Sudden insight

Tuesday, January 17, 2006
Some snips from the legacy press today:

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Democrats on Monday forced a one-week delay on a vote by the Senate Judiciary Committee on Supreme Court nominee Samuel Alito, but the 55-year-old conservative was still expected to be confirmed by the full Republican-led Senate.

Still, the Democratic action ended hopes by Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist, a Tennessee Republican, to have President George W. Bush's nominee confirmed by the end of this week for a seat on the nation's highest court.

Washington Post - The top Republican and Democrat on the Senate Judiciary Committee reached an agreement yesterday evening to wait until next Tuesday to vote on the nomination of Samuel A. Alito Jr. to the Supreme Court.

The agreement alters the schedule announced Friday, during the final moments of Alito's week-long confirmation hearings, by Judiciary Committee Chairman Arlen Specter (R-Pa.), who said he would conduct the panel's vote today. His announcement sparked a quarrel with the panel's ranking Democrat, Patrick J. Leahy (Vt.), who said he would seek a delay. Meanwhile, Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist (R-Tenn.) vowed that a vote in the full Senate, which has final say over all judicial candidates chosen by the president, would take place by the end of the week. …

As Republicans express confidence that they have mustered enough votes to confirm Alito, the timing of the committee's action and of the full Senate vote may not dictate whether he joins the court. But the timing plays into the short-term political calculus of both parties, as well as of a coalition of left-leaning advocacy groups that are continuing to air advertisements in an aggressive -- and, so far, relatively ineffective -- campaign to build broad public opposition to the nominee, who is a judge on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 3rd Circuit.

I've got to admit, this had me a little puzzled. What was the point? Are the Democrats so angry that they're going to spend millions of dollars pointlessly? Or, alternatively, do they think that they'll get some kind of extra leverage out of proving that they'll ruthlessly attack someone even when there's no chance of getting the immediate political outcome the way they want it?

I suppose those are possible. I don't really believe them: these aren't fools, and indulging their ire to no benefit would be foolish.

But look at the aprt I've emphasized: "a coalition of left-leaning advocacy groups" who are running ineffective advertisements in this campaign to block Alito's nomination.

I wonder how many people are aware that political consultants who help set up big advertising purchases get a commission on those ads?

Suddenly, the fog lifts. If those ads don't run, the commissions don't come in.

If I'm right, the political consultants are the ones who stand to benefit most from the delay.


Syl said...


But, on the other hand, the political consultants who are still airing the pro-Alito ads will get some too!

Seneca the Younger said...

Sure, but they don't have any effective control over what the Dems do. Nor any deep pockets of cash, accumulated over the last six months, deeply needing cleaning out.

CF said...

Frist cancelled the one week Senate recess in response to this childish ploy.

terrye said...

It is money honey. The answer to almost everything.

markg8 said...
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markg8 said...

Nah it's about making sure the American people know that Bush has nominated a judge that has repudiated the judicial principles he supposedly stands for in an attempt to appear mainstream enough to get the job. This is a lifetime appointment that will tilt the balance of the court possibly for decades to come. Alito has a long record of very rightwing judicial activism that despite his obfuscations and denials he will no doubt carry over to the SC. Let's get that history on the record so if he's confirmed the American people know exactly what they're getting and who gave it to them.

MaxedOutMama said...

I looked through a lot of Alito's decisions, most especially the cases which were cited as supporting evidence by the anti-Alito groups. I did not find the judge you describe. I personally tend toward the libertarian side, so I was concerned by the allegations. I ended up supporting this nomination. Also, I read most of the hearing transcripts and I think you are wrong in writing that Alito changed his tune in the hearings. It seems to me that he stuck by his guns. He was certainly more forthcoming in his answers than quite a few other nominees have been.

How would an additional week's delay on the vote would bring more to light than the intervening months of publicity campaigns (pro and con) and the hearings? Seneca The Younger's explanation makes more sense to me.

markg8 said...

Then why the chagrin over a week's delay while "Dems spend millions of dollars" "running ineffective advertisements" to block Alito's nomination?

We want advice and consent from the Senate and an open and honest process of picking and confirming justices.

Alito's history of kowtowing to power, aversion to abortion and a whole host of radically conservative views are the reason Bush picked him and why he's been a favorite prospect in far rightwing legal circles for years. The carefully cultivated reputation he made for himself on the 3rd circuit, the boringist man in the world persona and substantive answers only on issues that won't come before the court are all part and parcel of the Repub strategy to win confirmation since Bork got Borked for being an honest wingnut. If that agenda was popular Repubs wouldn't have to hide it from the American people.

As Katrina vanden Heuvel puts it:
"Abu Ghraib to NSA spying, from the Cheney Energy Commission to the true cost of the prescription drug benefit, we've learned that it's what the Bush administration doesn't want us to know that hurts us. Add Alito's judicial philosophy to that long and growing list of state secrets."

Seneca the Younger said...

Then why the chagrin over a week's delay while "Dems spend millions of dollars" "running ineffective advertisements" to block Alito's nomination?

Mark, you should look up these fancy words. "Chagrin" doesn't mean "pissed off because they being assholes."

markg8 said...

Webster's defines chagrin as: disquietude or distress of mind caused by humiliation, disappointment, or failure.

You say you think it's a waste of money driven by consultant greed. Well go look at KOS and other Dem grassroot sites. Disgust with Alito posts are still a dime a dozen. Any Dem senator who signals backing down is met with attack after attack. This is a bottom up process and if you're not chagrined you oughta be.