Saturday, January 28, 2006

''Filibustering Alito For Reasons Other Than Alito'' (UPDATED)

Reader Advisory: If you are offended by coarse language, please disregard this quote from The Rude Pundit:

"In the entire political calculus over a potential filibuster, let us for the moment remove Samuel Alito as the physical derivative. 'Cause, truth be told, despite pathetic polls and pouting presidents or putrid politicians, most people couldn't give a happy monkey fuck about whether or not Samuel Alito is on the Supreme Court. Most people aren't paying attention, and when they turn on the CNN or the Fox, no one's tellin' them that Samuel Alito rapes hobo corpses after beating them to death with beagle puppies. So if you ask average Joe, Jane, Jose, Juanita, whoever, if Alito oughta be on the court, chances are they're gonna say, "Sure, why the fuck not?" or "Si, porque la cogida no?"

What the Democratic leadership, and the Rude Pundit's talkin' to you, sexy Harry Reid, needs to realize is that the filibuster is what gets the left to the polls in November. Moderates won't give a damn about Alito when the war is still raging, the Abramoff scandal is blowing up in the Republicans' faces like an acid bomb, and the Middle East is going nutzoid. Besides, as far as issues go, what has more resonance: blocking Alito or trying to keep Terri Schiavo alive?

As Republicans fret and fume if a filibuster happens, threatening some recriminations, even the "nuclear option," remember this from everything we know about Rovean politics, the way of the wolverine: they attack when frightened. They don't compromise. They don't look for solutions. They attack and attack until they get what they want. And if they still don't get it, they try to do it anyway.

Politics is about power, motherfuckers. Use it or lose it. Sure, sure, there's easy principles to defend in blocking Alito because of what Alito believes, but there's also the pure assertion of power against those who seek to disempower the rest of us."

I'd like to think Howard Dean is thinking these kind of thoughts, but is constrained in his present circumstance from uttering them.

Update: Meanwhile back on the Alioto Front: This is may a tad over-optimistic, but Joshua Holland on Alternet says, "Filibuster coming within reach!" He has all the names and numbers, too, tho he has Obama still listed as Undecided. A recent commentor on claims Jim Lehrer said that the Senator from Illinois is now pro-filibuster.

He also quotes Atrios, thusly:

"Cruising into Tuesday evening next week there will be two possible storylines:

1) The Democrats are a bunch of losers, as are all of their supporters. Bush and his giant codpiece looked magnificent at the state of the union, and Mrs. Alito was very happy and smiling sitting next to Mrs. Bush safe and content now that the magnificent and mighty President Bush made that bad Ted Kennedy go away.

2) The Democrats shocked Washington today by holding together, dropping a mighty turd in the punchbowl of the Bush administration, dealing a deadly blow to his nomination of Alito. The president won't be too happy tonight as he gives the 2006 state of the union speech.

Those are the choices."

Finally, my own Howie-opinion: If we only fight the battles we believe we are likely to win, we are surely going to lose the contest to "take our country back."

Update II: For a case study of one person's account of her struggle to try and turn around one recalcitrant, "undecided" Democratic Senator you won't do much better than this diary on Kos from my friend Dina Johnson. Appetizer:

"A coalition of peace activists gathered on a Friday afternoon in Seattle. The occasion was a fundraiser for Senator Maria Cantwell, featuring everyone's favorite lightning rod, Hillary R. Clinton.

A woman on her way into the fundraiser early told me "I am a peace activist, like you." She showed me her pin. She said she intended to support Cantwell, get her elected, then AFTER the election direct her to a more antiwar position (how?). She said that fighting Cantwell would weaken her, and after all, we don't want a Republican to win, right? And that she didn't want to "embarrass her."

I said any elected official knows that confrontations with dissenters might goes with the territory. But in any case, our messages were not ugly or profane, although they did make a strong statement of protest. She was glad the signs weren't mean, but still was concerned about `embarrassing her".

She said that Maria could not "appear weak," because that might endanger her re-election. I suppose she meant that the mythical "Eastern Washington swing voter" would vote Repub in a minute if Maria didn't stand firm on her pro-war position (such as it is). Was this woman imagining that Maria was, deep down, against the war, but must "act tough" to get re-elected? Or did she mean that the very existance of protest erodes Cantwell's image, thus we should desist?

I said I felt Cantwell's pro-war position was a liability, not a strength, considering the bad news from Iraq we hear about almost daily in recent months. She can't defend it; every rationalization has been debunked [Murtha plus military, diplomatic & intelligence experts]. And how long can she refuse to discuss it?

I wondered, how are we to influence her after the re-election? What would be her incentive to change after the election, when her job will be secure for the next 6 years?

The woman said for third time she didn't want to "embarrass her," then hurried into the building.

Someone is fully aware of the horrifying chain of events the invasion and occupation has unleashed--yet is more worried about the "embarrassment" of a highly-placed U. S. politician who has colluded in this? Is it acceptable to sacrifice an unknown number of U.S. troops & Iraqis, and spend more useless billions, so a Dem politician will not lose face? She's looking at one kind of "big picture"--let's elect a Democratic majority--and I'm looking at another kind of "big picture"--let's force politicians to face the truth." There are some great photos in the post, well.

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