Monday, January 30, 2006


Proverbs 10:23 (New Living Translation)

“Doing wrong is fun for a fool, while wise conduct is a pleasure to the wise.”

The cloture vote on the Samuel Alito nomination will take place this afternoon. It appears that there at least sixty two votes against the Democrats’ last ditch attempt to filibuster. We’ll see.

We should have seen this coming. Anyone desperate enough to engage in character assassination is desperate enough to insist they still have a chance to win the game. It’s like watching the quarterback of a football team that’s down sixty-three to nothing with ten seconds to go in the game heaving a Hail Mary pass.

John Kerry says that it’s all about principle:

“I am proud to join my friend, the senior Senator from Massachusetts, in taking a stand against this nomination. I know it is an uphill battle. I have heard many of my colleagues. I hear the arguments: Reserve your gunpowder for the future. What is the future if it changes so dramatically at this moment in time? What happens to those people who count on us to stand up and protect them now, not later, not at some future time?”

“This is the choice for the Court now. I reject those notions that there ought somehow be some political calculus about the future. This impact is going to be now. This choice is now. This ideological direction is defined now.”

Hillary Clinton has also thrown her support for a filibuster, again based on “principle”:

“Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton said Friday she will support an effort to filibuster the Supreme Court nomination of Samuel Alito because she is concerned he will not do enough to protect American freedoms.” ”He would roll back decades of progress, and roll over when confronted with an administration too willing to play fast and loose with the rules,” Clinton, D-N.Y., said in a statement.”

Their supporters in the blogosphere seem to be every bit as desperate:

“The story of the day on Sunday Talk should have been just how close we are to extending debate. The story of the day should have been Alito confirmation in trouble. Two votes!”

“We have already flipped more than two to our side, we can get two more.”

“Instead we heard more of the same, “Alito” is a sure thing, nothing to see here. “Oh yeah and Kerry was in Switzerland, that was supposed to really matter and be very bad for some reason.”

Just a while ago there was this plea to Democrats who support the Alito nomination and oppose any attempt to filibuster it:

“Even those Democrats who have declared that they will vote for Alito should recognize that their Democratic colleagues, the majority of their party, feel the need to keep discussing this nomination. Is there really any reason for this debate not to continue? Does the vote happening on Wednesday or Thursday make that much difference compared to the enormity of a lifetime appointment to the highest court in the land?”

I’m trying to think of why some Democrats are doing this. Some say it’s all about principle. Really?

It’s nothing more than the politics of the absurd. It’s silly!

The Republican Party is vulnerable and the Democrats are acting like fools. It makes no sense. A move to filibuster Samuel Alito will serve only to placate the left wing of the Party and the folks at Daily Kos. The rest of us want more than silliness emanating from the well of the Senate. We’d like the kind of performance one should expect from an adult. Instead, we get the kind of politics that begins with character assassination and ends in political suicide.

In this morning’s Boston Globe Joan Vennochi noted:

“National security is the only drum left for Republicans to beat. But Karl Rove's scare tactics won't work forever. The country, collectively, is smarter than Bush's brain. It just needs time to think things through and an election day.”

“Bush's sometimes hesitant and awkward answers at press conferences can be scarier than another videotape from Osama bin Laden. But Democrats have yet to figure out the alternative voice the country wants to hear. What Democrats still know best is what the left wants to hear. Speaking to the liberal base in 2003, Kerry said: “I am prepared to filibuster, if necessary, any Supreme Court nominee who would turn back the clock on a woman's right to choose or the constitutional right to privacy, on civil rights and individual liberties, and on the laws protecting workers and the environment.”

“It was a bad pledge to make in the abstract, and it is the wrong pledge to live up to now. It defines fitness for nomination strictly in ideological terms. A Kerry Supreme Court nominee could be opposed by Republicans on the very same grounds. Sticking to it now, after Democrats failed so spectacularly during the Alito hearings, is pointless. Voting no on Alito is fine. But a filibuster serves no one but the Bush adminstration. It fuels the conservative base, helping to heal internal party splits.”

Don’t these folks understand what they’re doing? By pandering to the left wing they’re destroying any chance the Democratic Party has to connect with the American people. Maybe the fire-eaters like this sort of thing, but the rest of us don’t. This is not a nation that embraces the politics of the left anymore. Liberalism is dead. Can’t they see that? Apparently not!

One of the things this demonstrates to me is that the power to make appointments to the Court was wisely placed in the hands of the executive branch. Alexander Hamilton, in Federalist 76, warned of what might happen if the process was given to the Senate:

“There is nothing to apt to agitate the passions of mankind as personal considerations, whether they relate to ourselves or others, who are to be the objects of our choice or preference. Hence, in every exercise of the power of appointing to offices by an assembly of men we must expect to see a full display of all the private and party likings and dislikes, partialities and antipathies, attachments and animosities, which are felt by those who compose the assembly. The choice which may at any time happen to be made under such circumstances will of course be the result either of a victory gained by one party over the other, or of a compromise between the parties. In either case, the intrinsic merit of a candidate will be too often out of sight.”

In twenty-first century language it means that if the appointment process were controlled by the Senate it would little or nothing to do with the merits of a prospective candidate. It would be all about having agendas advanced or protected. In the twenty-first century it means Roe versus Wade.

That’s what this filibuster move is all about. It’s not about principle. It’s about agenda driven by the far left. As I said before, it may play well to the folks at Daily Kos. But, for the rest of us, both Republican and Democrat, it’s nothing more than silliness draped in expensive suits.

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James Fletcher Baxter said...

I can understand the Kerry-Kennedy cries in behalf of Principle. The problem for them is they wouldn't know one if they tripped over it!

They have lived their lives ruled by what is expedient, convenient, and comfortable. Principle? An alien language.

After all, what principle validates cannibalism in a free society? "Expedience, convenience, and comfort." Death: Made in Massachusetts.

Cannibalism: A choice in private?

I'm thankful there is a God whose Virtue of Justice is as great as His Merciful Virtue - toward repentance...

Absent repentance, Heads Up!

Semper Fidelis

Carol said...

Very well written and thoughtful post.