Friday, January 13, 2006


It's hard not to be depressed over the lame handling of the Democratic response to the Alito nomination. As much as we need to be fighting the good fight against the forces of evil, we also need to fight to reclaim our party from the current moribund leadership.

Alito struck me in the hearings as a nominee squarely in the mold of Bush himself. Deeply conservative, yet reluctant to reveal that conservatism except through pap and meaningless platitudes. Strangely uncurious about the world around him. (Evidently, Mr. Alito seems to be one of the only Americans not to have given the current warrant-evasion scandal any thought.) He seems to specialize in explaining the obvious as a way of avoiding giving any detailed views -- indeed, he seems free of detailed views altogether. His record on the bench suggests that the most complicated set of facts will be reduced by him to a simple, predictable outcome: privileged, powerful interests yes, poor, defenseless interests no. Easy.

While I agree that a woman's constitutional right to choose is a transcendingly important issue, I think there will be many other issues that come before the court where we will see just how conservative the court will have become.

So that's the big picture. Of much more immediate concern is our side's pathetic response. We have succeeded by our efforts in further entrenching our opponents. They have had a chance to show the public that they are putting forth someone who is broadly acceptable, and the only warts on him are that extreme liberals grouse that he isn't sympatheic enough to the plight of the common man, and some beleive he's against Roe v. Wade.

We have shown that we have no point of view with any meaning. We took the nominee's plain dissembling on his membership in CAP and managed to make it seem like a quarrel about a line under "interests and hobbies" on a resume 20 years ago. Instead of making it seem like a brazen act of perjury, which is what is was.

We came off as picyune and petty for chastising Alito for not honoring his previous commitment not to hear Vanguard cases. (Instead of making him seem like someone who didn't take his commitment to the Senate seriously.) We failed to construct a meaningful narrative about this guy that anyone could relate to.

I hope at least the next generation of Democratic leaders will be able to use these proceedings to allow President Boxer the right to choose the most wild liberals imaginable. These days, "shoe on the other foot" comparisons seem to be somehow rude (think farting in an elevator), but the truth is that the more these clowns build up their power, the more power we'll have when we return.


Let's all look forward to Hillary Clinton's heartfelt speech about her serious -- serious, I tell you! -- concerns about the nominee, in which she will concede that he is smart, honorable and distinguished. Heck, maybe she'll even vote against him! Ah! Our leadership in action.

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