Tuesday, September 20, 2005

See-Through Senate Spin

I've always told people one of my biggest problems with Hillary Clinton is the simple transparency which permeates everything she does. Like a clear plastic anatomical model in high-school biology, there is little Hillary(!) does that doesn't recall a circulatory system filled with red dye laid bare for all the world to see. Every inner movement and internal engine is exposed. Even her supporters leap onto the Sunday shows and discuss at length how the former First Lady is "positioning" herself to appeal to this or that constituency.

I demand a little smoothness from my politicians. If you must feed me serving after serving of bullshit, drizzle it in honey. If you plan on wrecking the constitution and government, have the sense and sheer talent to frame it in such a way that I have no idea it's happened until it's too late.

It seems Senate Democrats are taking a play out of Hillary's book.

Senate Democratic leader Harry Reid announced his opposition to Chief Justice-nominee John Roberts on Tuesday, voicing doubts about Roberts' commitment to civil rights and accusing the Bush administration of stonewalling requests for documents that might shed light on his views.


Let's be honest here. The Democrats have lost control of every branch of government as well as a majority of state legislatures and governorships. A Senate filibuster to sway the course of the Supreme Court and other aspects of the federal judiciary is all they have. However, Judge Roberts is so well-qualified, so intelligent, and so just plain damn likeable, filibustering his nomination would be the final bit of sepukku for a party already bleeding profusely from dozens of self-inflicted wounds.

Instead, they must position themselves for the filibuster of the next nominee. Unfortunately for them, it's blatant:

"I'm inclined to vote for Roberts unless something else comes up," said Sen. Max Baucus, D-Mont. "It's a close call."

Reid said much the same about the narrowness of the decision in remarks that nonetheless pleased women's groups and civil rights organizations that had feared he would support Roberts.

"This is a very close question for me. But I must resolve my doubts in favor of the American people whose rights would be in jeopardy if John Roberts turned out to be the wrong person for the job," he said.

A moderate like Roberts is a "close-call." There are "grave doubts" and "serious questions" about his nomination. However, Democrats, being the stand up partisans that they are, won't filibuster his nomination. They're being nice, damnit.

Until the nomination of O'Connor's replacement. If that nomination is anywhere to the right of Cindy Sheehan, well, they'll just have to filibuster. They've already allowed one of Bush's nominations through, despite their very great concerns. How could they possibly live with themselves and their consciences if they allow someone even worse onto the Court?

We now have the set up. During the next nomination, we'll see if they can spike it. If history is any guide, I fully expect them to end up with a face full of net.