of that is the sneering populism of rdw and his ilk that abhors the ethos of long-hairs, college boys, and anyone to whom high culture appeals. Each end of the ideological spectrum is necessarily blind by birth to the motivations of the other, but you're correct in asserting that we need to overcome that weakness if we want to be successful.

The Republicans were able to discipline themselves by focusing their hunger to win elections. Democrats have been fat, dumb and happy so long that those organs have atrophied in them. I despair of some of the current representatives learning to disarm the other side through probing questions, skilled debate, or pithy put-downs. One way or another it has to happen though.

On another issue, let me point out where you're getting it wrong LOUDLY: Chris Dicely is not "dumb." I don't know him personally, but I've read his posts for months and they show a razor-sharp mind and informed viewpoints on a whole range of issues. He is an excellent analyst and skilled debater. By the same token Bob is not "illiterate." I do know a bit about Bob and quite the contrary he is probably one of the most well-read people I've encountered, and certainly on this blog. He is a fantastic writer with a broad knowledge of history and culture and a gift for syncretism.

You are really humiliating yourself by attempting to disparage either of these guys.

Your stumbling block is an arrogance that's unwarranted by your ability to get past your own anti-social tendencies, including your compulsion to get hung up on minor points and savage others over disagreements on technical matters. Is that what the disciplined Republicans do? Is this a "Scared Straight" technique?

Functionally, someone like you is as potentially destructive to party unity and prospects as any unskilled questioner in the Alito hearings.

If you want to be respected, you may want to get your house in order before telling others how to order theirs. It's clear you're knowledgeable and smart, why don't you practice what you preach and RESPECT those here who have goals similar to your own?

Posted by: Windhorse on January 28, 2006 at 1:29 AM | PERMALINK

Americanist:

> You can see this in Bob -- he IDENTIFIES with Dicely "you
> totally kicked his ass", cuz that's what this is about for him.

No, it actually isn't, Paul. All other things being equal,
I'd like to have a constructive discussion, and if somebody
has a broader knowledge base than I, so much the better.

It only becomes a matter of solidarity when mutually
enduring an abusive, authoritarian fuck like yourself.

The flame warrior stance is only a fallback position.

> I have a different approach. Like it or not, I don't
> post as "theAmericanist" for folks to identify WITH me.

Why *do* you post here? Why do you send people abusive emails?
It can't possibly help your case. It's the most natural reaction
in the world for peeple being browbeaten to tell that person to
fuck off -- regardles of the validity of their points. As someone
who calls himself an "Americanist," you really ought to appreciate
this, as that was the Colonists' response to the English throne.

> As a grammatical point, a runner hits a triple when the
> ball lands in the outfield and he makes it safely through
> third. The use of "through" does not denote that he ended
> off base, nor does it mean that he made it safely home: 'safe
> through third' means a triple without a score. The implication
> is that either he didn't try for home or else he was out.
> 'Doctrine through Vatican II' means... it stopped there.

You really are a fatuous ass. I've never heard a baseball announcer
say "he made it through third" when he meant "he made it to third."

The proper locution would have been UNTIL Vatican II. You got
caught with your pants down and you apparently lack the simple
grace to admit it and move on. You're the kind of person who
needs to be right about every single point no matter how trivial,
and people like that are so insufferable they wreck whatever
cause good bad or indifferent they happen to be championing.

Kind of, you know, like the Pope :)

> So, yeah, Wind: you misread it not only literally, but also
> from context. I had noted to Dicely (who really doesn't
> understand the stuff he talks about) that he misrepresented
> the Americanist heresy, which Leo XIII condemned in 1899.

But what's the point of this little history lesson, if
the doctrine was superceded by Vatican II? That you're a
grandiose showoff? That you can be as dogmatic as Leo XIII?

> Among other things, the Vatican had condemned the separation of
> Church and State as incompatible with Catholicism, and thus with
> salvation. Pressed, I did a fairly decent short sketch of the
> history of "Americanism" within Catholicism (Maryland, John
> Carroll, etc.), which is why I noted the Syllabus of Errors (1854).

Your rhetoric leaves something to be desired; all the breezy
nudge-nudge-wink-winks of your thumbnail made it less than
perfectly clear. Nor did you explain why it should be relevant.

> Vatican II came after that. (Liberal scholars of Church
> history used to consider Vatican II as the triumph of
> Americanism, but that view has faded since JPII.)

Hopefully we'll avoid another pointless donnybrook over
the meaning of the word "since," but surely JP II's support
of the Solidarity movement in Poland and his openings to
Rome's ancient enemies Israel and the Orthodox Church show
someone pretty devoted to the principles of freedom of
conscience laid out in what Windhorse posted from Vatican II.

> My point, which you missed at least partly cuz
> Dicely couldn't miss an opportunity to miss one
> by speaking up, is that progressives would do well
> to show some respect to, for example, pro-life
> Catholics by actually understanding what they believe.

The irony here is pretty astounding. How can you argue for granting
respect to people with whom we disagree when you show exactly zero
respect to your debating opponents? It's not enough for us to be
wrong, we also never miss an opportunity to be total idiots, etc.

This looks like nothing so much as the kind of projective
identification exhibited routinely by right-wing shills.

> Understanding also shows where the fault lines are, to press upon:
> Dicely doesn't even know that's what political argument is FOR.

Whereas you think the purpose of political argument is to thoroughly
destroy your opponents and leave them without a shred of dignity,
somehow expecting that afterwards they'll meekly defer to your
superior wisdom instead of wanting to brain you with a baseball bat.

Like I said, bro, you're a fatuous ass.

> Somebody had posted of Al, gee, being pro-life by opposing
> Roe makes sense cuz you're helping unborn babies get born,
> so in opposing Griswold would you be helping the unconceived?

American Catholics, no matter how conservative on a selected menu
of hot-button issues, are cafeteria Catholics and (surprise!)
*don't give a bonobo monkey's left butt cheek* about the doctrinal
bases for it either way. American Catholics quietly pass by the
controversies over the death penalty, just war doctrine, divorce and
contraception for marrieds even as they publicly exercise themselves
over abortion, stem cell research, the right to die and gay marriage.

Since, after all, we're talking politics, not theology.

> So I noted it helps to understand the actual doctrine. (Which
> Dicely garbled -- but what's telling is that he even tried: the
> important part of the post was that we oughta respect the other
> side enough to understand 'em -- so why, exactly, was it useful to
> make a mistake correcting me on a narrow point of Catholic doctrine?)

Because Chris' point is *not* narrow, and cuts to the heart of the
whole issue. There is a hugely significant difference between the
Church's moral doctrine for an individual congregant and for the
state. On issues of individual conscience, the Church draws hard
and fast lines, thus it's appropriate for them to say to a Catholic,
e. g., that they can't take communion if they support abortion. On
matters of the state, the Church's moral framework changes entirely,
and it becomes a matter of outcome, hence their teaching on both
just war and the death penalty -- both are justified in the right
circumstances. So it's an entirely different moral calculus for a
Catholic to weigh a politician's support for abortion along with a
whole host of other issues than it is for their personal decision.

It's called the Least Harm doctrine. If you oppose abortion
yourself and also believe that a pro-choice politician's views on
other issues of significance to the Church -- say, opposition to the
death penalty and support for economic justice -- balance that out,
you can be entitled to vote for him/her and also take communion.

> Likewise -- it is actually significant, and directly
> related to Griswold and Roe and the Vatican and our Catholic
> majority Supreme Court, what the Americanist heresy MEANS.

I would agree with you that I would have preferred the bloviators
on the Committee to press Alito on these matters of Catholic
doctrine, which might be much more significant to him than to
the average Catholic -- and which contradict the views of the
vast majority of the American laity no matter how conservative.

> Pro-choice Catholic politicians (as well as those who
> don't run for office) generally take the view that they are
> personally opposed to abortion, but respect the Constitutional
> authority that protects a woman's right to choose one.

Which have different consequences for a Catholic politician and
a Catholic voter. It's easier for a conservative bishop to argue
that John Kerry shouldn't take communion than it is that one of
his supporters shouldn't, in the context of their whole choice.

> As any number of proper Catholics point out, this is precisely
> what Catholic doctrine rejects -- not just for abortion, but
> also for same sex marriage: currently for the former, prospectively
> for the latter. (This is how Ratzinger got to be Pope, yanno.)

Ratzinger's first encyclical suprised liberals and conservatives
alike. While it's of course deliciously absurd to listen to a 74-
year-old lifetime celibate guy spout off (heh) about the "ecstasies
of erotic love," and while conservatives can always point out that
Ratzinger meant it in the context of monogamous lifetime marriage
between a man and a woman only -- the main point of that document
was about Catholic charity and doing good works. Everybody expected
it to be another rant at the collapse of Western civilization, but
it pleasantly surprised liberals. Don't forget that Ratzinger was
one of the more liberal voices during Vatican II (only becoming a
committed cultural conservative in the wake of the European youth
revolts of the late 60s). Maybe -- like O'Connor, Kennedy and Souter
-- and potentially like Roberts and Alito -- he'll grow in his
role to become less a doctrinal enforcer than a consensus builder.

Of course, if he's going to grow into his role he had better
start pronto, as he only has about a decade or so to do it ...

One can at least hope. John Paul II became a truly great pope. And
David Souter is the coolest New England batchelor who ever lived :)

> Yet this was also EXACTLY the doctrine for legalized
> contraception -- represented by no less than J.C.
> Murray, the most influential modern Americanist
> (and, as noted above, a key to JFK's Catholicism).

Except that there's a Least Harm element here that's a
no-brainer for nearly all Catholics. Think of Monty Python's
Every Sperm Is Sacred -- and needed in your neighborhood.
Does it really aid social morality to jack up the birth rates
in poor Catholic neighborhoods? American bishops have made
their peace with this and simply shut up about it, paying lip
service to Rome while hardly inveighing from the pulpit against
contraception. An entirely different imperative than abortion.

> And it was true for legalized divorce, etc.

Divorce will never be challenged in this country, by the Church,
the courts, the legislature or activist groups. The divorce rate
statistics may show a social harm, but the consequences of a bad
marriage are a personal harm. Too many people relate to that.

> THAT would have been a productive line of inquiry with Roberts
> and/or Alito -- but look at what happened in this thread: I
> raised it, and Dicely promptly objected -- and got it wrong.

Except that what you're doing here is not different in essence
than what Kennedy tried to do -- reveal a nefarious hidden agenda
well out of the American mainstream. Kennedy tried it with the
racist implications of membership in CAP; you'd like to see of
Alito takes orthodox Catholicism to an extent unshared by the
overwhelming majority of Catholics *despite* how strongly they
might feel about a selected menu of hot-button cultural issues.

> Identity politics, guys: identify yourself with people
> who don't know the facts, who misrepresent the other
> side, and who are eager to exclude, and you've pretty
> much lost the right to bitch when you lose elections.

Identify yourself with an authoritarian knowitall
who won't be gentlemanly enough to admit of error
even on minutiae of language -- and you've pretty
much lost the right to call yourself a progressive.

Too many authoritarian personalities identify with Bush as it is.

> Republicans and conservatives successfully caricature Democrats
> and liberals because so much of their cartoon is instantly
> recognizeable: we're like Dicely, getting it wrong, loudly.

But not nearly as stridently as yourself.

Bob

Posted by: rmck1 on January 28, 2006 at 4:00 AM | PERMALINK

Bob at 4 AM,

Firm and even-handed. Well done. I'm impressed. : )

Posted by: Apollo 13 on January 28, 2006 at 4:42 AM | PERMALINK

Americanist:

I'm sorry but I really can't resist beating this dead donkey:

> As a grammatical point,

*Grammatical* point? This has nothing whatsoever
to do with either grammar or syntax; this is about
the proper interpretation of a common expression.

Once again, another of your bogus appeals to authority.

> a runner hits a triple when the ball lands in the
> outfield and he makes it safely through third. The
> use of "through" does not denote that he ended off base,
> nor does it mean that he made it safely home: 'safe through
> third' means a triple without a score. The implication is
> that either he didn't try for home or else he was out.

Or else (or else, indeed) he was out trying to steal home plate!
Which would imply, duh ! , that he tried to go *beyond* third.

That's the only conceivable sense that the expression "safe
through third" would make. It implies that he was out at home.

Otherwise, "safe *at* third" would do just fine ... wouldn't it.

> 'Doctrine through Vatican II' means... it stopped there.

You're called out, bro. Any more lip outta
ya and the ump will eject you from the game :)

Bob

Posted by: rmck1 on January 28, 2006 at 7:20 AM | PERMALINK

Oy. Told ya Dicely was wrong, and the rest would get personal.

Despite a litany of personal attacks, the bottom line is pretty simple -- as noted, the gist of the Americanist heresy is NOT as Dicely described it, (that is, the heresy is the idea that civics has a value in itself, while the doctrine was -- and largely remains -- that outside the authority of the Church there is no salvation) and remains relevant to what moves American Catholics on abortion, as well as a number of other issues.

Except that, ya know, Bob and Dicely are shall we say, challenged, the divorce example is pretty telling: it was illegal in Italy (and most of Europe, cuz of the Church). Secular politicians moved to legalize it. The Pope (Casti Connubi) opposed legalizing it, with language and logic identical to that used against same sex marriage, abortion, and contraception. They legalized it anyway -- and the Church more or less dropped the issue as a matter of political instruction for the faithful.

Knowing THAT, is precisely the key to an approach toward the 65 million American Catholics that doesn't leave 'em open to, ya know, people who actually understand the doctrine condemning abortion as murder, yet who like Roberts) will support legalized contraception AS IF IT'S DIFFERENT.

That divorce is unlikely to be outlawed in the U.S., nor contraception (not since 1965, the Griswold decision that Roberts endorsed), PROVES MY FRIGGING POINT. (head desk) And yet -- you guys are bragging on it like it refutes me.

As for the personal stuff, well: don't say stupid stuff, and fewer folks will note you're stupid. Argue politics online from ignorance, and you shoulda oughta get used to being corrected harshly -- or consign yourselves to being hothouse flowers in a cold and blustery world.

In my experience, conservatives in general and Republicans in particular don't make this mistake, or at least make it in a different way: the Right generally thinks of itself as a movement, and for that reason people who identify themselves with that movement tend to immediately recognize and support tactics that advance the Cause.

For example, it was the late Barbara Jordan who first proposed breaking up the INS, Democratic congressman Silver Reyes who first proposed uniting Customs and the Border Patrol, and famously, Joe Lieberman who first proposed a Department of Homeland Security. I don't know any Republican or conservative who looked at this as a matter of principle -- so as soon as Bush flip-flopped to back it (name me a comparable progressive flip-flop: well?), virtually all Republicans happily exploited the Democratic confusion on a minor point (about union contracts) to turn a major vulnerability into a significant advantage.

Progressives in general, and progressive Democrats in particular, have a different set of intellectual habits in politics: we aren't moving, so we don't think of ourselves as a movement. (If words meant more, we'd actually be the conservative party, because we generally stand AGAINST changing our national commitments like welfare, affirmative action, environmental protections, etc.)

As you can see in this thread, our reflex is NOT to instantly recognize tactics that advance the Cause, e.g., Catholic doctrine and the SCOTUS, immigration, etc., but rather to say: hey who proposes such is not one of Us.

(Look at the attacks on Lieberman and Senator Clinton: folks who actually WIN elections. Imagine what that must be like, huh?)

That's why I noted that Dicely (not to mention Bob), are dumb.

Cuz that's stupid.

Posted by: theAmericanist on January 28, 2006 at 9:11 AM | PERMALINK

Bob, try to read this slowly. I shall use short words and simple sentences.

My observation about the history of the separation of Church and State in Catholic doctrine was accurate. (If that's too complex for you, I'm saying that "I was right.")

I noted that Wind misread what I had written both literally and in context. (That means "What I said was right and he didn't understand it.")

As Wind himself noted, the doctrine changed (sort of) with Vatican II. Since he didn't understand what I had written -- the literal meaning of the words -- he thought that this somehow contradicted what I had said. (That means "What I said was right and he didn't understand it.")

The way this works, you knucklehead, as a matter of forensics, is that in order for Wind to have been correct in catching me in an error, I would have had to say what he considered to have been false. Wind didn't bother to say what he thought that was, and he's caught on that he was wrong and I was right: the doctrine BEFORE Vatican II is not the doctrine AFTER Vatican II. (I suspect he will tell you that, if he wasn't caught up in the progressive compulsion to say "you're not one of US", he'd have figured that out before posting.)

The reason this isn't more clear from the documents, etc., is precisely why it is a fault line for American Catholics in particular, and for scores of millions of people of faith in general: authoritarian systems aren't very good at admitting error and making corrections. "Our doctrine has changed: We were always right" isn't persuasive to folks who THINK, which, oddly enough, is a pretty good paraphrase of JPII's dissent from the Papal Commission on Birth Control.

Bob, if you were literate, you'd know that is why I pointed to religious liberty, freedom of speech, the separation of church and state, divorce, contraception, abortion, and same sex marriage: because in EACH of these cases, the Vatican opposed (opposes) legalizing 'em as doctrines incompatible with salvation ... until they lost, when the practical policy changed without actually altering the doctrine.

That is where the Americanist heresy appeared: the idea that civics has a moral value in itself reconciles the imperatives of doctrine with the practical value of democracy. (Islam is confronting the same issues.)

Dicely denied that -- and got the history, and several doctrines, wrong. I ain't shy about pointing that out -- but, as noted, it's sorta silly to waste time arguing with folks too dumb to know why they're compulsively wrong.


Posted by: theAmericanist on January 28, 2006 at 9:26 AM | PERMALINK

Apollo 13,

Get out of the echo chamber. You are speaking nonsense. Frist has 65 votes and he only needs 60. All polling data show Alito supporters are double his detractors. Frist has already scheduled the cloture vote for Monday and the full vote the next morning.

The liberal media wanted to frame Kerry as their shinning knight coming back from across the sea to the rescue of Senate Democrats. No friggin chance. The image is of John-boy hopping off his private jet onto the slopes of Davos to hobnob with other filthy rich elitists. Fox played the McClennan quote extensively AND pointed out Johns preference for Private Jets.

Don't you just love it when the people who preach to us about fuel conservation NEVER practice what they preach? Of course this is about Alito but you got love those two for one shots.

Actually it's three for one. A large majority of Americans see Davos as the biggest collection of assholes in the world.

Here's how it works this weekend: Foxnews Sunday obviously does an entire segment on kerry/davos/jets as well as lead the round table discussion. Every GOP guest on the other shows will use the words Davos & private jets as often as possible and possibly 'Owl club'.


Here's some items:

Kent Conrad (D-ND) says hes leaning towards voting for Alito. If Chafee and Conrad vote for cloture, Democrats would be able to muster no more than 35 votes for a filibuster.

Add Daniel Akaka (D-HI) and Byron Dorgan (D-ND) to the list of filibuster opponents. 33 votes left.

And Joe Biden (D-DE) too. Down to 32.


Liberals have played every single aspect of this story badly.

1) The hearings were a disaster. The senators were killed on comedy TV and Alito gained 5%. Biden, Kennedy, Schumer, Feinstein, Leahy and Kohl all came off badly. Spector and Graham shined. The two visuals we'll see for years are of Ms. Alito in tears and Arlen telling Teddy to shove it.

2) The 40 votes against Alito (91%) of Democrats will require 91% of republicans vote against the next candidated offered by a Democratic President. That would be 50. Only need 41 for a filibuster. There will never be another Ruth Bader Ginsburg even nominated for the court.

3) The filibuster will require EVERY senator to take an oficial position they cannot deny later on. Now that Hillary is supporting a filibuster for a candidate receiving the ABA's goldest star can you see what Senate Republicans would do to a President Hillary's nominee?

4) Several Senators have taken positions against popular opinion in their states. Alito's favorables are double his unfavs. Take out CA, NY and a few other Northern States and they're 4x's or 5x's. Mary Landrieu hasn't announced yet but I dearly hope he supports the filibuster. Of course with New orleans losing 2/3 it's population she's not winning anyway but supporting the filibuster will seal that deal. Robert Byrd wouldn't even take that chance.

Posted by: rdw on January 28, 2006 at 9:36 AM | PERMALINK

Oh, yeah, for Wind's benefit: a tool in such discussions is to ask 'did he really mean to say...?'

I had an exchange with these clowns, plus Pale Rider, on another thread. In that exchange, I cited Jessica Lynch as a more or less typical American who is also (oddly enough) a more or less typical American soldier, somebody we're all proud of. (except, possibly, Dicely and Bob)

Pale Rider spoke up about how Lynch wasn't anything special, she had been injured in a "traffic accident", after all.

Wind, you'd have been better off, I think, asking yourself if I had really meant to say (as you sorta assumed I had) that the Vatican continued to condemn the separation of Church and States SINCE Vatican II. At the very least, that would have been an intelligent question to ask: grounded in what I'd actually said, and quite possibly productive.

I read what Pale DID say, and followed where it led: it's a bit much to insult folks who are injured in situations like Iraq if it's only by accident, don't ya think?

Michelle Malkin tried this when she said that Kerry's wounds in Vietnam were "self-inflicted", because IIRC, he threw a grenade that exploded too close to him. It's of a piece with the Republican conventioneers with their Purple Heart bandaids, with the attacks on Murtha.

Why would WE use a tactic so ugly? Why not ask ourselves, of ourselves, 'did he really mean to say that...'?

Posted by: theAmericanist on January 28, 2006 at 9:38 AM | PERMALINK

The top reactions to John Kerry's filibuster threat on Supreme Court nominee Samuel Alito, issued from the convention at Davos, Switzerland, on the day six Democrats indicated they would not support a filibuster:

1. Moe Lane, RedState: "I did not believe in the actual existence of Orbital Mind Control Lasers before this moment."

2. Nick Danger, RedState: "Here's the big debate over a Supreme Court Justice, and he's over in Switzerland skiing and hanging out with Ernst Stavro Blofeld."

3. Steve Z, RedState: "I guess I'm not familiar enough with arcane Senate rules, but doesn't a Senator have to physically BE in the Senate chamber to filibuster?"

4. Mark Steyn, on Hewitt: "He should stay in Switzerland. It's where he went to school. He could make a good Senator for Switzerland, maybe."

5. The Truth Laid Bear: "Kerry has become the Paris Hilton to Al Gore's Nicole Ritchie on the stage of American politics."

6. Don Stewart, a spokesman for Senator John Cornyn, a Texas Republican on the Judiciary Committee. "He just cinched this whole nomination. With Senator Kerry, it is Christmas every day."

7. Byron Yorks source, The Corner: "Fili-bluster."

8. DHinMI, Daily Kos: "I dont have his back. He calls for a filibuster on the very day it became clear that there are six Democrats who are opposed to a filibuster, therefore rendering the act craven, meaningless and a cloying attempt at populist fervor. If he really meant it to have any meaning, he would have said something prior to today."

9. Mogolori, Daily Kos: "If he's well enough to eat skim brie in Davos, he's well enough to find a microphone in his country of origin."

Posted by: rdw on January 28, 2006 at 9:49 AM | PERMALINK

What goes around comes around. In Virginia, I want junk yard dogs and I have two pussy cats in the Senate.

Posted by: Al Bee on January 28, 2006 at 10:40 AM | PERMALINK

Al Bee,

Don't be so glum. George Allen has an outstanding chance of being the next President.

Posted by: rdw on January 28, 2006 at 12:35 PM | PERMALINK

Americanist:

> Oy. Told ya Dicely was wrong, and the rest would get personal.

You're the one who's making this personal, not us. You're the
one who sent an abusive email to Chris Dicely. You're the one
who continues to namecall and belittle our intelligence when you
can choose to disagree agreeably without the ad hominem invective.

Chris notices this. So does Windhorse, Apollo 13 and doubtless
other lurkers. Whatever ad-hom you've received has been entirely
provoked. You have such a strenuous time admitting simple mistakes
that I'm beginnng to wonder if it's something genuinely pathological.

> Despite a litany of personal attacks,

The technical name for this is projective identification.

> the bottom line is pretty simple -- as noted, the gist of
> the Americanist heresy is NOT as Dicely described it, (that
> is, the heresy is the idea that civics has a value in itself,

Chris wasn't attempting to describe "the Americanist heresy," only
point out a common theological mistake attributed to Catholics. You
indulge in a form of intellectual narcissism that assumes that the
debate -- something had by more than one person -- is something you
get the unilateral right to define. It's our fault because you didn't
get your point across. And the debate functions only to the extent
that you get to force your opinion down our throats. I've had
discussions with people like this before. It's never pleasant and
usually indicative of something verging on genuine mental illness.

> while the doctrine was -- and largely remains -- that
> outside the authority of the Church there is no salvation)
> and remains relevant to what moves American Catholics
> on abortion, as well as a number of other issues.

I would argue that it doesn't, because 1) most Catholics have never
heard of "the Americanist heresy" nor concern themselves with the
potential that cornerstone American values conflict with the Church
and 2) that opposition to issues like abortion, the right to die,
stem-cell research and gay marriage are evaluated in their own
terms and not seen as part of any broad garment of Catholic doctrine.

> Except that, ya know, Bob and Dicely are shall we say, challenged,

Because we don't agree with you we're
challenged. More pathological narcissism.

> the divorce example is pretty telling: it was illegal in Italy
> (and most of Europe, cuz of the Church). Secular politicians
> moved to legalize it. The Pope (Casti Connubi) opposed legalizing
> it, with language and logic identical to that used against same
> sex marriage, abortion, and contraception. They legalized it
> anyway -- and the Church more or less dropped the issue as
> a matter of political instruction for the faithful.

And the Church MOL dropped it. Well, duh. Gee, I wonder why?

> Knowing THAT, is precisely the key to an approach toward
> the 65 million American Catholics that doesn't leave 'em
> open to, ya know, people who actually understand the doctrine
> condemning abortion as murder, yet who like Roberts)
> will support legalized contraception AS IF IT'S DIFFERENT.

I had to read this a good five times before realizing that
your close parenthesis is a typo. Your writing is still
terribly unclear. (This is, of course, my fault for being
illiterate.) It seems to me that you're saying Roberts'
position in support of Griswold is inconsistent with Church
doctrine, which condemns the use of artificial birth control,
flowing out of the same reasoning that condemns abortion.

Sure. Regardless of how they feel about abortion, most
American Catholics share this position on contraception,
nor are they disabused of it by their local priests
and bishops. Is Roberts a doctrinnaire enough
Catholic to make a legal ruling challenging Griswold?

I haven't seen any evidence or opinion to suggest this.
Conservatives are also enamored of privacy rights, the
issue which more than anything else scuttled Robert Bork.

> That divorce is unlikely to be outlawed in the U.S., nor
> contraception (not since 1965, the Griswold decision that
> Roberts endorsed), PROVES MY FRIGGING POINT. (head desk)
> And yet -- you guys are bragging on it like it refutes me.

We recognize shameless backpedaling when we see it. Paul, your
original point was to cram something called "the Americanist
heresy" down our throats. Why? It seems for no other more
significant reason than to lord some arcane historical knowledge
over us for the sake of fostering some misplaced sense of your
own alleged intellectual superiority. Now that it turns out
that this "heresy" is irrelevant to Catholic-American politics,
irrelevant to the debate on the *salient* cultural issues
that conservative Catholics rail about -- all of a sudden this
becomes your "FRIGGING POINT." As I say, this is pathological.

> As for the personal stuff, well: don't say stupid
> stuff, and fewer folks will note you're stupid.

Paul, aside from the trolls, the only person who
has ever deigned to try to call myself, Chris
Dicely or Windhorse stupid on this blog is you.

> Argue politics online from ignorance, and you shoulda oughta
> get used to being corrected harshly -- or consign yourselves
> to being hothouse flowers in a cold and blustery world.

No, I'm beginning to think that you're a particular kind of
especially insidious troll, one who masquerades very ardently
as a "progressive," but whose purpose is only to undermine.

> In my experience, conservatives in general and
> Republicans in particular don't make this mistake, or
> at least make it in a different way: the Right generally
> thinks of itself as a movement, and for that reason people
> who identify themselves with that movement tend to immediately
> recognize and support tactics that advance the Cause.

There are several reasons for this, but perhaps the most
important is the fundamental difference between conservative
and liberal values. You have the temprement of a Republican;
you're authoritarian, you don't respect dissent, you believe
that winning elections is the only yardstick that matters.

> Progressives in general, and progressive
> Democrats in particular, have a different set of
> intellectual habits in politics: we aren't moving,
> so we don't think of ourselves as a movement.

This is both a good thing and a bad thing. During the times when we
*were* a movement (civil rights, Vietnam) we managed to get things
accomplished, but we also moved the party beyond the mainstream and
eventually paid a political price for it. During normal times when
we aren't a movement, we show a respect for intellectual diversity
made necessary by our committment to values which reach out beyond
ourselves. Our fatal flaw is that we don't share in the Lockean
"low but solid ground" of self-interest which drives the Right.

> (If words meant more, we'd actually be the
> conservative party, because we generally stand
> AGAINST changing our national commitments like welfare,
> affirmative action, environmental protections, etc.)

No, having firm values wouldn't make us conservative, nor would
flipping our principles with the wind make us liberal. And that
our core values don't change doesn't necessarily preclude making
tectonic shifts on key issues, like welfare. We didn't adopt
welfare reform because our fundamental belief in helping people
changed, we realized that welfare dependency was toxic to them.

> As you can see in this thread, our reflex is NOT to
> instantly recognize tactics that advance the Cause, e.g.,
> Catholic doctrine and the SCOTUS, immigration, etc.,
> but rather to say: hey who proposes such is not one of Us.

Well this is more of your grandiosity again, attempting to
pretend that the issues you advocate automatically "advance
the Cause" rather than you submitting them for debate.

> (Look at the attacks on Lieberman and Senator Clinton: folks who
> actually WIN elections. Imagine what that must be like, huh?)

For progressives right now, winning isn't everything. As I have
said, I am perfectly willing to do the post-Goldwater thing for
a few cycles if that's what it takes to get the Democrats to start
standing for the truth, and many people on this blog are with me.

If you'd like more "me too" policies, again -- there's
the DNC blog. Take up your concerns with Howard Dean.

> That's why I noted that Dicely (not to mention Bob), are dumb.

Accusing us of stupidity is intellectually dishonest.

> Cuz that's stupid.

Hardly less so than you spending enormous amounts of
energy alienating yourself from everyone on this blog.

> Bob, try to read this slowly. I shall
> use short words and simple sentences.

Sure. I will, too. Suck my dick, Paul. How's that for pithy? :)

> My observation about the history of the separation of
> Church and State in Catholic doctrine was accurate.

It was completely irrelevant, as you yourself admitted above.

> (If that's too complex for you, I'm saying that "I was right.")

Eat shit :)

> I noted that Wind misread what I had written both
> literally and in context. (That means "What I said
> was right and he didn't understand it.")

What an intellectually dishonest piece of trash. You
said "through Vatican II" and Windhorse called you on it.

> As Wind himself noted, the doctrine changed (sort of) with
> Vatican II. Since he didn't understand what I had written
> -- the literal meaning of the words -- he thought that this
> somehow contradicted what I had said. (That means "What I
> said was right and he didn't understand it.")

Yet more pathological narcissism. You used an inapt phrase
and it's Windhorse's fault because he didn't read your mind.

I really am beginning to suspect you of having
a serious, diagnosable mental health problem.

> The way this works, you knucklehead, as a matter of forensics,

You aren't talking forensics.

> is that in order for Wind to have been
> correct in catching me in an error,

He caught you in an error. I caught you in an
error. Apollo 13 read the post and approved. It's
upthread for all to see and judge for themselves.

You really *aren't* man enough to admit even the smallest mistake.

That's really sad, Paul. I hope you're in therapy, seriously.

> I would have had to say what he considered to have been false.
> Wind didn't bother to say what he thought that was, and he's
> caught on that he was wrong and I was right: the doctrine
> BEFORE Vatican II is not the doctrine AFTER Vatican II.

1) The doctrine before Vacitan II is irrelevant
to American politics and to American Catholics.

2) Your inartful phrasing is no one's problem but your own.

> (I suspect he will tell you that, if he wasn't caught
> up in the progressive compulsion to say "you're not one
> of US", he'd have figured that out before posting.)

More pathological reasoning. If Windhorse doesn't tell me
I'm wrong, he must by definition be engaging in bad faith.

> The reason this isn't more clear from the documents, etc.,
> is precisely why it is a fault line for American Catholics
> in particular, and for scores of millions of people of
> faith in general: authoritarian systems aren't very good
> at admitting error and making corrections. "Our doctrine
> has changed: We were always right" isn't persuasive to folks
> who THINK, which, oddly enough, is a pretty good paraphrase
> of JPII's dissent from the Papal Commission on Birth Control.

Don't you find it just the smallest bit ironic, Paul, that
you're criticizing "authoritarian systems" which "aren't
very good at admitting error and making corrections" when
you're spending paragraph after paragraph strenuously
attempting to deny the fact that you used an inartful phrase?

Just ... you know ... the *teeny tiniest* bit? :)

> Bob, if you were literate, you'd know that is why I pointed
> to religious liberty, freedom of speech, the separation of
> church and state, divorce, contraception, abortion, and same
> sex marriage: because in EACH of these cases, the Vatican
> opposed (opposes) legalizing 'em as doctrines incompatible
> with salvation ... until they lost, when the practical
> policy changed without actually altering the doctrine.

Until they lost and the practical policy changed. Exactly.

> That is where the Americanist heresy appeared: the idea
> that civics has a moral value in itself reconciles the
> imperatives of doctrine with the practical value of
> democracy. (Islam is confronting the same issues.)

It reconciles nothing, Paul. The reason that some social
issues roil conservative Catholics: abortion, the right to die,
stem cell research, gay marriage -- and on other social issues
conservative Catholics share a consensus: the death penalty,
contraception for marrieds, just war doctrine, divorce --
have nothing to do *at all* with "the Americanist heresy."

> Dicely denied that -- and got the history, and several
> doctrines, wrong. I ain't shy about pointing that out --
> but, as noted, it's sorta silly to waste time arguing
> with folks too dumb to know why they're compulsively wrong.

1) Dicely made a point much more relevant to the way American
Catholics reconcile their vote with the commands of the Church.

2) You've wasted vast amounts of time arguing.

3) You are compulsively -- nay, pathologically -- wrong.

> Oh, yeah, for Wind's benefit: a tool in such
> discussions is to ask 'did he really mean to say...?'

Helpful hint: Attempting to suck up to Windhorse makes
you look like you have Borderline Personality Disorder.

"Splitting" won't work here, especially considering
that Windhorse and I are personal friends off the blog.

> I had an exchange with these clowns, plus Pale
> Rider, on another thread. In that exchange, I
> cited Jessica Lynch as a more or less typical
> American who is also (oddly enough) a more or less
> typical American soldier, somebody we're all proud of.

Well I certainly hope you checked out my responses on that thread.

Your lunch was delicious, btw :)

> (except, possibly, Dicely and Bob)

And this is different from right-wing tactics ... how?

> Pale Rider spoke up about how Lynch wasn't anything special,
> she had been injured in a "traffic accident", after all.

Which is no reason to disparage Jessie Lynch -- but it *is* a
rather big reason to disparage the brass for lying about it.

> Wind, you'd have been better off, I think, asking yourself
> if I had really meant to say (as you sorta assumed I had)
> that the Vatican continued to condemn the separation of
> Church and States SINCE Vatican II. At the very least,
> that would have been an intelligent question to ask: grounded
> in what I'd actually said, and quite possibly productive.

You make the mistake and then you blame
Windhorse for not reading your mind.

This is either very immature or very pathological.

> I read what Pale DID say, and followed where it led: it's
> a bit much to insult folks who are injured in situations
> like Iraq if it's only by accident, don't ya think?

Pale Rider would be the last person on this blog to insult
Jessie Lynch, and to even think you could persuade Windhorse
of this shows a really galling cluelessness about this place.

> Michelle Malkin tried this when she said that Kerry's
> wounds in Vietnam were "self-inflicted", because IIRC,
> he threw a grenade that exploded too close to him. It's
> of a piece with the Republican conventioneers with
> their Purple Heart bandaids, with the attacks on Murtha.

And of a piece with your disparaging implication
of how Dicely and I feel about Jessie Lynch.

> Why would WE use a tactic so ugly? Why not ask ourselves,
> of ourselves, 'did he really mean to say that...'?

Why not just stop blaming people for correctly reading the
mistakes you make and don't make the mistakes to begin with?

Because, sadly, I think you have quite major ego issues.

Bob

Posted by: rmck1 on January 28, 2006 at 12:44 PM | PERMALINK

Americanist:

You know, I'm done with you. Windhorse is right; you do have
a mind and a lot of knowledge, and I've agreed with you in other
threads about immigration. But you're completely insufferable.
I expect another six pages attempting to deny your own words.

Here is a summary of how fucking *trivial* and *pointless* this
debate has been. Two of your paragraphs, one at the beginning
of my monstrously long post, one at the end. The first
one setting up your disagreement with Dicely, the second
one defining what "the Americanist heresy" really is in truth.

Read this and bawl your eyes out:

> the bottom line is pretty simple -- as noted, the gist of
> the Americanist heresy is NOT as Dicely described it, (that
> is, the heresy is the idea that civics has a value in itself,

> That is where the Americanist heresy appeared: the idea
> that civics has a moral value in itself reconciles the
> imperatives of doctrine with the practical value of
> democracy. (Islam is confronting the same issues.)

Their senses are fucking identical. The wording's nearly so.

You truly are an assclown, Paul.

Bob

Posted by: rmck1 on January 28, 2006 at 1:33 PM | PERMALINK

Americanist:

> Knowing THAT, is precisely the key to an approach toward
> the 65 million American Catholics that doesn't leave 'em
> open to, ya know, people who actually understand the doctrine
> condemning abortion as murder, yet who like Roberts)
> will support legalized contraception AS IF IT'S DIFFERENT.

Well, after reading this extremely poorly-worded
paragraph for the elevendy-billionth time, it finally
dawned on me what you're trying to say, and it's worth
revisiting because it's the nub of your argument.

You're saying -- correct me if I'm wrong -- that there is no
doctrinal basis in Church teaching for Roberts to both uphold
the right for legal contraception in Griswold and oppose
abortion, because the two, in fact, flow from the same moral
teaching which, despite Vatican II, the Church hasn't repudiated.

You furthermore assert that the way to square this
circle is something called "the Americanist heresy" --
the idea that civic values are a moral good in themselves.

Here's my response to this:

First off, it's not up us to tell the Church what they should or
should not believe. (This is the same fundamental error you make
in your approach to Islam). If you try to stress the implications
of civic values -- that a public official upholding the
Constitution is doing a moral good even if the current construction
allows things which go against Catholic doctrine such as a legal
right to contraceptives, divorce, abortion, etc. -- well then,
you're already knee-deep in cafeteria Catholicism. Who gets
to draw those lines for Catholics? The Pope, not John Roberts.

The best we can do is to point out that Roberts, by
upholding one end of the Seamless Garment and not the
other, is inconsistent with Church teachings. I have
trouble believing this is a significant thing to say,
because nearly every Catholic in America is inconsistent.
It's old news, and how it might affect the abortion debate
I can't imagine. To think that Roberts or even Alito might
countenance striking down Griswold under this analysis seems
a bit alarmist considering the implications for conservatives.

We also had no leverage to prod Roberts or Alito on this. If they
say they support privacy rights, they support Griswold -- where
is our lever to question if they really don't, and would overturn
Griswold in the name of being good Catholics? We would have had
to have contradicted them "no, excuse me, Judge Roberts, I don't
believe you can support privacy rights and be a good Catholic
because of the Church's teachings." Maybe neither Roberts nor
Alito supports Griswold, but what are you going to do if they
choose to lie about it the way Clarence Thomas did on abortion?

In short, I guess I just fail to see your point.

Bob

Posted by: rmck1 on January 28, 2006 at 2:59 PM | PERMALINK

No kidding?

Posted by: theAmericanist on January 28, 2006 at 4:02 PM | PERMALINK

Disovered a MyDD post by way of Digby. MyDD and I seem to agree on filibuster:

I think that having the Alito vote just before SOTU is a win-win-win for the Democrats. When Bush plays a president on TV, he doesn't play a scrapper who ekes out a win. He plays a bulldozer whose victory is inevitable. When it's a close one, and he wins, he smirks. He absolutely cannot play the good sport. He gets pissed off at a reporter for speaking French, or a web site that dares to sell anti-Bush trinkets.
Alito might be defeated on a simple vote. Not likely, but if so, it's a clear win for the Dems, just before SOTU.
If the Dems filibuster, then the filibuster will be overridden the old fashioned way, or it will succeed, or the Gops will try the nuclear option.
If the filibuster fails, Bush will have won, but he won't get to play the juggernaut before whom the very earth trembles. He cannot fail to be graceless, on TV, after such a victory. It just isn't in him.
If the filibuster succeeds, again, Bush has to swallow his defeat as he's getting his SOTU makeup on. God knows what he'll say.
MyDD has more. And then there's this parting statement from Jerome Armstrong at MyDD from a more recent post:
If the Republicans push for a cloture on Monday and then a vote on Tuesday (so says Frist), then why doesn't John Kerry, if he really wants to make a stand, filibuster right into the SOTU?
I think that's an excellent question. Heh.

Posted by: Apollo 13 on January 29, 2006 at 5:16 AM | PERMALINK




 

 

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