Battlepanda: Adjusted Expectations


Always trying to figure things out with the minimum of bullshit and the maximum of belligerence.

Friday, January 13, 2006

Adjusted Expectations

Publius of Legal Fiction (a blogger which I respect a whole lot) thinks that the Senate Dems gave it their best shot and we should be happy with what they've accomplished. He makes a decent case.
There's no point in trying to block Alito – for one, it can't be done. And even if it could, a new Alito would pop up in his place. Instead, Democrats need to oppose Alito and make him a political liability. Success shouldn't be defined as blocking or not blocking, but as whether Democrats framed the Alito nomination in a way that can ultimately be used for political benefit. It's the litigation equivalent of creating a record that can ultimately be used at trial.

If this is the standard for success (as opposed to borking), I think the Senate Dems have been quite successful indeed. Alito is going to get confirmed, but he certainly took his lumps. Thanks in part to a more concentrated Democratic effort, I suspect that the two things that pop into most Americans' heads when they think of Sam Alito are his opposition to Roe and his membership in CAP.

Democrats can therefore use Alito to wedge Republicans in Blue and Purple states. When election time rolls around in places like Rhode Island and Maine and Pennsylvania and Minnesota and Washington, Democratic Senate candidates can hang Alito on their opponents' neck. I won't vote to confirm people who bragged (at age 35) about membership in racist and sexist organizations. I won't nominate someone who is openly hostile to Roe. [This is also a good tactic for presidential candidates.] Again, it's about offering a contrasting vision. The image people have of Alito is an image that Rove/Mehlman types want to shed -- and for good reason.

All in all, Senate Democrats have done a good job of showing the public the type of person that Republicans nominate to the Court. So ease up on the Senate Dems – they did about all they could have done. The best that Dems could possibly have hoped for was to make it possible for Alito to become a political liability in 2006 and beyond. And on this, I think the Senators succeeded.