It seems I'm not the only one who's a bit frustrated with how the Alito hearings came off. Speaking for myself, I admit I had few illusions that Alito could actually be blocked. The far-right wingnut faction of the Republican Party dominates their agenda, and has been good at getting all their folks to toe the line on the big battles. And let's face it: the whole elected GOP is pretty far right compared with the country at large, even the Republican base at large. No, Alito was likely to sail through no matter what.
But the Democrats have proven quite inept at framing any debate or discussing anything relating to values. Part of that problem is that the Democrats have become so amorphous that it's hard to find any single thing that the Party agrees on. But also the more progressive Senators didn't really do well at making clear what's at stake. It was a rambling, uncoordinated Restoration comedy, with few wits and all too many fops.
There've been some other interesting observations on the Alito hearings, and other oddments.
Eleanor Clift at Newsweek, "Abortion Politics":
The Alito hearing couldn't have come out better for the Republicans if the Supreme Court nominee himself had chaired the committee. Even though it was a Republican senator, Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, who brought Alito's wife to tears by asking her husband if he was "a closet bigot," the Democrats got blamed for hectoring the nominee with questions he wasn't going to answer.
The shock of the rhetorical ploy briefly drove Martha-Ann Alito from the hearing room and gave Graham the stage to defend the judge's character and bemoan the "guilt by association" tactics employed by Democrats. It turns out that Graham had a hand in helping prep Alito for the hearings, which raises the issue of whether the line was scripted.
Factesque, "Our Own Echo Chamber":
The progressive netroots, especially the A-listers, largely enable the Democratic leadership which, according to Daou, is either complicit in the sorry state of affairs or too confused to figure out how to tap into what we offer. For proof, you don't need to look further than Dick Durbin's tearful apology on the Senate floor and the candidacy of Bob Casey, Jr.
Pam at Pandagon, "Rights going down in flames":
What I saw up there were Dem Senators in the end, just enjoying their face time on TV, pontificating, looking outraged for their constituents â€” they were already pre-programmed by their staffs to ask the same lame questions over and over, and left room for Alito to obfuscate so easily.
The system is broken.egalia at Tennessee Guerilla Women, "Snow Won't Support Filibuster":
There are 44 Democrats and one Democratic-leaning independent in the Senate. As Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) recently acknowledged, the only way to stop Alito is with a filibuster. It takes 41 votes to sustain a filibuster, and we certainly can not count on all the Democratic senators.
Obviously, if Alito is to be blocked, all pro choice senators must be on board. That includes Republican senators, Snowe, Specter, Chafee, and Collins.
Jeff A. Taylor at Reason, "The Death of the Abortion Debate?":
For all the complaints on the right about runaway courts and unelected judges ruining America, it is fascinating to see the depth and breadth of the conservative Justice-in-waiting farm team. Alito and John Roberts are top-notch legal minds in an arena demeaned almost hourly by pundits on the right. The storyline does not square with reality.
A Justice Alito on the Court may force the body politic to confront this new reality, where abortion does not play a central role on the socio-political scene. The left will have failed to stop a nominee that, in their construction, threatens to reverse one of the singular civil rights advancements of 20th century America. Moreover, the American public did not pay much attention to their failure.
Morgaine at What She Said!, "Democrats: ask not for whom the bell tolls...":
Itâ€™s this simple. The Democrats may or may not win an election with the women, but they cannot win an election without us. If they screw around and lose Roe v. Wade, or any other civil rights, the women in this country will bury the Democratic party. The party has been a complete failure in its role as an opposition to the creeping fascism of the Bush junta, and weâ€™re tired.
Cleis at Sappho's Breathing, "Torturing children may be necessary":
When you hear Judge Alito defending the concept of the unitary executive, draw the connection between that concept and the practice of torturing children.
Glenn Greenwald at Unclaimed Territory, "A Nation of Jonah Goldbergs":
The whole point of the Bill of Rights â€“ really, its principal function â€“ is to prevent the Government from punishing those whom the Government claims (but has not yet proven in a court of law) are bad people deserving of punishment. Thatâ€™s why there is a sequence mandated by the Constitution before rights can be abridged and punishment inflicted â€“ first, charge someone with a crime, then give them the right to defend themselves along with other protections of due process, and then convict them. Only then are they considered criminals whose rights can be abridged.
What people like Jonah Goldberg stupidly refer to as these "procedural niceties" happen to be the only things which distinguish our country from every two-bit dictatorship around. If the Government has the power to simply decree American citizens to be criminals -- or terrorists -- without bothering to prove it in accordance with "procedural niceties," then the Government has the power of tyranny. It means the Government can act against whatever citizens it wants without limits, strictly on the Governmentâ€™s say-so. Thatâ€™s why we have a Constitution - to impose those limits and to prevent the Government from exercising exactly this power. That is so obvious. Itâ€™s basic civics. Itâ€™s something we learn in the sixth grade.
And for more of a wingnutty run-down....
TravisG at WireCan, "Scalito Scallopini":
As promised, the Red Meat Players are back to with another dramatic interpretation of the day's biggest news stories.
Last, but certainly not least, Ampersand at Alas, a blog offers us, "Worst. Newspaper error. Ever." You just have to go look.