Tuesday, August 16, 2005

Saving "political capital"

Mikaela says:
I haven’t been this angry in a long time. It’s been at least a week!

What are Democrats thinking? What are they fucking waiting for? If now is not the time to fight for our country, when is, exactly? Does Bush have to actually come out and ANNOUNCE that he’s a fascist religious fanatic who aims to deny the freedoms this country is based on? Isn’t it enough that he has strategically done everything in his considerable power to make that happen???

Okay, here’s what I’m talking about.

This news from Democracy Now (thank the liberal/lefty god for Democracy Now):

Papers Show John Roberts to be "Forceful Conservative"
More papers have been released from Supreme Court nominee John Roberts days working in the Reagan White House. The Wall Street Journal reports the papers depict him as a "forceful conservative." In one paper, Roberts wrote that a controversial memorial service for aborted fetuses was "an entirely appropriate means of calling attention to the abortion tragedy." He also approved a telegram written by President Reagan that compared Roe vs. Wade to the Dred Scott decision of 1857, which upheld slavery. In another paper, Roberts defended prayer in public schools.

And then THIS news from the Washington Post: (all added emphases my personal outrage & edited for space)

Roberts Unlikely To Face Big Fight
Many Democrats See Battle as Futile
By Mike Allen and Dana Milbank
Tuesday, August 16, 2005; A01

Democrats have decided that unless there is an unexpected development in the weeks ahead, they will not launch a major fight to block the Supreme Court nomination of John G. Roberts Jr.


Democratic senators and aides who are intimately involved in deliberations about strategy said that they see no evidence that most Democratic senators are prepared to expend political capital in what is widely seen as a futile effort to derail the nomination.

Although they expect to subject President Bush's nominee to tough questioning at confirmation hearings next month (woopdedoo), members of the minority party said they do not plan to marshal any concerted campaign against Roberts because they have concluded that he is likely to get at least 70 votes -- enough to overrule parliamentary tactics such as a filibuster that could block the nominee.

"No one's planning all-out warfare," said a Senate Democratic aide closely involved in caucus strategy on Roberts. For now, the aide said, Democratic strategy is to make it clear Roberts is subject to fair scrutiny while avoiding a pointless conflagration that could backfire on the party. "We're going to come out of this looking dignified and will show we took the constitutional process seriously," the aide said. (Seriously but not bravely.)

The Democrats' decision to hold their fire -- less a formal strategy than an emerging consensus -- has allowed conservatives to husband their resources for future battles. (Dems waiting for all out dissolution of Congress, I guess.) Progress for America, a political group working closely with the White House, had planned to spend $18 million to promote the confirmation of Roberts but now may spend less than half that, according to Republican aides. (Why they thought it would cost that much to defeat a playing-dead party, I don't know.)

Democrats said that instead of mounting a headlong assault on Roberts, they plan to use the hearings and the surrounding attention by the news media to remind voters of their party's values, including the protection of rights for individual Americans. (Values like, never fight for what you believe -- especially when the price is high and the cost is higher.) The plan calls for emphasizing rights beyond abortion in an effort to appeal to a broader swath of the electorate. (You know, the broader swath that's going to vote for them against Bush because the Democrats stand behind everything Bush does.)

Without question, Democrats on the Senate Judiciary Committee will subject Roberts to intense grilling -- and the discovery of new and damaging information about Roberts could dramatically change the strategy. (I'm sure he's shaking in his boots. "Questioning? But, but ... I'm a lawyer! Wait a minute, I'm a lawyer! Ask me any goddamn question you want!") But for now, Democratic lawmakers say they are less interested in opposing Roberts than in serving notice to Bush that they would react very differently if a more overtly conservative choice were made for a future Supreme Court vacancy. (They gotta stop serving those notices! Get a runner to do it. Servants will never be masters. Bush knows that!)

Democrats say they do not dispute that the selection of Roberts did not present them with obvious ammunition against the White House. (Can you believe this shit? Corporate sell out, prayer in schools, individual rights? Nope, nothin!)

"There were some potential candidates with a record of hostility to fundamental rights who would have been opposed flat out by a majority of the Democratic caucus from Day One. Judge Roberts was not on that list," said Jim Manley, spokesman for Senate Minority Leader Harry M. Reid (D-Nev.). "It doesn't mean he's getting a free pass. ("Hey, Tom, check this list. This guy sounds awful! No? You sure? Check again? Not even toward the bottom? Okay, guess he's alright then. Go ahead, fella. Step to the front of the line. Would you like a cocktail while you're waiting?")

"There's nothing the White House would rather have seen than having us come out reflexively swinging at a nominee in order to accuse us of politicizing the debate," Manley added. "There was a strategic decision to keep our powder dry, to reserve judgment until the committee does its work. We want Democrats to be able to fight on principles, not politics." (Okay now wait a minute... Aren't politics ABOUT principles? Have they forgotten even THAT? Do they remember that we WANT them to fight for politics because we CHOOSE our politics based on, oh, I don't know PRINCIPLES????)

The Democratic consensus not to mount a major fight comes in part from a calculation that the party would be in a stronger position to oppose a future -- and perhaps more clearly conservative -- nominee if it did not mount a full-scale and likely fruitless assault on Roberts. (Who calculates this shit, and can we buy them a new slide rule? Seriously. Since when did sitting on the bench every goddamn minute of every game help to win anything? Haven't they watched any good underdog movies this summer? Bad News Bears? Anything? No memory of how people rally around the people fighting hardest for what's about to be lost? No? Okay, well. That's cool. Whatever. Rest up, fellas. I'm sure there's something you can do NEXT fascist presidency.)

No Democrat has announced opposition to Roberts. The toughest remarks so far were by Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.) last week at the Golden Gate University School of Law in San Francisco, where she said she must know whether Roberts would support abortion rights and privacy. "If I don't believe he will, I won't vote for him," Boxer said. "I can use all the parliamentary rules I have as a senator to stand up and fight for you." (Alone. Did I mention fight for you ALONE?)

Some Democrats would like to see more of a fight. Lanny Davis, a former Clinton legal aide and party official, complained that Democrats are avoiding a showdown with Roberts over ideology by fighting over whether documents will be released from Roberts's time in government. "If they wanted to have a fight on substance they wouldn't be talking about process," Davis said. Democrats, he said, have "either folded or procrastinated to the point where it [opposition] won't have any effect." (Yeah. Understatement. Fuck an A.)