Friday, January 27, 2006

Divide and Get Conquered

Democratic Party disunity is legion. Sometimes this is not necessarily a bad thing and, on occasion, it indicates a little independence from the party line, which is something Republicans rarely ever seem to manage. But sometimes disunity is clearly ill-advised.

Nothing demonstrates this better than the several Democratic senators who are currently opposing a potential filibuster of the Alito nomination. Though reasons abound which cast Alito in a suspicious light, some of the Dems -- Dems who one might have expected more from -- just don't seem to get what is going on here. Alito is, if anything, a jurist who will confirm the current Bush administration's reasoning that the president has "unitary executive power" right now.

Though many legal scholars have portrayed such reasoning as hovering on the "fringe" of constitutional law, Alito does not view it that way. He will do nothing but confirm this reasoning. He might even help peck away at Roe v. Wade, but that is really an aside for Bush, something to keep his fundamentalist "base" happy. And mostly, I expect, that pecking away will following along the lines of permitting intrusive government agencies to search medical records, like Ascroft and some state's attorneys have already tried to do, in ad hoc persecutions of women who had sought abortions. Certainly Lawrence v. Texas might come into jeopardy at some point.

Save the Court has an online letter asking visitors to send a letter to some "key senators" demanding they filibuster Alito. What is interesting is the list of senators, many of whom have publicly stated that filibustering Alito is a no-no. The list is interesting, to say the least:
Bayh, Evan (Democrat - IN) Phone: (202) 224-5623
Obama, Barack (Democrat - IL) Phone: (202) 224-2854
Dodd, Christopher (Democrat - CT) Phone: (202) 224-2823
Lieberman, Joseph (Democrat - CT) Phone: (202) 224-4041
Biden, Joseph (Democrat - DE) Phone: 202-224-5042
Nelson, Bill (Democrat - FL) Phone: 202-224-5274
Durbin, Richard (Democrat - IL) Phone: (202) 224-2152
Snowe, Olympia (Republican - ME) Phone: (202) 224-1946
Reid, Harry (Democrat - NV) Phone: 202-224-3542
Schumer, Charles (Democrat - NY) Phone: 202-224-6542
Clinton, Hillary (Democrat - NY) Phone: (202) 224-4451
Chafee, Lincoln (Republican - RI) Phone: (202) 224-2921
Feingold, Russell (Democrat - WI) Phone: (202) 224-5323
Hearing that Obama would oppose the filibuster is more than disappointing. Biden is there, as usual. Despite that blowhard's voluminous babbling in the hearings, he can't bring himself to filibuster. He would probably view this as tarnish on his record when he makes his Rove-backed run for prez in 2008. Clinton, worthless as ever. Leiberman? Yeah, big surprise. Reid is a puzzle here. The glorious leader?

The only one on the list that is surprising is Feingold, but maybe he is just too much in the pocket of McCain. Other than that, his opposition to a Democratic filibuster makes no sense.

But this really demonstrates all this is wrong with the Dems these days. Many of these senators are party seniors and leaders. And if they can't get together with the rest of the party on this, when will they? They seem to have learned nothing from the onslaught of GOP unity that that party demonstrates on almost everything. Yeah, a few in the GOP will make noises about things once in awhile, but when it comes to voting, it is rare to see this kind of discord on the Republican side of things. And that is why the GOP has pretty much done what they have wanted to do, with little resistance from these whelps.


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