Tuesday, January 31, 2006

Sound and Fury, Signifying Nothing

The filibuster was snapped, and the vote was a blowout. 72-25, Alito has been put forward for the cherished up-or-down vote. There's a lot of things that I think this highlights. So, as is the customs of our times, I'm going to make a bulleted list.

1) John Kerry is an impotent jerk. The theatrics Kerry pulled over his e-mail listserv and in literally phoning in a filibuster rallying cry from Switzerland were par for the course when it comes to this perennial loser. How much lower can Kerry sink? And has he gotten it out of his head yet that running in 2008 is going to be an embarassment for everyone involved, especially him and the voters? This proved that Kerry is as ineffective as he's always been, and hopefully he'll take that to heart.

2) The Gang of 14 worked, and then some. The so-called Gang of 14 compromise to save the filibuster actually worked. There was no need for Bill Frist's old chestnut, the "nuclear option", and certainly the hysterics of wingnuts about the compromise as some sort of ideological sell-out and an opportunity for the Democrats to betray everyone were misplaced and a little ridiculous in retrospect. This filibuster didn't even come close to living, and so the "extroardinary circumstances" part of the Gang of 14 compromise actually gets some definition.

3) Democrats picked their battles smartly, for once. Hopefully this will continue. The complete destruction of this filibuster showed that some Democrats have some sense, and know that they had already lost the Alito fight. I for one am sad Alito is going to make it to the bench, mostly because I think we might as well call the Pope over and crown a new Emperor if he does considering the blank check Alito will give the Executive Branch to do whatever it wants. But that's beside the point. The confirmation hearings were the place Alito needed to be wounded if he was going to be stopped, and the Senate Dems failed spectacularly. In this situation, public opinion had to be turned against Alito early, and it didn't. No filibuster was going to change that situation. It was likely only going to embarass the participants and give Bush a chance to talk about "obstructionists" tonight during the SOTU. The 19 Democrats that said no to the filibuster realized this, even though I'm sure a great many of them plan to vote against Alito.

That's all, in summary. The filibuster was a bad idea, and it was overwhelmingly rejected for that reason. Alito is a bad idea too, but there was just no getting that message out there. It's way too late.

UPDATE: He's in. That's that, I suppose.