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Hullabaloo


Saturday, January 28, 2006

 
Conviction Politics

by digby

I just saw a very interesting exchange on FOX News. The designated Democrat was Bob Beckel, the other two were typical faceless wingnut gasbags and I can't remember their names.

When asked how the Democrats could make such a stupid mistake by allowing Kerry to call for a filibuster (the two wingnuts giggling like schoolgirls at the question) Beckel replied something like this (I'm paraphrasing)

"Now you know that in this enviroment if a Democratic president nominated a pro-choice, pro-affirmative action, pro-government secrecy judge to the high court that many Republicans would want to filibuster. Sometimes politicans do things out of conviction and many Democrats are supporting a filibuster because they really believe that he should not be on the Supreme Court."

The wingnuts were very taken aback by that statement, one of them replying: "Well, that's putting the best possible face on it."

Indeed it is. It's one of the big issues lurking beneath this Alito fight. The Republicans know very well that their future depends upon Americans continuing to see Democrats as weak and lacking in conviction. That's all they've got.

The chattering classes are all very sure that the Democrats have made a grave mistake on Alito. According to reports in the press, many insider Democrats believe this too. I believe they are wrong. This may look like a ragged strategy in some respects, but it is good for us to be seen doing things that have no obvious political advantage and for which we can legitimately claim to have taken the moral high ground. Yes, the tittering congnoscenti will flutter their fans and whisper that Democrats are witless and dull, but in this case we are talking directly to the people not to them. They have no idea anymore that a world exists out here where poltical calculation is beside the point.

Regardless of how this comes out in the end, and we don't know until the votes are cast, this may be seen as a defining moment for the Democratic Party. When a calculating political creature like Dianne Feinstein rushes to support a filibuster rather than reaffirm her opposition once conventional wisdom says a filibuster will fail, is meaningful. Democratic politicians (if not their moribund strategists) are feeling the pressure from the people to do the right thing.

Voters are still working hard this week-end to convince Democrats to support the filibuster. You can get action items and information at Kos, The Agonist and Democrats.com .

And ... I know that it is somewhat unpopular to say this, and I will get a ration of angry comments for suggesting it, but I'm doing it anyway. If any of the following are your Senators, think about taking a minute to thank them for announcing they will support the filibuster. They are being ridiculed and scorned by everybody in the beltway for being dimwitted tools of the angry left or craven political opportunists. It seems to me that if we tell them we like it when they act out of conviction, they'll do it more often. I still think we should get their back on this:

1. Barbara Boxer (D- CA)
2. Dianne Feinstein (D- CA)
3. Christopher J. Dodd (D- CT)
4. Richard J. Durbin (D- IL)
5. John F. Kerry (D- MA)
6. Edward M. Kennedy (D- MA)
7. Paul S. Sarbanes (D- MD)
8. Debbie A. Stabenow (D- MI)
9. Harry Reid (D- NV)
10. Hillary Rodham Clinton (D- NY)
11. Charles Schumer (D- NY)
12. Ron Wyden (D- OR)
13. Russell D. Feingold (D- WI)
14. Barack Obama (D-IL)
15. Robert Menendez (D-NJ)




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