Friday, September 23, 2005

Democrats On Roberts

It was nice to see that both Harry Reid, Senate Minority Leader, and Dianne Feinstein, the more moderate of my two Senators, intend to vote NO on Roberts when the vote goes to the full Senate next week. It's especially good news from Feinstein whom I'd e-mailed with concern about her coddling of Roberts's possibly signifying her going soft on abortion rights.

Now, as I've said before, I see Roberts as a shoo-in and I can't get fired up about a nominee whose gravest sin appears to be being a conservative. The time to win this fight was in November and we didn't. But having said that, I do understand the value of opposing Roberts on principle, especially in view of the imminent and arguably more important next nominee. And hell, Democrats actually opposing Republicans does actually go a long way to showing us that they have some backbone and stepping up to the opposition party plate is appreciated.

This pep talk from Howard Dean is encouraging as well:
But how will we win any battle if we don't stand up for what we believe and speak the truth? More importantly, how will Americans know what to expect from a Democratic Congress and Democratic president if we don't fight for our values at every opportunity?

Democrats can disagree with Democrats in good faith -- and many do on this issue. But when political calculations silence our conscience, we have abandoned our true values. We cannot let that happen.

Our party must speak plainly and fight for the values of equality, opportunity and security that bring our party -- and the vast majority of Americans -- together.

The various reasons Democratic Senators have for voting one way or the other was outlined nicely on dailyKos today and I the main points were worth repeating:

Any Democrat considering a run for President in 2008 is going to vote "No". No one wants the next Howard Dean nipping at their heels.

Any Democrat seriously considering leading a filibuster of the next nominee and planning to keep the gang of fourteen on board is going to vote "Yes". Voting "No" on Roberts would allow, in fact almost require, the Republican G14 members to break ranks under pressure ("Come on, de Wine, this guy even voted "No" on Roberts!"). Conversely, voting "Yes" on Roberts strengthens the Democrat's argument with the seven Republicans who will matter ("Listen guys, I'm reasonable, I even voted for Roberts. But Judge Hitler really is an exceptional circumstance!").

That accounts for Clinton and Biden voting "No", and for Byrd and possibly Leahy voting "Yes" (Byrd being one of the G14, and Leahy the ranking member on the Judiciary committee, both well positioned to lead a filibuster).

Any senator genuinely concerned about Senatorial process and commity is likely to vote "Yes". That's because Roberts did appear, did answer questions (if not as specifically as some would have liked), and nothing has emerged to disqualify him from the post. The reasons for voting him down are that you believe he lied under oath (always a possibility) or you believe there is some skeleton in the missing Bush administration papers that would disqualify him but that hasn't been leaked in some form already. Those are positions that can be held by a partisan player, but not by a collegiality-oriented Senator concerned about maintaining the integrity of senatorial process. I put Feingold, and possibly Leahy in this camp.

Senators from Red States will likely vote "Yes" -- why lose their jobs over a symbolic vote?


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Poor Todd, he just doesn't get it.

The support or opposition of Democrats to Judge Roberts really boils down to one thing: money.

As kos sort of got at, any Democrat with national ambitions is going to vote no because if they vote yes they won't get the support (and money) from activists like you. Yes, this accounts for Clinton and Biden ... but it also accounts for the opposition of Senators like your own DiFi (who has made no secret of her desire to be nominated for VP).

It explains the opposition of Schumer (head of the DSCC), Reid (Minority Leader) and Turban, er Durbin (Minority Whip) ... all of whom depend on campaign contributions to maintain their national prominance within the party.

So what they do is make noise, a LOT of noise, in fact, in order to convince people like you that they are doing things you want them to do. But that's all they really do. I mean (and sorry, this is my MBA talking), what have you really gotten for supporting them? What are the results?

1.) A complete and near-suicidal over-reach in attempting to lay all the blame on Bush for the Katrina fiaso. Latest, btw, is that New Orleans officials (Democrats, btw) are getting busted for appropriating and hoarding stockpiles of relief supplies. I'd get used to hearing the name Cedric Floyd, if I were you.

2.) A near-total abandonment of Cindy Sheehan and the anti-war movement by the party. I assume you'll be watching the DC protest this weekend, Todd ... maybe afterwards we can compare notes on which, if any, prominant Democratic Leaders DIDN'T run out of town like scalded dogs.

3.) An inability to do jack sh*t to stop a SCOTUS nominee you, personally, referred to as "aggressively divisive".

All this while the Republican President you hate so much has an approval rating you claim is in the high-30s/low-40s.

It makes me wonder if you recall the old Eddie Murphy "Bush Bitch" skit ... the one where the bush bitch comes to her senses about being screwed for little/no return and starts asking "What have you done for me lately Eddieeeeee?"

11:16 PM  

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