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Tilting at Windmills

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January 30, 2006
By: Kevin Drum

ALITO AND THE 'SPHERE....The lefty blogosphere has spent the last week trying to fire up support for a filibuster of Samuel Alito. This campaign was never likely to succeed, and today it failed as expected. But that's not all: it failed by the embarrassingly lopsided margin of 72-25.

I'm glad the filibuster took place, because even in failure it puts a marker down for future court fights. Still, even given the amateurish way that Senate Dems handled it, I expected it to get more than 25 votes. So here's today's assignment: In 5,000 words or less, what does this say about the influence of the lefty blogosphere?

Kevin Drum 5:51 PM Permalink | Trackbacks | Comments (232)

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It says that the Right's message was correct: Dems are spineless wimps who don't stand for anything, and can't be trusted with having the balls to fight for what is right.

Posted by: Gore/Obama '08 on January 30, 2006 at 5:55 PM | PERMALINK

Peter Dauo was right: we're on our own.

Posted by: tam1MI on January 30, 2006 at 5:55 PM | PERMALINK

The Dems voting for closure are crazy like foxes. If Roe is overturned by 2008, maybe the majority Democratic base will get off their asses and go vote for once.

Posted by: JamesP on January 30, 2006 at 5:55 PM | PERMALINK

They're not seen as representative of any sizeable group of voters.

Posted by: coldhotel on January 30, 2006 at 5:55 PM | PERMALINK

Having a blogosphere is nice, but it doesn't replace winning Presidential elections?

Posted by: eponymous coward on January 30, 2006 at 5:55 PM | PERMALINK

It says it's "Lefty."

Posted by: daniel on January 30, 2006 at 5:55 PM | PERMALINK

It says that the Democrats, unlike the Republicans, are not in the pocket of activists.

It sounds like a bad thing, until you look at who's winning. But hey, I'm sure the Dems know best.

Posted by: Steve on January 30, 2006 at 5:55 PM | PERMALINK

That they don't have superpowers? Christ, what a phenominally loaded question.

Posted by: August J. Pollak on January 30, 2006 at 5:56 PM | PERMALINK

6 words: Unfortunately, they do have some influence.

(Well, they wouldn't do too bad listening to some of Kevin's advice as opposed to Kos.)

Posted by: Frank J. on January 30, 2006 at 5:57 PM | PERMALINK

Hillary hurt herself badly for 2008. Kerry was pretty smart to smoke her out like this but it will do them no good in the general election. The lefty blogs are dragging the party left and it will make the 2008 decision much more clear if you succeed. I think it's a loser but clarity is good.

Posted by: Mike K on January 30, 2006 at 5:58 PM | PERMALINK

It sounds like a bad thing, until you look at who's winning. But hey, I'm sure the Dems know best.

Self-identified liberals are outnumbered by self-identified conservatives by 3-2 in the US. Do the math and you can figure out why a party that caters to the latter starts out in better shape than a party that caters to the former.

Posted by: eponymous coward on January 30, 2006 at 5:58 PM | PERMALINK

That they're so gullible, even someone as politically incompetent as kerry can play 'em for fools with a transparently ersatz martyr filibuster attempt.

Posted by: cdj on January 30, 2006 at 6:04 PM | PERMALINK

KEVIN - Tee only reason a filibuster even happened is because of the "lefty blogosphere." The leaders planned nothing, the Senators didn't want to do it - we FORCED it.

I think that's pretty good. So go ahead and wallow in your smug cynacism. You did nothing.

Posted by: Troy on January 30, 2006 at 6:05 PM | PERMALINK

I think the fact that the left wing blogosphere has put more energy into getting Chris Matthews to apologize to Michael Moore than building grassroots support for the filibuster tells you all you need to know about the misspent angry energy of the medium.

Read more at:
Rolling Stone : National Affairs Daily:

I'm sorry. I love progressive blogs. But this campaign to boycott MSNBC advertisers until Chris Matthews apologizes for rhetorically linking Osama bin Laden and Michael Moore is utter horseshit...

This whole episode is tempest in a teapot. Which, in part, is what makes it so disappointing. If these bloggers, as members of the new Vast Left-Wing Conspiracy, want to flex their collective muscle, why not direct that strength at something that matters?

Like ... encouraging their readers to call their Democratic Senators to bolster support for a filibuster of Sam Alito. Surely that would be a more noble cause than making angry calls to TurboTax ad execs.

I have great respect for the citizen pundits who run these blogs. I just wish they would recognize their true strength, and stop thinking so small.

Posted by: tim on January 30, 2006 at 6:09 PM | PERMALINK

The defeat means that the democratic Senators still didn't take us seriously. We're not organized, not in lockstep, but we're pretty big and growing. They'll be a bit more nervous next time.

I hope.

Posted by: merciless on January 30, 2006 at 6:09 PM | PERMALINK

In 5,000 words or less, what does this say about the influence of the lefty blogosphere?

Long live King George!

Posted by: koreyel on January 30, 2006 at 6:10 PM | PERMALINK

Exactly, Troy. Too bad Kevin is too blind to see it.

Prince Richard: He's here. He'll get no satisfaction out of me. He isn't going to see me beg.
Prince Geoffrey: My you chivalric fool... as if the way one fell down mattered.
Prince Richard: When the fall is all there is, it matters.

It matters how we lose, Kevin. Better to put up a fight, any kind of fight, than just show our belly like a dog.

Posted by: shinypenny on January 30, 2006 at 6:10 PM | PERMALINK

The influence question is debatable. More interesting and to the point, maybe: Why does the SCLMSM hate them so much?

Posted by: Neil' on January 30, 2006 at 6:11 PM | PERMALINK

I'm with Troy. It showed that from Thursday to Monday, the "lefty blogosphere" could move the vote count from 0 to 25, and that's excluding the "no on cloture if we have the votes". I'm guessing the "real" number was in the high thirties. That's frankly impressive.

And yeah, if you look strictly at results, Dems have been pretty pathetic. But I think the base has been galvanized. And not the just base -- hell, I'm no Democrat. 15 years ago, I was a republican. Now I'm left of most the Dems.

Point is, the Republicans have moved *way* to the right, and the ordinary people are starting to notice it.

And we're pissed.

Posted by: ron on January 30, 2006 at 6:12 PM | PERMALINK

It says less about the leftblog than it does
the dems. The opposition to Alito seemed to
lack a direction and focus. The hope was,
that during the hearings there would be some
"smoking gun" ferreted out by the glib and
clever lawyers asking probing questions.

Since Bork, that has not worked. If an appointee
has an agenda, it can be whittled and evasionary.

In essence, taking the 5th is a winning strategy,
and the dems should have known this, and planned
accordingly. I salute the courage of Kennedy and
Kerry, but 'guts ain't enough".

Posted by: Semanticleo on January 30, 2006 at 6:12 PM | PERMALINK

Alito was lost weeks ago. Poor framing aimed at rewarding specific big donor groups set the Alito opponents up for failure. The Senators knew it going in. That is why they didn't fight very hard or very well. The simply knelt before their donor groups and paid the obligatory homage. I am sure they will all collect their money.

Posted by: Ron Byers on January 30, 2006 at 6:12 PM | PERMALINK

Wasn't it Harry Reid that said, its hopelessness three days ago, "there is isn't enough votes" - they should they would filibuster Alito before now. But the Dems didn't - Harry Reid is no leader and congressional Dems are not listening to us and HAVEN'T BEEN FOR A VERY LONG TIME.

There is very little Howard Dean can do with a loser group like this - they prefer being the losers, playing the victims, but they clearly didn't have to be the victims in this case.

NOBODY should care what congressional Democrats think - who cares what Obama said or that he thinks - I don't want a lecture from my congress member - if there is any lecturing to be done - it should come from us and NOT our elected official. If Obama can't manage to represent us - perhaps he should NOT be in congress and that goes for other Dems too, those whom would tell us how to behavior.

Our congress members are there to represent us - not to belly ach to us about how they just can't manage anything. We elect them to do what we want, what we say, not what they want. GOP supports get tough with their Representative - it's time for us to get tough with ours, since they just can't follow simply directions. What Kos is doing to Lieberman the right way to go - we need more of that fine tuning. Our representaives are NOT royality - they are suppose to serve us - not themselves and they get paid darn good money to do it too.

Posted by: Cheryl on January 30, 2006 at 6:14 PM | PERMALINK

Did I say "collect their money." I meant to say "collect their donations."

Posted by: Ron Byers on January 30, 2006 at 6:15 PM | PERMALINK

It says the lefty blogosphere has arrived, will be heard, and will continue to have an impact.

The lopseidedness only occurred as a CYA maneuver once they knew the cloture vote would fail.

The lefty blogosphere isn't K Street and shouldn't aim for that. What we do best is dig out the truth and push the MSM to cover the truth and we're good at raising campaign funds for progressives.

We remain a populist movement. I can predict how the GOP reps will act and Dems will act. But we are the X factor, the greatest unknown with the greatest potential to obtain real change.

Posted by: Kevin Hayden on January 30, 2006 at 6:17 PM | PERMALINK


The pro-filibuster Senator count was probably higher than 25, but it was clearly lower than 40.

As usual with politicians taking votes, once it's clear what is going to happen, they switch to the "winning" side.

I'm assuming the redstate Ds all dropped their filibusters at the last minute.

Posted by: theo on January 30, 2006 at 6:18 PM | PERMALINK

"In 5,000 words or less, what does this say about the influence of the lefty blogosphere?"

We're more than halfway there!

Posted by: Quaker in a Basement on January 30, 2006 at 6:18 PM | PERMALINK


It shows that the Democrats are as useless in Congress now as I was when I was in the White House in the late '70s.

I'm pretty conceited, so I'm happy to take credit for my party sliding steadily downwards since my election.

I love taking the anti-American side on issues, and it doesn't play real well in Peoria, but the New York Times sure does love me. Congressional Dems are the same: they say things that will lose them votes, but will win the invitations to fancy cocktail parties hosted by the Washington Post editors.

Posted by: jamesearlcarter on January 30, 2006 at 6:19 PM | PERMALINK

I think is shows that we managed to get at least some of these Senators to listen. And, as time passes, we'll get more. This is a fight for the heart of the party. GOP-lite is no longer safe for these people. And it's no longer good enough for us.

Posted by: Slideguy on January 30, 2006 at 6:19 PM | PERMALINK

It says that it's pointless to try and convince spineless Dems who continue to listen to consultants and advisors who have engineered loss after loss for Democrats with the same spineless tactics all the time?

Oh wait, I guess the answer the trolls are looking for are because we're just too damn lefty or something.

Posted by: Kryptik on January 30, 2006 at 6:20 PM | PERMALINK
So here's today's assignment: In 5,000 words or less, what does this say about the influence of the lefty blogosphere?

Nothing. I mean, I suspect more people were aware of it from lefty talk radio than the blogs.

It does say that the activist wing is still less powerful than the surrendrist wing of the party -- but that's about political factions not particular media. Though that the attempt occurred at all is a fairly significant indicator of growing strength in the activist wing of the party.

Posted by: cmdicely on January 30, 2006 at 6:21 PM | PERMALINK

Better question: What does this say about America?

Posted by: JC on January 30, 2006 at 6:21 PM | PERMALINK

Well, the heartfelt objections to Alito are certainly understandable... what's not understandable is the utter contempt by some netroots for any center left position... Any word of caution, however civil, that the votes weren't there and that there would likely be a backlash to what would be perceived as a last second political stunt was met with a venomous outcry. One site went so far as to respond to such cautionary comments, with a message from the "webmaster" that no further posting from such memeber would be allowed. Sorry there was no room for any contrary and more moderate view...

Posted by: tjschill on January 30, 2006 at 6:22 PM | PERMALINK

A bit more successful than pork busters, at least.

Posted by: Burzootie on January 30, 2006 at 6:25 PM | PERMALINK

It says:

I wonder why Kevin waited until after the vote to write his first piece.

Was he hedging his bets?

Now, if it was following the old rule, if you don't have anything good to say, don't say anything at all, good for Kevin. But this post doesn't leave me with that impression.

Inquiring minds want to know?

Posted by: justmy2 on January 30, 2006 at 6:25 PM | PERMALINK

We knew the odds were against us but it got us in the game and we are going to stay in the game.

Posted by: Alvord on January 30, 2006 at 6:26 PM | PERMALINK

Says next to nothing about the blogosphere. Says everthing about "moderate" Dems and their absurdly overpaid consulatants.

Take Maria Cantwell. How does this help her? How many of her supporters would back Alito? How many woul not vote for her bcause Tim Russert called her "obstructionist?"

I do think it's interesting that some Dems might want Roe overturned - witness how Prohibition crushed evangelical political activists for half a century.

Posted by: HeavyJ on January 30, 2006 at 6:26 PM | PERMALINK

It was too little too late. The Dems played it politically, following not leading, and it cost them.

Posted by: Cali4nian on January 30, 2006 at 6:28 PM | PERMALINK

Failed? No way. Does anyone expect pamphleteers to have success in power politics? This is rare. What blogs and the internet have provided is alternative viewpoints and outside information. At the very moment when public media has converged on a monolithic narrative.

I have a South African friend whose family was deeply involved in the anti-apartheid campaign. He told me that you are not really involved in politics until someone wants to censor you or take your life. If the blogosphere has any real political power than someone will try to limit it, regulate it or intimidate the participants.

Posted by: bellumregio on January 30, 2006 at 6:29 PM | PERMALINK

>and that there would likely be a backlash to what would be perceived as a last second political stunt

This backlash would take what form and happen where and affect what?

Give me a break. Stop thinking that the trick is to please the Washington Media. Hell, even Kerry's figured that one out.

Posted by: doesn't matter on January 30, 2006 at 6:29 PM | PERMALINK

wow...I've always found a lot of the criticism of Kevin from the left to be unfair, but this post makes me think they were right all along. What an incredibly smug and obnoxious post. What's the underlying message here? You seem to be saying that Kos et al were wasting their time, and that you're smarter because you did nothing.

What's the point of this blog, anyway? Are you actually trying to make a difference? You pontificate about this or that issue -- I don't have an opinion about this...just throwing it out there, etc. -- but don't actually make any effort to contribute something positive.

What a waste.

Posted by: RP on January 30, 2006 at 6:30 PM | PERMALINK

Kevin:

Not so lopsided really. 16 votes short on a free vote is not embarrassing to the blogs.

It is embarrassing to the Dems who voted Yes on cloture.

But you thought there were 25 votes for filibuster on thursday?

Rather an ginoroant post from you here KEvin. shows you were a bit late in following it. so was I, but still.

Posted by: Armando on January 30, 2006 at 6:31 PM | PERMALINK

I feel like this came too late in the game, and after most of the media had stopped giving it much attention, to be very significant. I think the poor performance of Joe Biden and others in committee was much more damaging to the Democrats than losing a last-minute filibuster.

Further evidence of a cardinal rule of politics: Senators of long standing are almost uniformly screwed if they want to be President. Not that Kerry had any chance anyway, but Hillary is going to be subjected to more and more of these Hobson's choices over the next two years.

If the Democrats want to win the White House, they're advised to run somebody other than a sitting senator. On a related note, Barack Obama should run for governor of Illinois in 2008 rather than re-election if he ever intends to be president. More than one term will doom him, especially once his candidacy becomes more imminent and his rivals within the party start scheming against him.

Posted by: shakalaka on January 30, 2006 at 6:32 PM | PERMALINK

Shinypenny,

Nice sort-of obscure reference. I love those lines from the Lion in Winter.

Completely apt.

The usual institutions were inexplicably awol on Alito. Most of the DC-based Dems would have been happy to lie down and let Bush and Alito walk over their necks.

Some of the filibuster effort was just an attempt by 2008 wannabes to gesture to the base -- but even so, without the net-based outcry there would have been no sense that this was an important way of appealing to the base.

So we lost this one. The netroots are young. So we'll keep them growing, and eventually we may be able to wrest control of the party from the quislings in Georgetown.

The lefty net is the best tool we have for widescale organizing of liberal money and advocacy actions. What's the alternative? Hope that Howard Dean can singlehandedly bring the party back to life? Hope that the psuedo-pros running the big shops will grow some spine? I'll put my money on the nascent netroots.

Posted by: tom on January 30, 2006 at 6:35 PM | PERMALINK

As someone who only started paying attention to politics after George Bush's Axis of Evil speech, I would say that the clock is ticking on the lefty blogosphere's chances at building up a real grassroots movement.

If George Bush leaves office with a sliver of his dangerous ideology intact, many people driven into politics by their hate for what he has done to the country we love will throw up their hands and go back to watching reality shows and Monday Night Football.

I put up with the shrillness of the likes of Kos and Atrios because I hold out the hope that they can actually make a big enough of a stink to help Americans wake up. If McCain is sitting in the oval office in '09, I doubt very much that I would bother ever again.

That being said, I would still read fafblog, Political Animal and Digby, because they hold their own regardless.

Posted by: enozinho on January 30, 2006 at 6:37 PM | PERMALINK

Sen. DeMint spent the time after nearly half of the Democratic caucus voted for cloture to give the President a big gift for the SOTU (RSVP Ms Alito!) bashing the Dems as too partisan.

Oh, nice job Barack. Bash the filibuster over the weekend and then vote against cloture when you knew it didn't matter. Half ass shit like that killed the Kerry campaign, so for now, a big NO to the first comments' proposed ticket.

Posted by: Joe on January 30, 2006 at 6:37 PM | PERMALINK

1) I'm guessing they had a lot more votes (35+?) but after completing a count and coming up short they decided to let the senators go their own ways.

2) Kerry was the wrong man to step out in front. It became more about him and less about Alito. Any serious effort would have had to revolve around Reid or dems on the judicial committee. This looked too much like Kerry 2004 rehash or Kerry 2008 water testing.

3) Democrats would have looked more impotent and gutless if they stayed sitting.

4) The filibuster attempt probably brought out more no votes for tomorrow (Chaffee, Feingold, Leiberman, etc.) because voting no on Alito and yes on cloture is now the moderate position.

Posted by: B on January 30, 2006 at 6:41 PM | PERMALINK

Exactly, NOT Troy.

There is little meaning of the words "a government of the people, for the people and by the people" if our congress fail to respond to our request.

That would amount to NO representation at all.

It matters very little that there maybe more conservatives out there. Republicans represent their own constituency, voted for by their own consitiuency and sometimes those rightwing Christain ideologues have even threaten Bush himself if he doesnt do what they say.

I don't know why MoveOn.org hasn't started backing their own representive and threaten the ones that don't do what they want - they are certainly large enough to boycote any Democrate election instead just taking this constant criticism from their own Party representives in Washington.

If you find a lawyer that will not zealously represent you you would not hesitate to fire the SOB.

Your congressman is NO different. If Washington Dems dont want to represent us or if they simply are too afraid to do this then we should fire them (not vote for them - and let them know this in know uncertain terms) and look for a congress members who will represent our views and our needs, like it or not. Washington Dems are not supposed to be getting paid to anything else BUT represent their elected voters.

Why have they gotten this basic idea, as Obama did, that they don't think have to do this?

Centrist Dems gave them that idea, I guess.

It's not alright for the guys to be cowards. If congressional cowards like Harry Reid can't even try to represent us - than he shouldn't be there in Washington at all.

Al From was afraid he'd lose his corporate campaign contributers because Howard Dean wasn't using funding via corporations and lobbiest - and there is alot to be said for that kind of government - Howard was "for the people" - Al From was for lobbiest.

Posted by: Cheryl on January 30, 2006 at 6:43 PM | PERMALINK

Gee, global warming may be past the point of no return, Bush is gobbling up our civil liberties, Alito is a tool of the worst kind of GOP policy-cum-win-at-all-costs philosophy, there's genocide in Africa, war in Iraq, our jobs are on their way to China, real healthcare will soon be a memory -- and the posters on this comment thread are arguing over whether lefty bloggers or centrist democrats comprise the bigger bunch of pricks.

Is this really how we want to spend America's declining years, rearranging the deck chairs?

Posted by: Walter Crockett on January 30, 2006 at 6:44 PM | PERMALINK

Atrios, at least, seems to have a firm grasp of how much power blogs have. It's just that blogs are all we've got. What do you suggest a liberal campaign start? Cable? Network? Print? Radio? Blogs are only part of the triangle. And their power will increase as they fill the vacuum left by the MSM. But an echochamber doesn't work if there's nothing to amplify the sound.

Posted by: Memekiller on January 30, 2006 at 6:44 PM | PERMALINK

It says more about the aimless, unfocused aura of the Democratic Party than it does about the left blogosphere. This was the single most important issue of this term and they blew it. Alito and the court his vote will redirect is a horrific loss for the country and those people knew it and were intimidated. They are going to have trouble raising money and workers and they should.

Posted by: JackD on January 30, 2006 at 6:50 PM | PERMALINK

In 5,000 words or less, what does this say about the influence of the lefty blogosphere?

If the lefty blogosphere wants the Democrats to stand in front of an onrushing train, half of them will do it. And the lefty blogosphere does want the Democrats to stand in front of an onrushing train.

The Democrats will survive as the lemmings survive; most will not follow this generation of leadership.

Posted by: contentious on January 30, 2006 at 6:51 PM | PERMALINK

"what does this say about the influence of the lefty blogosphere?"

That so far, we make noise more than a difference.

FOCUS.

Posted by: theAmericanist on January 30, 2006 at 6:53 PM | PERMALINK

It says three things: (1) Fax machines don't have enough RAM, (2) Senators don't read e-mail, (3) Dem Senators are out of touch with the grass-roots.

Posted by: JimBobRay on January 30, 2006 at 6:54 PM | PERMALINK


This shows once again that elections have consequences.

You want different SCOTUS nominees. Win some elections.

Until then, stop whining.

Posted by: fred on January 30, 2006 at 6:56 PM | PERMALINK

First, when was the last time Limbaugh or Dodson were called to account for a campaign that didn't work out? Oh, that's right: never. Only the "left", for some reason, must take the blame for every twist and turn of DC politics and backstabbing.

Second - Kevin - you do understand that Neimoller's poem applies here in the US too? That after they come for the "commies", and the "socialists", and the "lefties", and the "lefty bloggers", they WILL come for the handwringing centrists too? And with Alito's accession, perhaps sooner than you might imagine.

In fact, IIRC in the Soviet Union handwringing centrists were given the worst treatment of all, usually being tortured to death rather than given a quick bullet in the neck, since NO ONE respected them.

Cranky

Posted by: Cranky Observer on January 30, 2006 at 6:57 PM | PERMALINK

When we needed leaders to summon up the courage to lead the MAJORITY of Americans who want to protect a woman's reproductive rights and civil rights, they instead did the easy thing and hid behind the cringing media. What can we expect for legislators when it comes to making hard choices such as pulling out of Iraq, stopping environmental degradation before its too late, pressing for alternative fuels before its too late, curbing deficits, providing for the general welfare, finding medecine for everyone who needs it, etc., etc., But they are small people with large egos all. They find excuses before looking for answers. This mediocre representative democracy is what we deserve, the Franklins, the Roosevelts, the Adams' are long since displaced by Cornyns and Brownbacks.

Posted by: Sparko on January 30, 2006 at 6:57 PM | PERMALINK

It says that the lefty blogosphere still has much less influence than whatever is in the DC drinking water that makes Dems ashamed to stand for their principles.

Posted by: Kimmitt on January 30, 2006 at 6:58 PM | PERMALINK

It says Evan Bayh is running for president.

Posted by: Dawson on January 30, 2006 at 7:00 PM | PERMALINK

One word: inconsequential

Posted by: nobody on January 30, 2006 at 7:00 PM | PERMALINK

Cheryl,
American political parties are not like European political parties; they are coalitions of diverse opinions and agendas. It is the enemys business to create dissent within the party, to get everyone to call the other heretic and failure. Generally speaking the activist part of the Democratic party, the anti-nationalist left, should have its independence.

I share Paul Krugmans fatalistic view toward the Republican revolution. The electorate is misinformed or tuned out. By inclination and by design, it is the fate of prosperity and mass politics recognized long age during our first Gilded Age of swindle, scandal and bought office by Mark Twain who lamented the passing of the Founding Fathers and their civic virtue. Only out of disgust with the tide turn. I assure you that the Repubicans will not preside over a golden age.

Our problems are systemic. There should be no K Street, there should be proportional representation and no gerrymandering, transparent elections not overseen by interested parties. The Senate, the most undemocratic body in all the old democracies now that the House of Lords is on ice, should be reformed. We should have election day off. We should have a new constitution. This is all flatly mad. But it is where our problems can be found.

Posted by: bellumregio on January 30, 2006 at 7:06 PM | PERMALINK

It says nothing about the blogosphere, and everything about the Boomer and Silent Generation Democrats still in charge in Washington.

They are failed elites, and must be replaced expeditiously.

Posted by: The March Hare on January 30, 2006 at 7:07 PM | PERMALINK

It did remind me of why I rarely bother reading your blog, Kevin.

Reheated DC-wisdom with a dash of DLC-spin. It's loserriffic!

Posted by: Morat on January 30, 2006 at 7:11 PM | PERMALINK

The way you put the question says a lot about you Kevin. You are just a provocateur, not ready to spend your "mainstream" credit on anything valuable to the country. Or maybe you believe that having Alito on the bench is a good thing ? Tell us the last cause that you embraced ? And what have you done for it ? Other than placing the fake "Al" and "tbrosz" on the comments to stimulate the conversation ?

Posted by: calhoun on January 30, 2006 at 7:18 PM | PERMALINK

The lefty blogosphere has more power than ever and is a huge problem for democrats. It allows the media theme to continuously be the democrat battle between blog extremists and "moderates," which will only exacerbate the battle and engrain the dreaded liberal label further on the democrats.

The only one I read occasionally is Kos and I am always stuck by how naive and/or juvenile the posts are -- including those by Kos. It is like reading high school stuff or writings by people who seem to have no realistic view of politics. It is a great example of an echo chamber as people fall all over themselves to praise one another and mostly agree with each other, without offering much in original thought.

The fillibuster appeared to be mostly a Kerry play to the far left. He posted on Kos and the response was people falling all other themselves stating how great Kerry was -- like they could not believe that such a famous person was actually posting on their blog.

Posted by: brian on January 30, 2006 at 7:18 PM | PERMALINK

It says that lefty bloggers underestimated the degree to which Democratic Senators are willing to give up our liberties to protect their jobs.

Posted by: Ryan at The Higher Pie on January 30, 2006 at 7:19 PM | PERMALINK

It Says: Your average Democratic Senator is smarter (politcaly) then your average leftist.

Posted by: Fitz on January 30, 2006 at 7:25 PM | PERMALINK

It's about the same impact all the righty bloggers that have begun their campaign for Shadegg to become Majority Leader are going to have.

Posted by: DwightKSchrute on January 30, 2006 at 7:25 PM | PERMALINK

Dear Kevin: The problem in this case has existed long before the blogosphere, or indeed before the Internet. The Democrats in Congress have been losers screwing the party they represent all my adult voting life.
1972: They stabbed McGovern in the back
1976-80: They fought Carter at every opportunity.
1993-1998: Did the same with Clinton until impeachment put their yellow, jealous, selfish backs to the wall.
2000: Couldn't wait to tell Gore, "so they stole an election, get over it."
2002: The Iraq vote.
2006: Alito. And you know and I know that most of the Dem votes to end cloture were out of personal bitterness at Kerry and no other reason.
The mid-term elections mean nothing. A majority composed of self-absorbed preening gutless pukes will accomplish no more than a minority of same. Until the party is purged of the careerist swine, it can do nothing.

Posted by: JMG on January 30, 2006 at 7:25 PM | PERMALINK

The whole filibuster idea was dumb. Now Dems just look like idiots who couldn't get their opposition together straight. Oh well.

Posted by: KC on January 30, 2006 at 7:26 PM | PERMALINK

what does this lame post tell us about Kevin Drum?
----
absolutely worthless. you cheered the NY times call for a filibuster and then went quiet, while others made it happen. Then you pop up and carp about an "embarrassingly lopsided" loss. we went from 0 to 25 over a weekend.
F-you Kevin Drum. bookmark deleted.

Posted by: warbly on January 30, 2006 at 7:28 PM | PERMALINK

I think it points out that the Dem's have issues, and they need to resolve those issues before the next election.

PLEASE, OH G-D, FOR THE LOVE OF COUNRTY AND HUMANITY PLEASE GET THOSE ISSUES STRAIGHTENED OUT!

Posted by: sheerahkahn on January 30, 2006 at 7:29 PM | PERMALINK

The political choice isn't between liberals and conservatives. It's between progressives and conservatives.
Roosevelt, Kennedy and Clinton were progressives. Carter was the only real liberal and he was blowback from Nixon.
This is nothing against liberalism, it's just that government is inherently conservative.
Liberals like to ask questions. They make good teachers and reporters and scientists. Government, like religion, is about providing answers and conservatives are more structured.
Liberalism is social growth. Conservatism is civil consolidation.
There will be a reaction to Bush, but if it's just a mindless swing to the left(nothing against Carter, but remember the Boston Globe internal headline to an editorial, "More Mush from the Wimp", which was accidently run?), then it will swing back just as quickly. Remember Ronald Reagan?

Posted by: brodix on January 30, 2006 at 7:31 PM | PERMALINK

I tell you guys....
The influence of you petty small timers in trying to drum up a filibuster was laughable (as results prove)

Compared to our SUCCESSFULL attemt to get Scalito
to replace Hariet Miers

Posted by: Fitz on January 30, 2006 at 7:32 PM | PERMALINK

I'm struck by how dreadful the performance of liberal issue groups was. We know that the party infrastructure is rotten, and that the media is hopeless. But I expected more from the various special-interest (NARAL, ACLU, PFtAW, etc.) groups. I mean, this was for control of the FRIGGIN' SUPREME COURT, the culmination of a 25-year effort by the Federalist Society to undo a century of liberalism. It's Armageddon, Gotterdammerung, and the final episode of "Cop Rock" all mixed together, and they pretty much just slept through it. Just what the fuck does NARAL *do* with all their contributions?

Posted by: Fmguru on January 30, 2006 at 7:33 PM | PERMALINK

"in 5,000 words or less, what does this say about the influence of the lefty blogosphere?"

its says that 25% of the US Sneate is paying attention up from 0% 2 years ago. Next it will be 40%, and 65% after that. And since 35% of Americans are brain dead, bedwetting, little dick bush sycophant card carrying members of the cult of republicanism, that's about as good as yer ever gonna do.

Posted by: yowzer on January 30, 2006 at 7:34 PM | PERMALINK

It says that if you wait until the weekend before a vote to try to mau-mau elected officials into supporting your cause, you will certainly lose.

Still, lefty bloggers can always go back and start bullying the Post again.

Posted by: Steve Smith on January 30, 2006 at 7:35 PM | PERMALINK

SCALITO

Posted by: Fitz on January 30, 2006 at 7:39 PM | PERMALINK

I should also like to point out that the current bunch in charge are not conservatives, they are con artists.

Posted by: brodix on January 30, 2006 at 7:40 PM | PERMALINK

Look, the bottom line is that everybody knew that guys like Sam Alito were the sort of judges President Bush liked... and 52% of the country voted for the guy anyway. The Senate's Republican. Realistically, the best you can expect is a holding action until some elections get won by candidates with (D) after the name. It's not a good place to be waging political warfare from, and you shouldn't expect to win a lot of these.

You want better judges, get the American people to vote for better Presidents and Senators. Until then, people will get what they vote for.

Posted by: eponymous coward on January 30, 2006 at 7:41 PM | PERMALINK

It says that the Democratic Party is gutless.

Posted by: Rich on January 30, 2006 at 7:47 PM | PERMALINK

"""I'm glad the filibuster took place, because even in failure it puts a marker down for future court fights""

I AGREE, WITH 55 REPUBLICANS, THEY SHOULD JUST VOTE DOWN IN COMMITTEE EVERY DEMOCRAT PRESIDENTS NOMINEE. JUST CALL THEM EXTREME AND VOTE THEM DOWN, AND MAKE THEIR SPOUSE CRY FIRST.

The big question is why did the Democrats allow this rascist, biogotted, anti-constitutionalist sit on the appelate court for 15 years? Why didn't they impeach him? Why did they point out all of his Nazi-like ruling during the hearings.
Why didn't the show the pictures of him at Klan rallies (next to Bob Byrd), or beating prostutitues for fun on the weekends.

Why have they shared so little of the damning information with the public!!

I even hear Alito drowned a girl on an Island in the 60s and then ran home to set up his own alibi. Apparently his family connections covered it up..and he cheated in law school and got kicked out.

Posted by: Patton on January 30, 2006 at 7:50 PM | PERMALINK

4 down, 5 to go...

Posted by: Fitz on January 30, 2006 at 7:51 PM | PERMALINK

I had a lot I wanted to say, but brian @7:18 pretty much nails it. I would add that cheryl, who I don't mean to pick on, comments above that "there is very little Howard Dean can do with a loser group like this--they prefer being the victims, playing the losers" Cheryl-having read your comments here for a long time, I think your heart is in the right place, but your assessment of the current political reality, and politics in general, is askew. For all the talk from Dean supporters, the reality is he has been an abject failure as a fundraiser(something like 5.5 million to 34. 5 million for the Republicans), his appearances in the national media usually result in "clarifications" and Democratic backpedalling, and I hold my breath fearing his next misstep. I know what it is like to be passionate about political principles and ideas, but politics is as much about perseverance and mathematics as it is about lofty flights of fancy. As a longtime liberal, I wish more people in the lefty blogosphere understood that truth.

Posted by: Dr. Dan on January 30, 2006 at 7:56 PM | PERMALINK

Hail, Caesar Georgius!

Posted by: JimPortlandOR on January 30, 2006 at 7:56 PM | PERMALINK

One lefty blogosphere tactic that migh work some is their attackes on the MSM as right wing or conservative. The attacks are ridiculous (i.e., calling Matthews, Couric and the NYT right wing), but they may provide needed cover to the MSM. Liberal media for years have defended themselves by claiming both sides complained about them, so they must be objective. This permits them to point to lefty attacks.

Posted by: brian on January 30, 2006 at 7:56 PM | PERMALINK

I guess, according to this blog and its readers, that "left-wing" causes include being pro-choice, supporting the separation of church & state, being against torture, and for restricting the imperial power of the presidency.

Mainstream moderates, on the other hand, are pro-torture, anti-woman's rights and for an end to the right of privacy.

Thank God we shot down those commie lefties! Onward to Syria and Iran -- yippee!

Posted by: Dicksknee on January 30, 2006 at 7:58 PM | PERMALINK

Lefty Blogosphere 25, Vichy Democrats 20. That's how *I* see it.

But at least the lefty blogosphere *WANTS* Democrats to win (fights, battles, wars). I'm not confident one can say the same about (1) Vichy Democrats, (2) the Washington political/media establishment (not that they should root for anyone, but the way they enjoy specifically rooting against Democrats is particularly loathsome; why are they surprised when the LB tells them they suck?), and (3) snotty pseudo-independent establishment bloggers.

If anyone would prefer to believe a shoe doesn't fit them, they don't have to try it on.

Posted by: Chris on January 30, 2006 at 7:58 PM | PERMALINK

You want better judges, get the American people to vote for better Presidents and Senators. Until then, people will get what they vote for.

BTW-They also voted for a Republican led house and Senate, so there isn't a lot to quibble with here....

Posted by: justmy2 on January 30, 2006 at 8:00 PM | PERMALINK

Dicksknee
Maybe all you "mainstream moderates" will finally get a chance to vote your "pro-choice" values at the voting booth (you know- like they do in a democracy)

Posted by: Fitz on January 30, 2006 at 8:01 PM | PERMALINK

I'M CONFUSED, WAS WALMART BAD,
THE WORST,
TERRIBLE
OR JUST PLAIN NAZI-LIKE

WHEN HILLIARY CLINTON WAS ON THE BOARD OF DIRECTORS??

Posted by: Patton on January 30, 2006 at 8:02 PM | PERMALINK

Dicksnee:
"""Mainstream moderates, on the other hand, are pro-torture""""

NOW THIS IS ENTIRELY UNFAIR AND MEAN SPIRITED.

WE ARE NOT PRO-TORTURE. WE ARE PRO-CHOICE. WE PREFER TO LEAVE THE DECISION UP TO THE INDIVIDUAL SOLDIER/CIA OPERATIVE, SINCE, LIKE A PREGNANT WOMEN, WE CAN'T POSSIBLY PUT OURSELVES
IN THEIR SHOES AND UNDERSTAND ALL THE THINGS THEY ARE GOING THROUGH.

I personnaly oppose torture, but my personal beliefs should not interfere in a soldier getting his mission accomplished.

If you can be pro-choice about killing an innocent baby, you can certainly be pro-choice about playing music too loud, or turning off the AC on a terrorist killer.

Posted by: Patton on January 30, 2006 at 8:07 PM | PERMALINK

"In 5,000 words or less, what does this say about the influence of the lefty blogosphere?"

A lot. In the absence of the lefty blogosphere, this vote would have been 97 to 3 or thereabouts.

Posted by: Duddly Fornborn on January 30, 2006 at 8:07 PM | PERMALINK

I think there's a big difference between influence and value. The various important people love to point out how few people are aware of bloggers. To large extent they're right. There's a certain vaulable political impunity in that. The lefty blogs can exert all sorts of pressure with no real consequence. Let's review what happened today: In a bit of news that very few people beyond the lefty and righty activists noticed, the Democrats failed to halt the Alito nomination prior to its final vote. That failure is personified in John Kerry, who re-establishes himself as a loser. That, if anything, is what the world at large takes from what happened today. Do you really think the public at large will be swayed in any direction by Hillary Clinton's call on a cloture vote? Do you think either Hillary or Kerry vote for filibuster if there is no lefty blogosphere? Are we somehow under the impression that a bunch of Kossians turned the Democratic senators into unattractive bloviators and that freed from such gnats they might have stopped Alito? Please. And how do the Republicans use this procedural matter to their advantage in 2006? What ad do you run if you're Karl Rove to exploit this? The lefty blogosphere made life miserable for a number of Democratic senators this week. And John Kerry takes the public fall for it. Politically, there are worse things. The benefit to Republicans is the happiness of the legal right wing, the size of which I'm still not certain. But the absence of the lefty blogosphere would not have changed that. In fact, it would have just been easier for Dem. senators to wuss out. The real loser here is the country. Not the lefty blogosphere. The religious/movement conservative right built its power through the largely invisible exercise of power over the people it considered its allies. It took years and years. The lefty blogosphere is basically two years old. The fact that Kevin even asks this question is a reflection on its current value and growing influence.

Posted by: billy on January 30, 2006 at 8:07 PM | PERMALINK

The power of the lefty blogosphere? All sound and fury. You know the rest.

Posted by: Deuce on January 30, 2006 at 8:09 PM | PERMALINK

billy
Why do you think the lefty bogoshere has anything to do with it.
No- "le-blogosphere , during the Bork or Thomas hearings (and they seemed to have gone for the jugular)

No... People for the unAmerican way, Emilies list, Planned Parenthood,
They are the ones forcing No votes on Alito.
(and there not as good as they used to be)

Posted by: Fitz on January 30, 2006 at 8:13 PM | PERMALINK

power -- blogosphere -- hehehehehehehehehehehehehehehhehehehehehehehehehehehehehehehehehehehehehheheheheheheheheheheheheh

Posted by: GBH on January 30, 2006 at 8:23 PM | PERMALINK

The men of the Democratic Party are a bunch of toothless old spinsters who are worried about what their neighbors at 5 star resorts are wearing. If they had any real courage this speechifying would have been done before the hearings. This so-called filibuster or calling for a filibuster was just an attempt to appeal to the Democrats of the Democratic Party, who know Alito is the last straw on the camel's back of our liberal heritage. It is all going backward from here, and the fat faced fucks of the Democratic Party were only putting up a facade, not real opposition.

Posted by: Hostile on January 30, 2006 at 8:23 PM | PERMALINK

It shows that unfortunately the liberal blogosphere is rather powerless, and many Democrat politicians are too smart to listen to them. I'm a conservative Republican.

Posted by: Tymbrimi on January 30, 2006 at 8:23 PM | PERMALINK

Le Fitz:

In both cases you mentioned, the Democrats had a majority of senators. They controlled the Senate. (Also, it's not clear to me that Planned Parenthood is influencing anybody. You don't often hear, "Powerful influence group Planned Parenthood.") And, in case you haven't checked the Supremes roster recently, Thomas got through. Honestly, I'm not entirely sure of your point. But if you're some trolling right wing think-tanker I'm flattered you settled on me.

Posted by: billy on January 30, 2006 at 8:24 PM | PERMALINK

The blogosphere is theraputic. That is its influence.

Posted by: berlins on January 30, 2006 at 8:25 PM | PERMALINK

In 5,000 words or less? It says that the lefty blogosphere is in the initial stages of becoming a significant force in the future. Don't eat your young, Kevin, you'll get indigestion.

Posted by: bren on January 30, 2006 at 8:25 PM | PERMALINK

At least the guys here are (barely) sane - here's the latest from the Kossacks:

"What I want is a complete list of every scumsucking f--kstick Democratic a--hole senator who voted for cloture. That's what I want.
I don't know what to DO with that list, not yet -- but I know for G--DAMNED sure I won't be VOTING for any of them, let alone sending them any g--damned MONEY.

Frankly, right now I'd like nothing better than to torpedo the entire lot of them. Just dump them like so much worthless, leaden, VICHY MOTHERF--KING BALLAST.

I got nothin', folks. Don't look over here if you want comfort or a nice, uplifting LIVE TO FIGHT ANOTHER DAY speech.

I'M DONE WITH THEM. They are DEAD to me.

Yeah. CANTWELL and BYRD and LANDRIEU and BINGAMAN and every last motherf--king one of them, I'm DONE with them.

I'm registering Independent tomorrow. You're welcome to join me."
_________

Ah, the fury of the impotent.

Posted by: GBH on January 30, 2006 at 8:28 PM | PERMALINK

Now that we know we're on our own, we'll start sooner and rely on ourselves.

Posted by: Peg Terry on January 30, 2006 at 8:29 PM | PERMALINK

Kevin, were you keeping your powder dry by not writing about the filibuster attempt till now?

If so, what the hell are you waiting for?

Posted by: ArC on January 30, 2006 at 8:32 PM | PERMALINK

oooo nooo, now they're cancelling commander in chief too... does this mean hillary can't be prez after all?

....................

COMMANDER IN CHIEF TAKES A BREAK
US presidential drama COMMANDER IN CHIEF has been temporarily pulled from the ABC TV schedule because network executives are unhappy with the show's low ratings.


Posted by: peanut on January 30, 2006 at 8:33 PM | PERMALINK

billy

My only point is that the Liberal interest groups with real $$$$ (as oposed to the blogosphere that can generate grassroots buzz ) are really the influence peddlers (Same goes for the right)

Posted by: Fitz on January 30, 2006 at 8:39 PM | PERMALINK

Fitz : $$$$

Has it pegged,
They don't care bout' no stinking blog...
as they know who butters the bread.

Posted by: Ben Merc on January 30, 2006 at 8:51 PM | PERMALINK

This says less about the Lefty Blogosphere than it does about the inept, impotent, absurdity that is the DNC.

Posted by: osama_been_forgotten on January 30, 2006 at 9:01 PM | PERMALINK

What this means is that in today's 24-hour news cycle world, if you are not willing to toe the pro-fascist line, your message will not be heard and your movement will be marginalized.

Although American often gives itself tall billing as a "marketplace of ideas", the cold truth is that if you are not willing to capitulate to the powerful corporate interests responsible for purchasing the advertising which keeps the corporate media as we know it afloat, then your message will not be heard.

We have entered a new Gilded Age in which the concentration of wealth at the upper-end of the socio-economic spectrum is so absolute that it has captured near complete control of all of the mainstream organs of information dissemination: the weekly news magazines, the major daily newspapers, the cable news networks, and clearly the network channels.

Each of these forms of media has been granted extraordinary influence and power primarily as the result of President Reagan retracting the Fairness Doctrine in 1988 and President Clinton signing the Telecommunications Act of 1996.

By retracting the Fairness Doctrine, President Reagan saw to it that news organizations were no longer legally obligated to provide objective analysis of issues of importance. It used to be that in exchange for the privilege of broadcasting over the nation's airwaves, news providers were required to objectively analyze the days events: think Walter Cronkite and Edward R. Murrow.

Once Reagan opened the floodgates of sensationalist news coverage, look at what happened. The corporations that controlled the medium realized that they could keep viewers glued to their sets AND profit handsomely if they substituted low-grade porn (think: O.J. trial, Natalee Holloway, Tracy Peterson, Kobe Bryant, Michael Jackson, and Brad and Angelina) in place of actual information.

A fringe benefit, or perhaps the actual goal, of this tactic is that these very same corporations were able to dramatically increase their profits by restricting the free flow of information and advancing an agenda that is decidedly anti-democratic, and in more ways than one.

By capitulating to corporate power, the media has voluntarily placed itself on the front line of the coming second American revolution. The power-craven elite who make the programming and editorial decisions within the corporate media establishment have persistently and deliberately pushed the pro-GOP line for more than ten years now, and the evidence is overwhelming.

We know who you are. We know what you've done. You will pay for your crimes against America.

Posted by: malcolmjames on January 30, 2006 at 9:03 PM | PERMALINK

The Dems voting for closure are crazy like foxes. If Roe is overturned by 2008, maybe the majority Democratic base will get off their asses and go vote for once.
Posted by: JamesP on January 30, 2006 at 5:55 PM | PERMALINK

Let's shoot for Nov 2006.

Now that we know we're on our own, we'll start sooner and rely on ourselves.
Posted by: Peg Terry on January 30, 2006 at 8:29 PM | PERMALINK

. . . or vote for a party who WILL represent our interests; the Green Party. (like we did in '00, and have been continually bashed for it since then. Maybe the Left's problem isn't that the Greens are stealing the Democrats' votes. Maybe the problem is that the Democrats are stealing the Greens' vote.)

Posted by: osama_been_forgotten on January 30, 2006 at 9:07 PM | PERMALINK

I don't know what it says about lefty bloggers.

But I'm the same age as Alito. He and George Bush remind me of how split my generation still is. Some of us liked civil rights and hated the Vietnam war. Others of us loved the war and hated civil rights. You can easily look at the career of a Sam Alito and know which side of these issues he was on. And you don't doubt that he carried a chip on his sholder for a long time. Let's just hope he is fianlly getting over it somewhat. I wouldn't bet on it, but it would be nice.

And it was a mistake not to fight his nomination harder.

Posted by: little ole jim from red country on January 30, 2006 at 9:08 PM | PERMALINK

... but my personal beliefs should not interfere in a soldier getting his mission accomplished.
Posted by: Patton on January 30, 2006 at 8:07 PM | PERMALINK

Patton. It's my fond wish that one day, you will be on the receiving end of a soldier who needs to get his or her mission accomplished. And I hope that nobody wrings their hands over your rights - because not even you give a crap about them.

Posted by: osama_been_forgotten on January 30, 2006 at 9:14 PM | PERMALINK

It was about principal.Alito doesn't belong on the Supreme Court. The rest of you have no guts, no soul. You do nothing while they burn down the house.

Posted by: KL on January 30, 2006 at 9:24 PM | PERMALINK

It was about principal.Alito doesn't belong on the Supreme Court. The rest of you have no guts, no soul. You do nothing while they burn down the house.
Posted by: KL on January 30, 2006 at 9:24 PM | PERMALINK

If you can't convince people to pull themselves away from FauxNews long enough to smell the smoke, and notice that the house is on fire, then what can you do?

Let the fuckers burn, I say.

Posted by: osama_been_forgotten on January 30, 2006 at 9:35 PM | PERMALINK

It says that blogworld is like the blacks in America. Something that can be mobilized; can be a source of cash and can be safely ignored because just like blacks - where are you going to go?

The DLC and entrenched democratic consultants are still leading the parade.

I am afraid the non-right has not hit bottom yet. There is no rallying the base in the leadership because it is still triangulation that rules the day. In fact, the triangulation has been running away form the base for over a decade.

That is because when you are running to the middle (a middle that the right is only too happy to let you target as they move it evermore rightward) the base just doesn't matter.

Remember that when the movement conservatives took over the Republican party, they did it by commandeering the policy argument but they did it from the top. Think tanks, money raising machines,
influence PACs, and not least the campaign consultants. It was in short a well planned and even elegant takeover of the GOP.

For left blogworld as constituted to have an equivalent influence it would have to create a movement of its own and I doubt it could include this Democratic party as we know it. Even Obama joined the kewl-kidz DLC-style "blame Democrats first" crowd when he said that Dems had to do a better job of getting its message out without once mentioning WTF that message was.

It is much easier for the dog's head to wag the tail than for the tail to wag the dog. And Blogworld, we are the tail.

Posted by: paul on January 30, 2006 at 9:37 PM | PERMALINK

I think Jane says it best.


Posted by: Apollo 13 on January 30, 2006 at 9:42 PM | PERMALINK

A note:

Rove-a-dope:

It may be, that Alito *IS* what he seems on the surface; a reasonable, moderate-conservative judge. It may be that the big clam-up on Alito was driven by a desire to force the Left into a rampage to act to stop Alito. By not handing out all the availible information on Alito - by possibly seeding the media with inflammatory rumor about Alito's past, this could be a classic Rove-a-dope to get the left to over-react (again) and thus discredit the left in the eyes of the MSM.

While this may be the case - I certainly don't think that it's worth it (for Democratic Politicians) to wuss-out like they did. They should have gone balls-to-the-wall. And they didn't. Whether this was a Rove-a-dope or not, the Dems are now going to suffer the consequences. The only think they proved, is that they are utterly irrelevant as a political party.

They had two options:
1. They could have shown some cujones, and in anticipation of this as a Rove plot, wisely, accepted Alito's nomination. or
2. They could have shown some cujones, and stood their ground, and fought for their constituents.

Instead, they chose a wishy-washy middle-ground. He who hesitates is lost.

They

Posted by: osama_been_forgotten on January 30, 2006 at 9:45 PM | PERMALINK

Michael Kinsley gets it right. The Republicans just play the game better. Read him here:

http://www.slate.com/id/2134929/nav/tap1/

Posted by: P S on January 30, 2006 at 9:51 PM | PERMALINK

Kevin:

It means that we took a cause that was beyond hopeless when we started and brought it to respectable final count in about one week.

A better question is: what would the 97-3 vote that might have occured without our efforts in the last week have meant?

Here, I'll ring the bell. I'd like to see one conservative, indepedent, or DLC water-carrier explain to me *exactly* what a 97-3 vote would have said about our party? About our vitality? About our **relevance**? It would have sent the following message: "Democrats are helpless, paralyzed, subservient and afraid - they have no room to oppose a President with even a %42 approval rating. They are too stupid to understand that voters will not reward them for cooperating with George Bush."

what part of the message would have helped us? What part of it wasn't bullshit?

There's an argument to be made that Alito isn't actually superimportant - the NEXT judge is superimportant. 5 is the magic number. The angry right still has an edge on us in media access, intimidation abilities and among the sheep who run in the direction the wind is blowing. The undecided voters and centrists don't give a damn about Alito either way - they'll just go with the winner. It can be argued that it was smart to duck this filibuster until the angry left has a few more years to sharpen its teeth.

But the angry left is sharpening its teeth, make no mistake. and it will take this country back from the cynical, compromised, disconnected and power-drunk elite republicans - the remnants of the angry right that took this country back in 1980 from a similarly addlepated group of democrats.

The angry left is the fountainhead of political renewal in a system groaning with disrepair. The angry right still seems formidable now, but it hollows every day from the inside. There will come a day of reckoning where, in an instant, the mask is torn aside. And all the professional sheep will be shocked.

But you should be smarter than that, Kevin.
Wake the fuck up. But down the kool-aid of the disinterested observer. Start talking to the drooling idiots you bump into on the Washington scene, the ones who know the ones who keep sliming Dean in the papers. They will laugh at you when you pass this message...
but they will remember it.

Posted by: glasnost counterthought on January 30, 2006 at 9:51 PM | PERMALINK

What does it say about the influence of the blogosphere? That 25 senators who should have known better felt compelled to put on an amateur act for the entire nation to see.

Posted by: DevilDog on January 30, 2006 at 9:53 PM | PERMALINK

It says that most bloggers are part of a generation that is still a good 10-15 years away from the height of its influence on politics, and most senators are from an older generation that doesn't really understand the internets and doesn't consider bloggers to be a big part of their constituency.

Bloggers' influence will continue to grow as the younger generation continues to mature. But remember that the same dynamic is happening on the right.

I didn't read all comments as I'm hitting this quick before going to work. Apologies to anyone who's thoughts I've repeated.

Posted by: dr sardonicus on January 30, 2006 at 9:54 PM | PERMALINK

Anthrax and blackmail.

Posted by: Joey G. on January 30, 2006 at 9:57 PM | PERMALINK

Where have you been, Kevin? Every time I check this blog for news about Alito, it's been clear that you just don't want to talk about it. As a woman, there is no issue more important than the right to choose. Without choice, our life, liberty, and pursuit of happiness is in jeopardy. Without those inalienable rights, what else matters? So chatter away about everything else, and confine the matter most sacred to most women to an afterthought swipe at the "lefty blogosphere". But don't be surprised when women stay home on election day, unable to tell the difference between a Democratic or Republican candidate.

Posted by: Agnes on January 30, 2006 at 10:06 PM | PERMALINK

The influence lefty bloggers are getting noticed is in media reporting. The effect will have eventual impact on the political process.

Posted by: Poncho & Lefty on January 30, 2006 at 10:06 PM | PERMALINK

Its hard to have an influence when ones message doesnt resonate with the majority of voters. But then echo chambers do make ones own voice sound so vibrant and compelling...

Posted by: bains on January 30, 2006 at 10:10 PM | PERMALINK

It says that if the Democratic members of the "Gang (Rape) of 14" get pregnant from the assault they suffered at the "hands" of their Republican counterparts, they likely will have to go to Canada if they don't want to carry the reminder of the violation for nine months...

Posted by: TuiMel on January 30, 2006 at 10:11 PM | PERMALINK

"ones message doesnt resonate with the majority of voters."

Sick of reading this tripe.

It's clear: since right-wing "working the refs" did so well on the MSM, the next logical place is the blogosphere. Work the e-intellegensia into a spin. Just like high school.

Yeah sure, doesn't resonate. Whatever you say.

Posted by: Joey G. on January 30, 2006 at 10:16 PM | PERMALINK

Like I said above; clarity is good. I hope you like the results.

As for me, it sounds like 1937 in the USSR. Why don't you hold show trials ? It doesn't matter if you are not Stalin, it would be clarifying.

Posted by: Mike K on January 30, 2006 at 10:18 PM | PERMALINK

Glasnost Nothought asks:

I'd like to see one conservative, indepedent, or DLC water-carrier explain to me *exactly* what a 97-3 vote would have said about our party? About our vitality? About our **relevance**? It would have sent the following message: "Democrats are helpless, paralyzed, subservient and afraid - they have no room to oppose a President with even a %42 approval rating. They are too stupid to understand that voters will not reward them for cooperating with George Bush."

A 97-3 vote would have indicated that the Democrats looked at the Alito nomination and made a principled decision that despite the fact that they disagree with him he is still a legitimate jurist and that the President therefore gets to put him on the Court.

A 75-25 vote indicates that the Democrats made a real attempt to keep Alito off the Court but that their own Senators realize that their position is so minority and non-mainstream that pushing it would be electoral suicide.

In short, you abandoned the moral highground and demonstrated almost laughable weakness.

Posted by: Michael Friedman on January 30, 2006 at 10:31 PM | PERMALINK

Anges:>"As a woman, there is no issue more important than the right to choose. Without choice, our life, liberty, and pursuit of happiness is in jeopardy. Without those inalienable rights, what else matters?"

Agnes, I'm a man who's been the male half of several abortions and I've always thought of the choice to choose as extremely important.

But it might just be best at this time if Roe v Wade were overturned.

I am concerned about women's health, especially poor women.

Are you aware that in 04', non-college educated young women broke slightly for Bush?

It may be time to pass the fight on to the young, but they won't join it unless they actually believe it can happen, and Roe gives them an illusion that it can't.

Roe v. Wade is only an illusion of safe and available abortion. Wing-nuts across America have managed to shut down most health clinics in rural areas. They shreik and scream about the death of quarter-baked fetuses here while shrugging off the deaths of hundreds of thousands of human beings elsewhere. I don't think it's because these fools are bad people, it's because thier chains are getting yanked.

For me, the Terry Shaivo incident brought it home: early last year I watched a non-political born-again relative nearly burst an artery over the "horrible injustice" wrought upon Shaivo. A week after the coverage ended he was unconcerned and dismissive.

Roe v. Wade gives the war-profiteers and thier Republican minions a great tool to whip the 'little-people' into an angry froth. That's the only way in hell they can gain power, since no one can lie forever and the honest opinions of modern mainstream Republicans are toxic to most regular folk ( at least those who know a bit and understand why we have the laws and systems we do... )

We might be better off, all of us in the long run, were Rove v. Wade to be overturned. I believe we would, and I've been militantly pro-choice my whole adult life.

Posted by: Joey G. on January 30, 2006 at 10:39 PM | PERMALINK

Michael Friedman, how is the position of the 25 Democrats non-mainstream? A recent Gallup poll showed 66% of Americans want Roe v. Wade upheld.

Regarding your other argument, to quote Tim Grieve at Salon:

But the judiciary isn't part of the executive branch. It's the independent third branch of government, and it's hard to articulate a reason why the Senate must defer to the president's judgment on how it should be staffed. So yes, Bush has nominated exactly the sort of nominee that Democrats probably expected. But that doesn't mean that they're bound -- legally, morally or otherwise -- to put such a nominee on the court.

To the contrary, most Democrats in the Senate have run for election and reelection by promising that they'd do what they could to prevent a president from packing the court with judges who will vote to overturn Roe. By voting against Alito -- as almost all of them now seem likely to do -- they're keeping their campaign promises just as surely as Bush did when he nominated him.

Posted by: Agnes on January 30, 2006 at 10:40 PM | PERMALINK

without the efforts of the lefty blogosphere, the vote would have been 80/15/2.

Posted by: lina on January 30, 2006 at 10:42 PM | PERMALINK

Joey G says:

Agnes, I'm a man who's been the male half of several abortions and I've always thought of the choice to choose as extremely important.

Wow!

The male half of SEVERAL abortions?

I really can't think of any reasonable explanation for this other than that you are an extremely low form of life.

I mean dude, did you ever hear of "condoms"? They're these little latex thingies you slip over your wing wang before you do the nasty. They stop the girl from getting pregnant.

Now, I know that they kind of take some of the spontaneity out of sex and no one likes to mess around with them, but given a choice between putting on a condom and having to be the "male half" of an abortion I know which one I will pick time and time again.

I personally think that Roe vs. Wade was wrongly decided but that abortion should be legal (remember - just because a law banning abortion would be constitution wouldn't mean it was a good law). However, when I read something like what you wrote I am forced to reconsider.

Are you using abortion as your preferred form of birth control? It certainly sounds that way. And that's just despicable.

Posted by: Michael Friedman on January 30, 2006 at 10:48 PM | PERMALINK

We might be better off, all of us in the long run, were Rove v. Wade to be overturned.

First they came for Roe...
Then they came for Griswold...

Trust me. Nothing will keep the fundies happy until we resurrect Cromwell's Commonwealth.

Posted by: Dustbin Of History on January 30, 2006 at 10:52 PM | PERMALINK

Shystee has an excellent visual representation of Daou's triangles. Basically, where the Republican party has a direct connection to its blogs, the Democratic Party has a broken connection to its blogs.

That said, I never though I would see the day that U.S. Senators and Representatives posted on blogs, and blogs were a significant funding source. How can this not be a good thing?

If Kevin wants to look for influence, he need look bo further than "Ho" Lieberman suddenly, erm, coming to Jesus.

Posted by: lambert strether on January 30, 2006 at 10:54 PM | PERMALINK

Agnes asks:

Michael Friedman, how is the position of the 25 Democrats non-mainstream? A recent Gallup poll showed 66% of Americans want Roe v. Wade upheld.

Wrong poll. If you want to argue the Democrat's position on the Alito nomination is mainstream find a poll on that topic.

If the Democrats really thought that 66% of the country wanted them to block Alito do you really think the vote would have been 75 to 25?

Regarding your other argument, to quote Tim Grieve at Salon:
But the judiciary isn't part of the executive branch. It's the independent third branch of government, and it's hard to articulate a reason why the Senate must defer to the president's judgment on how it should be staffed. So yes, Bush has nominated exactly the sort of nominee that Democrats probably expected. But that doesn't mean that they're bound -- legally, morally or otherwise -- to put such a nominee on the court.

Does that also apply to Republican Senators and Democratic Presidents? A la the Ginsburg nomination?

In actual fact, it is generally accepted that it is the President's role to appoint judges and that the Senate's advice and consent role is intended to prevent him from packing the courts with cronies or political hacks, not to prevent the President from appointing judges who 40 senators do not like.

The Republicans followed that standard with Clinton - show me the filibuster then.

If we followed the standard you seem to be suggesting then we pretty much wouldn't have any judges appointed except when the President's party also had a 61 seat majority in the Senate.

Posted by: Michael Friedman on January 30, 2006 at 10:55 PM | PERMALINK

It means that the netroots doesn't have the juice to force anyone to vote its way. And until we win -- I mean really win -- a high profile campaign, we won't. Simple as that. As long as we continue to tilt at windmills, throwing our credibility in with nice, worthy losers in impossible races against entrenched opponents (either Dem or Repub), we'll scare nobody. And nobody will listen to us unless we scare them.

Guess what, folks? It matters. It matters whom we support, and it matters that 2 1/2 years after the Deaniacs exploded the progressive netroots into being, we still haven't won shit. Not a single race that matters. It's about time.

Posted by: ColoDem on January 30, 2006 at 11:10 PM | PERMALINK

Not sure what Fitz believes he has "won" with the appointment of Alito unless he likes unlimited power bestowed on an imbecile, lifetime failure like Bush the lesser. Or perhaps he's against womens' rights. Also not sure why he feels like he had anything to do with this "victory" other than post inanity. Fitz strikes me as a bandwagon type guy. Lemme guess Fitz...a Steeler fan right? For another week anyway.

Posted by: ckelly on January 30, 2006 at 11:32 PM | PERMALINK

I saw the head of the SEIU on Washington Journal today. He basically said that both political parties are hopelessly corrupt and anti-union at this point. He said that Unions needed to be independent of any political party and needed organize on their own to become a potent force. I think that he is right. Wouldn't something like a Solidarity Party be great? This one party, good cop-bad cop,dog and pony show really, really, sucks.

Posted by: la on January 30, 2006 at 11:35 PM | PERMALINK

Dammit folks, wake up to the fact that most of the Dem's up there in D.C.are fossils from the failed past!!!! The Repugs realised this in their own party back in the day, and replaced a bunch of them with new blood. Until we do the same, and soon, no gold ring. So, fight on, kick 'em out, and put in ones who are not afraid to say and do what's right, even if they know they may fail!!! The so-called liberal blogs, can only do what they do best: inform, stir the pot, and keep on keepin' on!

Posted by: Grouchy Cowboy on January 30, 2006 at 11:38 PM | PERMALINK

It says that on short notice the liberal blogs can do a hell of a lot, but can't get the whole job done alone. It also shows that the Dems. aren't entirely worthless. There's quite a few that never left the fight a few more that rejoined the fight (albeit too late). However, it's pretty clear that the whores, like Liberman, are killing us.
Hey, Kevin, WAKE UP! we're in the minority. Graciousness is for the powerful. Such behivior for a position of weakness is rightly called, FAWNING. It gets you derision not respect.

Posted by: joe on January 30, 2006 at 11:38 PM | PERMALINK

Did you read Digby's comments? They were on the money as they always are. I no longer have your blog in my bookmarks--your take on the transit strike workers, and your craven don't make a fuss about NSA spying and now this. I like your cats, Kevin, but you have disappointed me one time too many.

Posted by: Lynn Sutherland on January 30, 2006 at 11:39 PM | PERMALINK

Michael Friedman,

you are drawing false analogies by comparing Alito to Clinton's nominees, none of whom were outside the political mainstream. The more appropriate comparison would be the Bork nomination. He was neither a crony nor a political hack, nor was he incompetent. He was simple too extreme in his views to be acceptable to the majority of Americans. The same is true of Alito, insofar as it is possible to get a read on his true opinions.

Regarding your other point - that Agnes cited the wrong poll - you are once again being disingenuous. Given the extreme effort expended to keep Alito's actual views unknown to the public at large, probably the best way to assess his acceptablility to the public is to look at polling on issues where we have a pretty good idea of where Alito actually stands on issues important to most Americans.

And to answer your rhetorical question, yes, the same standard for filibustering a candidate stands, no matter which party is in control of the Senate. The fact that none of Clinton's appointees were filibustered speaks mostly to Clinton's political acumen and willingness to send up acceptable nominees.

Posted by: Athos on January 30, 2006 at 11:40 PM | PERMALINK

Oh, it's fun to visit here again. Kind of like after the election. While it is a bit sobering to read a few rational posts, most of you folks haven't let me down. I must say that Athos has nudged me to respond. For pure hilarity, his/her post might be the best.

"...Clinton's nominees, none of whom were outside the political mainstream"---HA. On Uranus maybe--pun intended.

"...probably the best way to assess his acceptability to the public is to look at polling on issues where "WE" have a pretty good idea where Alito actually stands..."HARDEEHARHAR! Oh, you're killing me.

And, for the orgasmic climax--"The fact that none of Clinton's appointees were filibustered speaks mostly to Clinton's political acumen..." Oh, Lord, I think I pooped my pants.

Posted by: Billy Bob Shranzburg on January 30, 2006 at 11:52 PM | PERMALINK

Senators count heads. For and against. If you didn't write or call your Senator to oppose Alito you cannot win. Simple enough?

Posted by: deejaays on January 30, 2006 at 11:54 PM | PERMALINK

This is how a political party dies in the 21st century. It is amazing to watch. Self-immolation.

It's sad.

Posted by: Mike K on January 30, 2006 at 11:55 PM | PERMALINK

Heh. Athos, you're a funny guy.

I'm looking forward to the next time there's a Democratic President and the Senate Republicans decide to filibuster a nomination.

"But our nominee is different - he's acceptable!"

"But our filibuster doesn't count - it failed!"

Fact is, Clinton's nominees were as unacceptable to the Republicans as Alito is to the Democrats. But the Republicans played by the rules.

Now that the Democrats have changed the rules Republicans will play by the new rules.

Oh, an by the way, Bork wasn't filibustered. In fact, I believe that Alito was the first Supreme Court nominee to face even an attempted filibuster.

Posted by: Michael Friedman on January 30, 2006 at 11:56 PM | PERMALINK

. . . Oh, Lord, I think I pooped my pants.
Posted by: Billy Bob Shranzburg on January 30, 2006 at 11:52 PM | PERMALINK

Predictable as ever Billy Bob.

Posted by: osama_been_forgotten on January 30, 2006 at 11:57 PM | PERMALINK

Nothing like kicking someone when they're down.

Posted by: jbou on January 31, 2006 at 12:00 AM | PERMALINK

I mean dude, did you ever hear of "condoms"?
Posted by: Michael Friedman on January 30, 2006 at 10:48 PM | PERMALINK

I mean dude, did you ever hear of latex allergies? (personally, I think that it's Evolution's answer to Condoms).

I used the lambskin condoms, of course. After my third child, I got a vasectomy. (though the third wasn't "accidental")

Posted by: osama_been_forgotten on January 31, 2006 at 12:04 AM | PERMALINK

Only 25 United States Senators cared as much about the US Supreme Court as I did. I did not know that yesterday. Now that I do, I am as disinterested in my Democratic senator as he is in the US Supreme Court.

Posted by: Chad on January 31, 2006 at 12:12 AM | PERMALINK

So Osama, were you also the male half of several abortions?

Or did you find a way to avoid the problem despite a latex allergy?

Posted by: Michael Friedman on January 31, 2006 at 12:12 AM | PERMALINK

Actually, this is an interesting point...

The Democrats will probably have the Presidency again long before they control the Senate.

Despite this they are setting all sorts of precedents for the allowable levels of obstruction by the opposite party in the Senate. Pathetically, they are doing this despite the fact that they are currently so weak that even under the new precedents they are setting they can't win.

But in 3 years or 7 years or 11 years there will be a Democratic President facing Republican majority or strong minority in the Senate and they will be able to use these precedents and win.

Pretty stupid, huh?

Posted by: Michael Friedman on January 31, 2006 at 12:19 AM | PERMALINK

Fact is, Clinton's nominees were as unacceptable to the Republicans as Alito is to the Democrats. But the Republicans played by the rules. Posted by: Michael Friedman on January 30, 2006 at 11:56 PM

Funny, it was Orin Hatch who suggested Ginsburg to Clinton. That might have something to do with her confirmation. However, the other 60 Clinton nomination that died in committee experienced a less publicized version of the filibuster. What about their up or down vote and/or presidential prerogative?

Now that the Democrats have changed the rules Republicans will play by the new rules.

Changed the rules? You mean the same rules that Republicans used in '68 to successfully filibuster Abe Fortas?

Posted by: lauren on January 31, 2006 at 12:22 AM | PERMALINK

Michael Friedman,

You write: "Fact is, Clinton's nominees were as unacceptable to the Republicans as Alito is to the Democrats. But the Republicans played by the rules.

Now that the Democrats have changed the rules Republicans will play by the new rules."

Your idiocy is simply breathtaking - the filibuster has been a part of the "rules" for decades, available at any time to Senators of either party. The Democrats aren't "changing the rules" by using the filibuster; it is the Republicans who are threatening to change the rules by changing the Senate rules on cloture.

And by the way, please don't put words in my mouth. Your heads been up your ass so long that your verbiage tastes of shit.


Posted by: Athos on January 31, 2006 at 12:25 AM | PERMALINK

So Osama, were you also the male half of several abortions?
Or did you find a way to avoid the problem despite a latex allergy?
Posted by: Michael Friedman on January 31, 2006 at 12:12 AM | PERMALINK

Not a one. While I personally believe that abortion is a terrible choice to have to make, and I would not ever make that choice myself were it mine to make - I'm also not so arrogant as to believe I have a right to send armed government thugs to inspect every pregnancy to ensure it's not aborted.

And if you read my post, my attempted solution to my latex allergy was lambskin condoms. Which were, and still are, far less effective than latex. (if one had the choice to use either without risking blisters).

I fathered three kids.

Then I got a vasectomy.

Posted by: osama_been_forgotten on January 31, 2006 at 12:30 AM | PERMALINK

Lauren displays sad ignorance:

However, the other 60 Clinton nomination that died in committee experienced a less publicized version of the filibuster.

Lauren, I suggest you look up the word "filibuster". In the words of the great Inigo Montoya, "You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means."

Once you understand what a filibuster is you will understand that you can't have a filibuster in a committee.

Changed the rules? You mean the same rules that Republicans used in '68 to successfully filibuster Abe Fortas?

Ah, I forgot Fortas. This is the second attempt at a filibuster against a Supreme Court nomination. However, the Fortas filibuster was neither successful or unsuccessful - Fortas withdrew himself before that was decided.

It is also instructive to look at the history and reasons for that filibuster:

In 1965, Lyndon Johnson persuaded Supreme Court Associate Justice Arthur Goldberg to resign his seat to become Ambassador to the United Nations. He then appointed his long time friend, Abe Fortas, to the court. Fortas was initially reluctant to give up his substantial salary, but he eventually accepted.

When Chief Justice Earl Warren announced his retirement in June 1968, Johnson nominated Fortas to replace Warren as Chief Justice. However, Fortas' confirmation by The Senate was in trouble. He had accepted $15,000 for speaking engagements at the American University law school. When the nomination set off a filibuster, Fortas withdrew his name from consideration.

In 1969, a new scandal arose. Fortas had accepted a $20,000 fee from a foundation controlled by Louis Wolfson. Wolfson was a financier who was under investigation for violating Federal securities laws. He was later convicted and spent time in prison. Wolfson was also a friend and former client of Fortas. Under intense congressional scrutiny, including a threat of impeachment, Fortas resigned from the court.
In short, Fortas was an LBJ crony and arguable corrupt - remember, he was under threat of impeachment by, if I remember correctly, a Democratically controlled Senate.

This is exactly what the Senate's advise and consent role is for.

Posted by: Michael Friedman on January 31, 2006 at 12:42 AM | PERMALINK

In fact, I believe that Alito was the first Supreme Court nominee to face even an attempted filibuster.

wrong

Posted by: haha on January 31, 2006 at 12:54 AM | PERMALINK

It says: If you are not going to fight for us, than we'll do the fighting ourselves. It says, we will remember who voted with us and we will remember those who didn't. It says, the netroots are going to grow and if some democrats are wont to ignore their own base, they will do so at their own peril. A mighty river starts with a tiny spring. We will take back our country from the fascists, or die trying. Frankly, I'm sick to death of pantywaists who won't even try, feebly whining, "we don't have a chance." Well, if we don't fight, the ney-sayers self-fulfilling prophecy will come true. Over my dead body.

Posted by: Bushtit on January 31, 2006 at 1:06 AM | PERMALINK

Lauren displays sad ignorance:
Posted by: Michael Friedman on January 31, 2006 at 12:42 AM

Nice. You don't like the message so you revert to ad hominem attacks. I suppose it's to be expected.

Lauren, I suggest you look up the word "filibuster". In the words of the great Inigo Montoya, "You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means."

Okay, let's do that. Merriam-Webster says:

Main Entry: 1filibuster

2 [2filibuster] a : the use of extreme dilatory tactics in an attempt to delay or prevent action especially in a legislative assembly b : an instance of this practice

I said a "less publicized version of the filibuster", meaning another means to delay or prevent an action, such as allowing a nomination out of committee.

Ah, I forgot Fortas. This is the second attempt at a filibuster against a Supreme Court nomination. However, the Fortas filibuster was neither successful or unsuccessful - Fortas withdrew himself before that was decided.

What did you say earlier? Oh yes,

"But our filibuster doesn't count - it failed!"
Posted by: Michael Friedman on January 30, 2006 at 11:56 PM

Posted by: lauren on January 31, 2006 at 1:24 AM | PERMALINK

Sorry, Lauren, but in the conext of the US Senate a filibuster refers to the specific Senate rules that allow a small group of Senators (currently 41) to refuse to permit debate to end.

Redefining terms is fun and has a long and illustrious history (see Humpty Dumpty) but it just shows you know you've already lost the argument.

See http://www.senate.gov/artandhistory/history/common/briefing/Filibuster_Cloture.htm for an authoritative definition and history.

Posted by: Michael Friedman on January 31, 2006 at 1:33 AM | PERMALINK

All of this is pretty much beside the point.

Here's what's really going on. Read it & weep.

Posted by: scrotus on January 31, 2006 at 1:43 AM | PERMALINK

What does it say about the blogosphere? It says that in four days time, a vocal constituency got 25 Senators to sit up and take notice of an issue of great concern.

Someone upthread was spot-on when he/she reminded us that votes follow the money. This is the hard truth of where we are today. Until there are direct corolations of significant monies coming from the blogosphere, any elequence or inspiration found in the written word will simply not be enough. In politics, money walks the talk. In the blogosphere, anonymity has its advantages, but it also means that the voices are not connected to a cash cow.

Posted by: jcricket on January 31, 2006 at 1:44 AM | PERMALINK

Yes, it's all true.

Just one little omission...

The forgot to mention our alliance with Dr. Evil.

Posted by: Michael Friedman on January 31, 2006 at 1:51 AM | PERMALINK

In short, Fortas was an LBJ crony and arguable corrupt

Your facile analysis is so fucking stupid we all just got dumber reading it. Cutting and pasting the first easy synopsis you find on google is a testament to your third-grade research skills.

The Republicans threatened to filibuster Fortas as soon as he was announced as nominee, and it had nothing to do with the stipend, which was a later discovery and minor ethical lapse used to make some political hay. Facing a lame duck LBJ and a potential Nixon win only months away, the Republicans were anxious to use any tactic possible to forestall the Fortas' nomination so that Nixon could appoint a conservative chief justice. They eventually found allies in the socially conservative southern Democrats, who like their counterparts in the opposition party were tired of all the liberal decisions that had come out of the Warren Court. Fortas career as a judge had shown him to be a strong advocate of free speech, civil rights, and rights of the accused, which did not win him favor with the paleocons. Strom Thurmond held a screening of porn films for the Senate and the press to show how Fortas' liberal decisions had allowed filth to pour into the South, and he also accused Fortas' of rendering decisions from the bench that had allowed murderers and rapists to go free.

Fortas is generally considered by historians as one of the most brilliant legal minds of his era, and lost the job because members of both parties didn't want another liberal justice.

The newspapers following the unfolding story at the time repeatedly described it in terms of an impending Republican filibuster. In current Republican double-speak it can be considered even worse than an ordinary filibuster because the motion to take up the nomination was filibustered and not the vote on the nomination itself.

In other words, Abe never got an "up or down vote" on the chance to have an "up or down vote."

Posted by: trex on January 31, 2006 at 2:27 AM | PERMALINK

Like ... encouraging their readers to call their Democratic Senators to bolster support for a filibuster of Sam Alito. Surely that would be a more noble cause than making angry calls to TurboTax ad execs. - tim

Why can't we do both? I did.

Senator Stabenow supported the filibuster and Senator Levin was undecided. I am confident they will both vote against the confirmation of Scalito, not that it will help much. I am proud of Debbie and will write her a thank you e-mail, Carl rocks most of the time but no thank you e-mail for him. He still has my vote however because 99.5% of the time he is on the right side of the issues.

I also wrote an e-mail to the CEO of Intuit and told them that I had cancelled my order for Turbo Tax which I had ordered from PC Mall. Maybe I can just multitask my anger and indignance better than some, but why should I save my bile only for the wonky stuff and let the rest slide?

Posted by: Eric Paulsen on January 31, 2006 at 3:24 AM | PERMALINK

Vidkun Quisling. Admiral Horthy. Adolf Hitler. Benito Mussolini.

Nobody tried to prevent them from taking power under the color of law. No one could be bothered to try to stop the rightwing takeover of America.

Posted by: Boing!!!! on January 31, 2006 at 4:17 AM | PERMALINK

I almost cringe when someone lets out a personal detail in order to make a point because there is always some utter jerk like Michael 'Below the Belt' Friedman who can't resist using this in a way most of us would choose not to (even if we disagreed with the poster). In my world, restraint is a sign of maturity and Mr. Friedman quite obviously lacks the restraint he accuses another of lacking and for a much less compelling drive.

Oh and what's all this 'us' bullshit Mikey? I see nothing 'us' (at least nothing that would tie you to me) in your postings.

Posted by: snicker-snack on January 31, 2006 at 6:25 AM | PERMALINK

It says that as much as the far left whines and bitches until they unite and quit squabbling over their little special interests they aren't going to accomplish much. And I'm a Democrat. I get tired of watching the special interest left tear down a politician because he's pro-life or pro-gun or a hawk. Just about any Dem is better than a Republican (except Zell Miller).

Posted by: GeorgiaHoo on January 31, 2006 at 7:07 AM | PERMALINK

trex,

Few remember Abe Fortas and this is a much different political environment with a very strong conservative movement. There were a number of aspects of this filibuster that were exceedingly stupid and the only reason it happened is because John Kerry is running for President. It has zero to do with bloggers.

A dozen Senators had to take very difficult votes they will be defending for a long time. This is why Senators rarely make it to the WH. Even someone like Obama is now in the embarrsing position of ridicultnig the filibuster on Sunday and then voting for it on Monday.

Every democratic candidate for President voted for the filibuster despite public support for Alito. Not only will they have to answer for this in a general election but if elected the 1st time they nominate a supreme court justice they'll have no defense against a filibuster.

Menendez from NJ, lagging behind Kean in the Sebate race, supported the filibuster. It's going to cost him.

The more interesting case is Chafee. This republican is a reliably liberal vote. He is in a hard race in the GOP primary against a real republican. If he loses the primary the Dems wold have an easier pick-up. But if the GOP challenger wins it's a solid conservative vote.

Kerry is the only one who wanted this vote. He wants the Deaniacs. It was a bad idea.

Posted by: rdw on January 31, 2006 at 8:27 AM | PERMALINK

What does the vote say about the power of the blogosphere?

A lot, about "not much."

This little episode is worthy of a documentary by Werner Herzog. His lyric fatalism would be a good baseline from which to observe and make comment on the Alito proceedings.

Posted by: david on January 31, 2006 at 8:37 AM | PERMALINK

The progressive blogs have been aiming their anger and frustration at the wrong place. Instead of bitching about Bush, we should have been bitching and punishing the spineless Dems, who are supposed to be representing us. No matter what they do, or how they betray us, we continue to support them. Destroy one, and they'll never mess with us again. Keep enabling them and expect more Alitos.

Posted by: Prizgar on January 31, 2006 at 8:57 AM | PERMALINK

rdw/Michael Friedman -

rdw wrote, "Every democratic candidate for President voted for the filibuster despite public support for Alito". Michael Friedman wrote that a president's nominees are sacred, and Republicans would never mess with a president's picks.

Last I heard, the Democratic senators who voted no on cloture are also voting no on Alito's confirmation. That's "public support"? So let's see, if these senators run for president, they will have to "answer to" voting against a lifetime appointment on the highest court in the land of someone who wants to overthrow something 66% of Americans want to uphold (Roe v. Wade, Gallup Poll). These senators must be quaking in fear, imagine the nerve of a politician voting to uphold the position of the majority of Americans (and there's another poll out you might want to look up - ABC/Washington Post, reporting 51% to 37% want to go in the direction the Democrats rather than the Republicans). And if any of the senators become president and nominate someone so extreme as Altio, with a record to support his views (and that's only what we've been allowed to see), then I'd imagine that person shouldn't be too surprised to see a filibuster mounting, too (if Republicans haven't done away with it by then). Only difference is, if the Republicans control Congress, they don't have to filibuster. You brought up the Clinton era, but remember, in 1994 (two years into his presidency) Republicans gained a majority in both houses of Congress. This is from a New York Times editorial:

Republican majorities blocked more than 60 judicial candidates during the Clinton administration by denying them committee hearings through the use of anonymous "blue slip" holds by individual lawmakers and a variety of other tactics just as effective, if less visible, than the filibuster. The majority leader, Bill Frist, who is zealously planning to smash the Senate rules, took part himself in a filibuster of a Clinton appeals court nominee.
Posted by: Agnes on January 31, 2006 at 9:19 AM | PERMALINK

FROM 'THE HILL'

Ford, black leaders at odds over Alito
By Peter Savodnik

Rep. Harold Fords opposition to filibustering Judge Samuel Alitos Supreme Court nomination is exacerbating tensions between the Tennessee Democrat and black political leaders, underscoring the fine line that the Senate hopeful must walk.

Just one example of the mess Kerry created.

Posted by: rdw on January 31, 2006 at 10:00 AM | PERMALINK

Agnes,

Too bad for you not everyone is a one issue voter. Sams favorables were 2 to 1 versus his unfavorbles and actually increased after the Senate hearings.

You cannot use Teddy Kennedy to attack anyones morals.

The worst thing isn't the vote against Sam but the vote to support the filibuster. This was egregiouly stupid. Can't you just see President Hillary demanding an up and down vote for her Supreme Court nomination? She just OK'd the practice of voting against a highly quaified nominee based on how you think they night vote. In a Senate with many more conservatives than liberals that's just stupid.

The lefty bloggers wanted a rule, "conservatives need not apply". What they got was, "Liberals need not apply". It's not fair to stupid to call this stupid.

BTW: I don't know what MF said but nothing is sacred. Conservatives certainly didn't think Harriet was sacred. The President has a responsibility to make great picks. There's a wealth of legal talent available. Harriet was not a strong pick. Roberts and Alito were outstanding. The lesson here is conservatives can make it to the Supreme Court as long as they're stars.

This is the damage the lefty bloggers did. This works out politically for the GOP because kerry made so many take positions they did not want to take. GWB is now MORE LIKELY to make a conservative pick if he gets another shot. This worked out better than he had any right to expect.


Posted by: rdw on January 31, 2006 at 10:18 AM | PERMALINK

Deborah Orin dissects the Democrats' failed filibuster attempt in today's New York Post:

Republicans loved 2004 loser Kerry's flop of a filibuster against Supreme Court nominee Samuel Alito because it had Democrats tearing each other's eyes out over a fight they couldn't win.

[P]lenty of Democrats who did vote for the filibuster like New York's Sen. Chuck Schumer left little doubt that they were livid at Kerry's stunt, since it turned into a dream come true for Bush political guru Rove.

Senate Democrats had already huddled and agreed that a filibuster would be dumb: They lacked the votes and Americans backed Alito by 2-1, so it could alienate the desperately needed swing voters.

But then Kerry, hobnobbing with hotshots in posh Davos, Switzerland, got his marching orders from The New York Times and the left-wing blog Daily Kos (which can be hard to tell apart these days). Presto: Insta-filibuster, like it or not.

Posted by: rdw on January 31, 2006 at 10:24 AM | PERMALINK

Just one example of the mess Kerry created.

Kerry didn't create a mess. Black leaders are at odds with Dems for not stopping Alito. Kerry tried. Spineless Dems didn't.

Posted by: Apollo 13 on January 31, 2006 at 10:49 AM | PERMALINK

no offense, but listening ot Kevin Drum is what the democrats had been doing. Not him in particular, but his rich, white-bred self serving clones. That's what's hurt us so much. That's why we're no longer credibly the party of the middle and working classes. And that's why we lose. It takes time to shake 20 years of bad political decisions and capitulation by conservatives in democratic clothing.

Only an idiot thinsk it would have mattered if they fillibustered him. The chattering classes would be in a tizzy, but they are republicans anyway and so for our electoral calculations, they won't matter. Nobody would have given a fuck about this except for people who were already determined to vote against us. This would have been painless, nobody would have lost an election because of it. The bottom line is they are cowards in the pockets of republican businessmen.

Posted by: soul on January 31, 2006 at 10:56 AM | PERMALINK

apollo 13,

Kerry created a mess and he did it for the most selfish of reasons. His own Presidential aspirations. He now has the Dean wing. He never had a prayer of succeeding in stopping Alito.

Barak Obama was on TV this weekend explaining why
the filibuster was a bad idea. He voted for it. Think they'll be wearing flip-flops at his campaign appearances?

Bill Nelson took a bold enough step in voting against alito but NOT for a filibuster. This Red state is upfor reelection in what is expected to be a safe seat. But not THAT safe.
Will the lefty blogs make him pay as promised? If they don't will they look silly?

Menendez of NJ filibustered the homeboy. Bad move. Very bad move. local boy makes very good and he lets Teddy Kennedy trash him as a racists and then does exactly as Teddy orders him to do. This will absolutely cost him votes. Not a good think when you are already trailing.

You've got to appoint Chuck Schumer as your majority leader and listen to him. I can't stand the man but he's a terrific politician. He's your 3rd best fund raiser, a sharp recruiter and strategist and he knows when to fold them. This filibuster could easily cost your party a Senate seat or two.

Posted by: rdw on January 31, 2006 at 11:16 AM | PERMALINK

apollo: check it out

Mary Landrieu to be Singing the Blues
[Wendy Long 01/31 11:40 AM]

As Ed noted, Senator Mary Landrieu voted against Justice Alito's confirmation. Her vote will not likely sit well in the now-very-red-state of Louisiana. Landrieu is likely to be singing the blues soon.


Mary has other problems as well. New Orleans is losing half it's population permanently. This is GWBs brilliance. He was able to replace Cleland and Daschle with solid conservatives because those two, among others, took positions opposite their electorate. That's why he was able to nominate Alito and not fear a filibuster. Bush is going to do to Landrieu just as he did to Daschle.

Posted by: rdw on January 31, 2006 at 11:54 AM | PERMALINK

A better question to ask is, "how powerful and smart is the conservative blogosphere versus the left."?

The right rebelled against Meirs. She's gone.

The left rebelled and the Senate just confirmed Alito 58 - 42. He'll be sworn in this afternoon by John Roberts as our 110th Jistice. A lifetime appointment.

The right benefits from the blogosphere. The left is dragged down by them.

Posted by: rdw on January 31, 2006 at 12:02 PM | PERMALINK

If the final tally I saw this morning is correct, then the effect is in the no votes, which are higher than I expected. It appears that there are about 12-15 Democrats who straddled the fence on this one by voting for cloture and voting against Alito's confirmation. This is, in no small part, an indication of the power of the blogosphere.

Also, as rdw pointed out, the right-wing blogosphere destroyed the Miers nomination.

Posted by: Yancey Ward on January 31, 2006 at 12:08 PM | PERMALINK

That's easy. The "lefty blogosphere" is irrelevant except as a means of extracting money. The Democratic party apparatus merely sees the blogs as a resource to be exploited. Make promises here and there, make a few obvious and easy "fights" that were destined to win without the bloggers in the first place (social security, Patriot Act renewal) and parlay that into $$$ to rinse and repeat the same old same old.

The Democratic party is dead. It stands for nothing and will fight for nothing. I mean ABSOLUTELY nothing. So much a vacuum is what the party is about and will fight for that there isn't even zero point energy there.

Posted by: Praedor Atrebates on January 31, 2006 at 12:24 PM | PERMALINK

This is, in no small part, an indication of the power of the blogosphere.

But what does it say of that power. Has it been used positively or negatively?

Knowing it was doomed to failure what was accomplished? Was this pure vanity by the bloggers?

They seem to be saying this show of backbone will give GWB pause before nominating another conservative.

Isn't that laughable given the actual results of the vote? Others are saying this proves a solid conservative can be nominated and pass rather easily. GWB wins big and has given Rove more attack points for a boatload of Democratic candidates in upcoming Senate races.

I don't see how anyone can call this a victory for the democrats from any perspective. One of the ironies of the bloggers actions here isto have put more of their senators in harms way. In the last two elections GWB has picked off 6 Democratic seats. He's good at this. Why make it so easy?

Posted by: rdw on January 31, 2006 at 12:34 PM | PERMALINK
In actual fact, it is generally accepted that it is the President's role to appoint judges and that the Senate's advice and consent role is intended to prevent him from packing the courts with cronies or political hacks, not to prevent the President from appointing judges who 40 senators do not like.

It is, perhaps, generally accepted by people entirely ignorant of history and the Constitution that the advice and consent role is limited only to preventing "cronies or political hacks", and not a plenary power of a coordinate branch of government to be exercised under whatever rules and for whatever purposes it sees fit. But since 1795 the Senate has rejected nominees for reasons of ideology, and I suspect the Senators of that day were more intimately familiar with the framer's intent.

Posted by: cmdicely on January 31, 2006 at 12:35 PM | PERMALINK
Knowing it was doomed to failure what was accomplished?

This presupposes that standing up and showing spine and mobilizing the base is a failure simply because you don't acheive the short-term policy focus.

If the Christian Right thought that way, they would have given up long before they managed to take control of the Republican Party, and through it the entire federal government. They weren't always successful in the short-term, but what they did do was build an energized, active grassroots movement that held the media and politicians to account and radically shifted the political dialogue in the country.

Posted by: cmdicely on January 31, 2006 at 12:39 PM | PERMALINK

rdw,

I would argue that one cannot know it was doomed without trying to make the fight. Unfortunately for the Left, Alito gave them little ammunition to work with; otherwise the filibuster may have had the 40+ votes.

Again, I was surprised that Alito didn't get over 60 votes for confirmation. The left-wing blogosphere is responsible for this. It certainly wasn't a victory, but it does demonstrate that the Democrats listen to them.

Posted by: Yancey Ward on January 31, 2006 at 12:50 PM | PERMALINK

Hate to throw cold water on all the wingnuts jacking off to this big "victory"(hint: it's not a big deal when you control all branches of government and everyone knows he's going to be confirmed no matter what)--

latest NBC poll shows the "very popular" Bush with a 39% approval rating, same as his approval on handling the Iraq war. List of priorities are topped by bring the troops home from Iraq and health care. Now I know this might shock some of you who thought that Republicans might ride this SCOTUS vote to a victory in November, but it's not nowhere to be seen amongst top priorities.

Hey, and whatever happened to the big Social Security "crisis"? I thought we had to do something now, now, now? Don't tell me that Bush wasn't really serious about it--how could he just drop such a crisis from his agenda? I thought he didn't care about his approval, only doing the right thing? Hmmmm

Posted by: Ringo on January 31, 2006 at 12:52 PM | PERMALINK

Don't worry, Ringo, that social security crisis is out there, but won't arrive for another 8-12 years.


And, yes, Bush really wasn't serious (at least his proposal wasn't).

Posted by: Yancey Ward on January 31, 2006 at 1:00 PM | PERMALINK

This presupposes that standing up and showing spine and mobilizing the base is a failure simply because you don't acheive the short-term policy focus.

I am speaking directly of sacrificing long-term
objectives because of immediate ego gratification. Mounting a filibuster was never a question of spine. It as always a question of intelligence. Kerry had one goal in mind and only one. That is capturing the Dean base. It was pure political calculation. Your sharpest strategist is Schumer. He's livid for good reason.

Which objective does Menendez losing his seat to Kean serve, short-term or long-term?

Landrieu isn't up until '08 but this won't Help. if she were up in 06 she'd lose.

Casey in PA came out early FOR Alito. A smart move but it won't help him attract philly voters. He's got a lead but if Rendell doesn't bing out philly voters he will not win.

Schumer is pissed because his job of adding senate seats is now harder and if you ask him he'll tell you, being in the minority with 44 seats sucks.

Bush was able to nominate Alito because he has 55 Senators. That's up from 49. The Dems are down to 44 Senators. How's that working for your short term objectives? Aside from taking successful filibusters off the table?

This was the biggest political gift handed to Rove since the Homeland Security vote in 2002.

Posted by: rdw on January 31, 2006 at 1:05 PM | PERMALINK

Again, I was surprised that Alito didn't get over 60 votes for confirmation. The left-wing blogosphere is responsible for this. It certainly wasn't a victory, but it does demonstrate that the Democrats listen to them.

But is it productive influence? Should they listen to them?

I say no. Not even close. You've changed the rules. Ginsburg received 90+ votes. Tomorrow she'd be filibustered. And because the GOP has 11 more seats it would be a successful filibuster.

You've forced several Senators running in 2006 into difficult spots. Menendez in NJ would like to get some votes out of Trenton.

Alito's votes will count just as much as Ginsburg and he will be sworn in in a few hours and sit in the next session.

Aside from a short-term, 'well we showed them" you've accomplished nothing. Tell me where I am wrong?

Posted by: rdw on January 31, 2006 at 1:12 PM | PERMALINK

rdw:

> Menendez from NJ, lagging behind Kean in the Sebate race,
> supported the filibuster. It's going to cost him.

Wooten, you know jack about Jersey politics. I know it cold;
I spent all last summer and fall working professionally in the
voter ID and GOTV operation for Corzine. I've talked to more
than my share of NJ Republicans and I can assure you -- they
aren't aroused by social-issue idiocy, nor are they throwing a pity
party for an Italian-American who made it easily onto the court.

Tom Kean Jr. is leading in the polls right now because of
name recognition; his dad *is* rather a nationally famous
guy, and -- compared to Chrissy Witless and Donald DiFrancesco
-- he wasn't a bad governor, as Republican governors go.

Those polls mean absolutely nothing this early out.
Bob Menendez isn't remotely a household word yet.

Plus, there's something to be said for an energized base.
Ask the Christians about the hundreds of stone-quioxtic
battles they fought before they captured the GOP.

Corzine's been reining in corruption at a mad pace. He kicked
out the head of the UMDNJ board (pissing off a Newark powerbroker)
and forced all government consultants to sign disclosure forms.

We'll see how the race begins to look in late spring ...

Bob

Posted by: rmck1 on January 31, 2006 at 1:21 PM | PERMALINK

Now I know this might shock some of you who thought that Republicans might ride this SCOTUS vote to a victory in November, but it's not nowhere to be seen amongst top priorities.

Quite true. This by itself won't get a single senator elected and GWBs weak polls are an issue. But Democrats still have to do something to help themselves. They have to make smart political moves. This one was exceptionally stupid. You cannot keep doing this.

I can only speak of PA but GWB is not running and will have little to no influence. The Alito vote here was interesting in that both Rendel and Casey said they'd vote FOR Sam. That will not help turnout even a little bit in Philly. Further, Philadelphia libs will gladly turnout and vote against Bush the next time he runs. A vote for pro-life and pro-Alito Casey is not a vote against Bush. Nether is a vote for Rendel a vote against Bush. There's no link.

Bush and Rove are the masters of strategic campaigning. They will use Menendez vote against him in ethnic, middle class and catholic areas. There's a photographer now in the capital getting a picture of menendez posing with Teddy Kennedy for a poster. Middle class folk love it when the Teddy Kennedy's of the world call their successful neighbors racists. In PA the citizens of Philly will know there's not a sliver of a difference between Santorum and Casey on the big issues.

Will this carry the day? Absolutely not. Will it help? Absoloutely! Is it a great sign the Democratic leadership is badly fractured and because half the Senators are running for President is likely to remain fractured a good thing? Oh yes!

Posted by: rdw on January 31, 2006 at 1:28 PM | PERMALINK

rdw;

Don't be fool enough to think that John Kerry "captured the Dean base."

The Dean base *despises* John Kerry and always has.

This will mean very little in the primaries. Kerry had his shot and blew it spectacularly; he's not getting another one and nobody on the activist left thinks he'd deserve one, anyway.

The guy talks out of both sides of his mouth. That's very last think the activist base is looking for in a nominee.

Bob

Posted by: rmck1 on January 31, 2006 at 1:29 PM | PERMALINK

It was perfect politics.

The failure of the filibuster by such a margin shows that the Dems are neither foolish nor overly partisan, that they represent a broad spectrum of interests, while the members of the GOP are essentially lemmings.

No one expected the Dems to support Alito, so not supporting him is nothing the GOP can play up.

Indeed, the GOP has been so foaming at the mouth over the top critical of the Dems being obstructionists that their claim falls utterly flat with the results of this vote - it shows the GOP was lying when it said that the Democrats, as a whole, are obstructionists and unwilling to give a nominee an up or down vote.

Given the rabid comments of the GOP on Democratic strategy, nothing the Dems could have done would have been a surprise to the public or convinced the public any more that the Dems are obstructionists and by not getting enough votes they thoroughly eviscerated the GOP meme.

Coupled with the GOP's own "filibuster" (denial of an up or down vote) on the Miers nomination, their massive loss of credibility continues to be compounded.

Posted by: Advocate for God on January 31, 2006 at 1:30 PM | PERMALINK

rdw:

Your vision of ethnic politics is very crude and has no salience in New Jersey.

First of all, Hispanics feel much closer to fellow Hispanic Bob Mendendez than any vote against cloture for Alito would even come close to touching.

Secondly -- Alito made it to the court with a comfortable margin. You cannot turn him into some poster boy for sullen Catholic resentment.

Third of all, the people who even *know* about the cloture vote are informed on the issue. They're either pro- or anti- Alito based on his ideology; the cloture vote is seen as a tactic. You oppose it if you oppose Alito. You favor it if you support him.

New Jersey is just not part of Buttfuckistan like Pennsylvania.

Bob

Posted by: rmck1 on January 31, 2006 at 1:37 PM | PERMALINK

We'll see how the race begins to look in late spring ...

You play your hand too agressively. I agree polls are probably meaningless at this point but it's still much better to have a lead and a positive position. Kean has to be a good candidate. If he is a good candidate he's got a position of strength. Corzine is not a power broker. He paid big money for both his positions. Menendez will have to win this on his own and he got off to a bad start. Rove will use this vote effectively and we can be fairly sure there will be many more hard votes to come.

This is a Bush specality. Menendez will frequently be asked to vote with his party and against popular sentiment. It's how Bush picked off 6 Senate seat.

Posted by: rdw on January 31, 2006 at 1:38 PM | PERMALINK

The Dean base *despises* John Kerry and always has.

This will mean very little in the primaries. Kerry had his shot and blew it spectacularly; he's not getting another one and nobody on the activist left thinks he'd deserve one, anyway.

If you say so. I can't say I understand them but this is the conventional wisdom. Obviously Kerry doesn't understand them any better than I do because that's what this was about.

Posted by: rdw on January 31, 2006 at 1:44 PM | PERMALINK

rdw:

Wooten, like I said, you know jack shit about NJ politics.

Corzine is precisely the most feared kind of power broker there is, because he is not owned. Ask Steve Adubato, Sr. (an oldtime, ward boss-type powerbroker) about that, after his handpicked boy was kicked off the board of UMDNJ two weeks ago.

Mainly, there just is no constituency for buttfuck politics in NJ. There are no pockets of the state where social conservatism can be used as a club. NJ has a civil union law, dontcha know. NJ reactionary politics has much more to do with tax and development issues than it has to do with issues that bubble up in the culture wars.

And plus, NJ Republicans are pretty damn corporate and well-educated and the kind of people who do worry about the unitary executive, even if they're willing to give Bush a pass at the moment over the wiretapping issue.

The ethnic city nabes are overwhelmingly Democratic. The lower-middle class white-flight suburbs (e.g. Hamilton outside of Trenton) are more preoccupied with bread-and-butter issues than they are with who gets to have an abortion.

There just aren't huge pockets of uneducated ignorance that make up a discernable voting bloc.

Bob

Posted by: rmck1 on January 31, 2006 at 1:53 PM | PERMALINK

"In 5,000 words or less, what does this say about the influence of the lefty blogosphere?"

The what?

Posted by: kl on January 31, 2006 at 1:54 PM | PERMALINK

Alito made it to the court with a comfortable margin. You cannot turn him into some poster boy for sullen Catholic resentment.

Rove can! He's got a lot to work with. The image of Teddy K calling Sam a racists is invaluable. Why is he a racist? Because he's from an ethnic neighborhood in Trenton. This is much better than the catholic angle. Teddy is catholic. but lets face it. He was never near ethnic, middle class neighborhood growing up. With Teddy and Johnboy we have the definition of elitist. The last thing I need to hear is than menendez agree with these two Boston liberals that everyone from an ethnic neighborhood in less than tony New jersey is a racist.

It's not the catholic angle. It's the elitist angle. Do you really like those blueblood New Englanders looking down there noses at New Jersey folk? Those trenton racists!

Bob, wasn't it you who said all thsoe catholic ethnics in West Philly were racists? I think so. Funny thing is they don't exactly like this inference and they vote. They really detest elitists. If they judge Menendez by the company he keeps he's got problems.

Posted by: rdw on January 31, 2006 at 1:55 PM | PERMALINK

rdw:

What this is "about," Wooten, is your relentless attempt to character-assassinate John Kerry.

It could never occur to you for the tiniest fraction of a second that Kerry did that out of principle, could it.

Does it help him among primary voters? That question seems to be far more relevant to people like yourself than it is to the left wing base on whose behalf you put yourself in the absurd position to try to speak.

It's like listening to you talk about Hillary. According to you, every single thing she does regarding ANYTHING is about '08.

I mean, sheesh. Until given a reason otherwise, I'm with Feingold.

Bob

Posted by: rmck1 on January 31, 2006 at 2:03 PM | PERMALINK

Wooten, like I said, you know jack shit about NJ politics.


Maybe not. Who cares? I do know Karl Rove. So do you. I also can count. So can you. GWB has picked off 6 democratic seats in 2 elections. Corzine is a liberal hack. He wanted to become governor thinking that's a ticket to the WH. He's got no prayer.

Posted by: rdw on January 31, 2006 at 2:03 PM | PERMALINK

It could never occur to you for the tiniest fraction of a second that Kerry did that out of principle, could it.

Please!

It's like listening to you talk about Hillary. According to you, every single thing she does regarding ANYTHING is about '08.

Let me guess bob, from the time she could speak she said she wanted to serve the people of NY. It's been her life' goal. That's the same time she became a yankees fan.

Posted by: rdw on January 31, 2006 at 2:07 PM | PERMALINK

rdw:

Wooten, pull you frickin' head up out of Karl Rove's ass for thirteen microseconds and smell the strong, Cuban coffee.

Bob Menendez is a second-generation Cuban-American who was raised in a Union City tenement.

He is a poster boy for ethnic immigrant success.

The very *last* thing he has to worry about is whether or not agreeing with Teddy and John will somehow turn him into an elitist in the minds of working-class voters.

Bob

Posted by: rmck1 on January 31, 2006 at 2:07 PM | PERMALINK

rdw,

Enough with the "one issue voter" nonsense being put forth as a legitimate argument. If there was one issue where your inalienable rights to life, liberty, and pursuit of happiness were to be so easily and completely taken away from you - where a total stranger could commandier your body - then you'd be a "one issue voter" in a heartbeat.

Posted by: Agnes on January 31, 2006 at 2:10 PM | PERMALINK

bob,

We both know Rove. The man has no scruples. By the time he gets done with Bob you'll thik he got his start as Teddy's pool boy!

Posted by: rdw on January 31, 2006 at 2:10 PM | PERMALINK

Agnes,

Lighten up. 1st off the court isn't close to overturning Roe. 2nd off it won't make a difference. Overturning Roe merely means the Federal government is out of it. It was already legal in several states before Roe passed and would be widely available on a state by state basis if it were overturned.

Posted by: rdw on January 31, 2006 at 2:14 PM | PERMALINK

rdw:

Is this the real Wooten or is this a parody? Because I've never heard the real Wooten actually admit that Rove has no scruples.

And if it is the real Wooten and you admit that -- then hey -- FUCK YOU and the horse you rode in on, k? :)

Scruples matter, asswipe.

As for Corzine -- once again, you exhibit your stunning cluelessness. Corzine was *asked to run* by the NJ powerbrokers because of 1) deep pockets and 2) name recogniztion and a good approval rating.

Does Corzine have national ambitions? I doubt it, frankly. He's not a hugely charismatic guy. And he's more a money manager than anything else.

Bob

Posted by: rmck1 on January 31, 2006 at 2:16 PM | PERMALINK

rdw -- right on.

Roe ain't goin anywhere. The best strategy for Dems is to let the right have their head on a few of these and wetch the country go nuts...

If the bushbots try to change abortion law, the country will revert back to Democratic control in all 50 states.

There is no stomach for state intrusion into forcing a woman to go to mexico or Canada for an abortion... or to imprison doctors.

Why oh why don't party regulars get it.

The right is trying to rein in their crazies and the left should do the same.

Gopers don't want to see this issue come up because it's a loser.

We have far more to worry about than assisted suicde and abortion.

If Alito believes in the imperial presidency in times of war - then we'll just keep invading more of israel's neighbors, eh?

How can dems complain with a very large Knish in their collective mouth?

stupid stupid stupid... throw off the chains of Israel and become a true opposition party.

That's the solution to war and oil prices.

Posted by: Tj on January 31, 2006 at 2:22 PM | PERMALINK

Bob,

Get a sense of humor! Rove is my guy! Not that I care for him all the at much but anyone who can drive liberals so far up a wall is good people. Plus I like having 55 Senators.

Corzine, like all politicians, is very ambitious. Rich boys like Jon don't change jobs because some party hacks ask. As if they had any say. That was his job the moment it became available and there was/is no one to say anything different.

Posted by: rdw on January 31, 2006 at 2:23 PM | PERMALINK

Bob,

one more piece of good news. When watching the SOTU tonight look in one of the front rows for your homeboy. Hint: he'll be wearing black but he won't be in mourning. All of Trenton will be watching and the missus won't be crying. In fact if the cameramen do their work I bet we catch her flipping Teddy the bird.

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

Lighten up. 1st off the court isn't close to overturning Roe. 2nd off it won't make a difference. Overturning Roe merely means the Federal government is out of it. It was already legal in several states before Roe passed and would be widely available on a state by state basis if it were overturned.

You are so wrong. See, it depends on HOW a state law is worded whether or not the SCOTUS overturns Roe v Wade ACROSS THE COUNTRY or only "takes the feds out of it" (then you run into equal protection issues as different states ruin healthcare for women BECAUSE they are women...). If the SCROTUS decides that blastocysts are full-blown human citizens with full-blown Constitutional rights (a position that IS Alito's position...and likely Roberts' and Thomas' - we'll have to see with Scalia and Kennedy), then choice is destroyed nation-wide and women instantly become state property.

Your right-wing spin on how overturning RvW isn't THAT big a deal, that it will still be legal in blue states is crap. Also, birthcontrol options will fall by the wayside as nutters that believe that certain types of birthcontrol is abortion. Women will LOVE that!

Posted by: Praedor Atrebates on January 31, 2006 at 2:41 PM | PERMALINK

praedor,

This is nonsense. The conservative argument against abortion is the constitution does not address abortion. There is no right to abortion but neither is there a right of the federal government to ban abortion. It's a state issue. The Federal government has no role.

Aside from parental-notification and partial birth the public supports abortion at least thru the 1st trimester. It would immediately be approved in at least 40 states Representing 95% of the population. It would be far easier and cheaper for the pro-choice types to provide private planes and an ambulance service to cover the 5% without access.

These scare tactics of suggesting they'll ban birth conrol next are comically inept. It may resonate within a small part of your echo chamber but is laughable outside it. There are two reasons why liberalism is fading. This comical extremism is one of them. Abortion and birth control is the other. Liberal secularists are breeding themselves out of existance. Firm data is hard to come by but birthrates for liberal secularists in North America and Canada as well as the EU are north of 1.0 and well below 1.5.

In terms of demographics this is simply devastating. We've seen these trends in our regular census but the fact is it's just gaining steam. We're well into our 2nd generation post-Roe. The kids you did not have are now not having kids. Conservatives like me are far more likely to have 3 or 4 kids and thus 8 or more grandchildren. Liberal Seularists are less likely to get married and stay married and thus more likely to have 2 or fewer kids. This is going to be huge by 2020.

BTW: A better example of the secular world is Russia. Their population has started to shrink much earlier than expected. Their population will be only half as large in 2065 and half again by 2130.

Posted by: rdw on January 31, 2006 at 3:31 PM | PERMALINK

BTW-They also voted for a Republican led house and Senate,

Well, other than the fact that a majority voted for Democratic Senators and, ISTR the same is true of the House, too, so its misleading, at best, to say the American people voted for Republican-led bodies. The single-member district model of representation is broken to start with, and the US federal legislative electoral model is so badly skewed as to have only a passing connection with "democracy".

Posted by: cmdicely on January 31, 2006 at 4:26 PM | PERMALINK

Well, other than the fact that a majority voted for Democratic Senators

Utterly pointless. Chucky loves to point this out. We found out today you still only have 44 Senate seats. The system is working exactly as designed. 100 years it will still be working exactly as designed.

There are 31 Red States and another 3 or 4 nearly so. Deal with it.

Posted by: rdw on January 31, 2006 at 4:50 PM | PERMALINK

This is nonsense. The conservative argument against abortion is the constitution does not address abortion. There is no right to abortion but neither is there a right of the federal government to ban abortion.

Blah, blah, blah. Lies. The FACT is that the GOP is run by the religious rightwing, NOT your "so-called" conservatives. The religious rightwing wants nothing LESS than an outright ban on abortion, and with it, stem cell research, and various forms of birthcontrol that they DO consider abortive.

Another fact to wrap you closed off, meager mind about is that Alito has stated in one of his dissents on an abortion case that he disagrees with the finding that fetuses are not Constitutionally protected persons. That is pretty clear. He believes that blastocysts ARE protected by Constitutional rights. This means he WILL vote, when possible, to assign full adult human being rights to blastocysts, defining them, in essense, as true human humunculi.

The rightwing of the GOP which IS the heart and soul of the modern GOP wants nothing less than a flat ban on all abortion. They DO want a federal ban. Period. Roberts, Alito, and Thomas, guaranteed, seek the same.

Posted by: Praedor Atrebates on January 31, 2006 at 5:00 PM | PERMALINK
The FACT is that the GOP is run by the religious rightwing, NOT your "so-called" conservatives.

Its debatable the extent to which that is true; a good argument can be made that the religious right base was cleverly mobilized and catered to when the political right realized they need more muscle, and built into a powerful tool; but, generally, their values don't direct policy as much as they drive rhetoric. This suggests that the truly religious (rather than those who feign religiosity for power) aren't directing the party, so much as they are chained into the hold and pulling the oars, entirely oblivious to the direction of the ship.

Posted by: cmdicely on January 31, 2006 at 5:41 PM | PERMALINK
Utterly pointless.

Democracy is pointless? If you say so...

We found out today you still only have 44 Senate seats.

Wow. You just discovered that? You are more ignorant than I thought.

The system is working exactly as designed.

Well, yeah, ignoring that there have been incremental redesigns several times along the way, that's true.

What I'm saying is that it is designed badly from the point of view of actually having a government of, by, and for the people, and that is increasingly a problem as technology, changing social conditions, etc., drive more functions higher up the heirarchy of governments.

There have been small changes to address that, almost all through Constitutional amendments, but the pace of structural change is slower than the pace of environmental change, and the system is getting more and more out of whack with the needs of the country.

100 years it will still be working exactly as designed.

It works now differently than it did 100 years ago, and I suspect it will work differently 100 years from now than it does today. Or it won't be working at all.


Posted by: cmdicely on January 31, 2006 at 5:47 PM | PERMALINK

It means that bloggers need to learn to count. The time to beat Bush's supreme court nomination was November 2004.

Posted by: john McDonald on January 31, 2006 at 6:49 PM | PERMALINK

rdw =

You assume people stay with the politics that brung em.

Not so.

My family is highly conservative. [they don't like bush however because his fiscal policies are ruinous - he has spent more than EVERY president in the last century COMBINED ]

I distrust government, am not comfortable in the company of big government liberals, or conservatives.

Your tyranny of the majority argument means that Indians, Africans and Chinese will and SHOULD determine world politics.

Thats horse shit.

Posted by: Ashley on January 31, 2006 at 7:40 PM | PERMALINK

You Dems need to be careful what you wish for. Some day the shoe will be on the other foot. How do you expect future Dem Pesidents to get nominees through future Rep Senates if every vote on nominees is about partisanship. Knee-jerk partisanship may be good for the soul, but it's not necessarily productive in the long term (not to mention the fact that it's bad for the country).

Posted by: Ben on January 31, 2006 at 10:16 PM | PERMALINK

You assume people stay with the politics that brung em.

Not so.

I make no such assumption although environment is a very strong indicator. Growing up in an urban environment means you are more likely to be liberal. Growing up in a religious household generally results in conservatism. Growing up in a secular household, if in fact there are any kids, suggests liberalism. There are several strong indicators and in each case the demographic profile greatly favors conservatism.

I also think those who grow up in a liberal environment and turn conservative are no more or less frequent than the reverse. Thus this 'switching' is a wash.

When you look over the last 15 years at the make-up of congress the changes are stark. If you look at the 10 fastest growing states 9 are Red States. If you look at the 10 slowest growing they're all Blue. If you look at the trends in the last 3 census the GOP has done very well and this is very likely to continue.

If secular Europe is a guide liberalism is doomed to shrink here and globally at a fairly rapid rate. Secularists just don't have kids.

Posted by: rdw on January 31, 2006 at 10:24 PM | PERMALINK

Democracy is pointless? If you say so...

Democracy is the best, especially our version. I especially like the two houses thing with 2 Senators per state. I especialy like what it means in todays world. It is functioning exactly as designed 200+ years ago so large states such as CA cannot rule over small states such as DE.

I'm a little rusty on my civics but I'm not sure which incremental changes you are referring too but the operative word is incremental. My recollection of the last really big change was the direct election of Senators and that was 90 years ago. While greatly pissing off state legislators it didn't alter the balance of power or how the federal govt operates

What is pointless is the liberal lament over their loss of power. Two senators per state is how it works and it's how it will work 100 years from now. CA and NY might have 80% of the total population. Still only two Senators each. That will never change.

Posted by: rdw on January 31, 2006 at 10:39 PM | PERMALINK

and the system is getting more and more out of whack with the needs of the country.

Conservatives think it's working just fine and you are not changing a thing unless they say so. You can handle simple math. 75% of states must ratify any amendments. You think you're getting 38 states to agree to transfer power to CA. You are kidding right?

Posted by: rdw on January 31, 2006 at 10:46 PM | PERMALINK

Your tyranny of the majority argument means that Indians, Africans and Chinese will and SHOULD determine world politics.

Thats horse shit


It is Horseshit and I didn't come close to suggesting it. The USA will never be ruled by anything other than our Constitution. We'll never sacrifice a shred of our soverignity to another body. I don't think the UN lasts much past another decade or two.

Posted by: rdw on January 31, 2006 at 10:51 PM | PERMALINK

The FACT is that the GOP is run by the religious rightwing, NOT your "so-called" conservatives.

Well I don't think so but if you insist. We can at least agree they're doing one hell of a job. The Dems had 57 Senators in 1995. You have 44. You have much to learn from them.

Posted by: rdw on January 31, 2006 at 10:55 PM | PERMALINK

This suggests that the truly religious (rather than those who feign religiosity for power) aren't directing the party, so much as they are chained into the hold and pulling the oars, entirely oblivious to the direction of the ship.

I love liberals. You guys are just the brightest stars in the sky. Morally superior, ethically superior, nuanced, sophisticated, etc. I don't know how you do it. I wish I could be that smart. One other think I can't figure out but I am sure you can, how come you can't win a friggin election?

Posted by: rdw on January 31, 2006 at 10:58 PM | PERMALINK

Sorry, rdw, liberal do win friggin elections here in west-coast washington. They do it by cheating. First, they insist on fuzzy census data, to help gerrymander their districts. Then they promote fuzzy voter registration and fuzzier voting practices, so that they don't get caught when they vote under three or four or ten different names. If all that doesn't work, they are masters of the fuzzy vote counts, by which they "enhance" ballots that had indistinct markings (and then destroy the originals) or produce multiple unnumbered ballots on secret computers so that we end up having thousands of more votes cast than there were registered voters at the start of the election. See King County, Washington, for how to rig U.S.Senate and governor's races and get away with it.

Posted by: Michael L. Cook on February 1, 2006 at 11:10 AM | PERMALINK

rdw: . . . how come you can't win a friggin election?

Saddam won many elections.

Therefore, by your theory, he was morally, ethically, mentally, economically, politically, and socially superior.

Might, whether by violence or at the ballot box through dishonesty, deceit, treachery, and criminality, does not make right.

rdw: You play your hand too agressively.

More advice from a guy who can't think beyond whats posted on WhiteHouse.gov and what's written on Bush's ass.

rdw: I wish I could be that smart.

You're not interested in being smart, moral, ethical, or freedom-loving.

You just proved it with your posts.

You are interested in the same thing that the Taliban, Hitler, Mussolini, Noreiga, Pinochet, Saddam, the Shah, Musharraf, and the Saudi Monarchy were and are: being in power and staying in power by any means.

That's why conservatives supported and defended all of the above, and even financed and armed some of them.

Posted by: Advocate for God on February 1, 2006 at 11:36 AM | PERMALINK

The Vichy Dems voted for Alito before they voted against Alito.

Apparently Kerry is still their leader.

Posted by: MarkH on February 1, 2006 at 12:47 PM | PERMALINK

"Prince Richard: When the fall is all there is, it matters."

Frankenstein is a better metaphor than Richard. Democrats have nursed the fever swamps with hyperbole and irrational rhetoric. Payback is a bitch.

Posted by: Fen on February 2, 2006 at 3:41 AM | PERMALINK




 

 

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