|BuzzFlash News Analysis|
January 27, 2006
|NEWS ANALYSIS ARCHIVES|
BuzzFlash Has Heard a Rumor that Senator Barack Obama Has Been Opposing a Filibuster of Alito Inside the Democratic Caucus
A BUZZFLASH NEWS ANALYSIS
We hope this isn't true, but BuzzFlash has been told by a knowledgeable source that Senator Barack Obama is opposing a filibuster of Alito during the debate raging within the Democratic Senate Caucus. The implication is that he is against such a filibuster on "strategic grounds."
BuzzFlash's source for this rumor also correctly informed us that after days of BuzzFlash calling upon Senator John Kerry to live up to his 2003 commitment to lead a filibuster against a candidate with the anti-Constitutional background of Sam Alito that Kerry was now trying to get the caucus to back a filibuster. Indeed, late on Thursday, Kerry's office publicly announced what our source had told us: Kerry would indeed try to filibuster Alito and try to persuade his Democratic colleagues to back him by voting to keep the filibuster alive. He will need 40 other votes.
But that brings us back to Obama. We called both his Chicago and D.C. offices to try and ferret out whether Obama's alleged opposition to a filibuster was indeed true, but we could not get an answer. We left a message with his D.C. Press Secretary that we would run with the story if we did not hear back from him -- and we did not hear back from him.
That doesn't mean it's true. But add this to the evidence.
Someone who attended the weekly D.C. town hall breakfast meetings that Obama and Minority Whip Dick Durbin hold for Illinois constituents said that Obama was distinctly non-committal when the subject of a filibuster came up. He didn't offer to support one, and dismissed the notion with "the votes aren't there" sort of approach. This was said on the morning of January 26th.
(In a separate wire service story, "Assistant Democratic Leader Dick Durbin told reporters that he 'can count votes' and concluded that a filibuster of Alito 'would not be likely to succeed.'" Message to Dick: You and Reid are the top two Democrats to make the filibuster happen, not to let everyone run off and do what they want for their own selfish political reasons.)
The Republicans often don't have the votes the day before a big bill comes up, but by the time the dust clears, somehow they find them. That's the job of political parties: to win.
If the rumor is true, the golden future of the Democratic Party has shown himself to be another Dem Senator waving a white flag. It doesn't matter if he votes "No," which he will. He knows that; the Republicans know that; and we all know that.
The Busheviks count their victories; the Dems count their losses and take pride in their "symbolic" votes. The difference is between winners and losers: only, in this case, the Constitution and our democracy are at stake.
If Obama is pulling a DLC strategy out of concern for his political future, he is going to be a lot more harmed by his caution than by standing up for the Constitution.
So, since Obama's office won't tell us if the rumor is true, you can call them bright and early on Friday morning and ask, "Does Senator Obama support a filibuster against the confirmation of Sam Alito in order to save our Constitutional division of powers and our indvidiual liberties?" Maybe they will answer such a question from you. They won't from us.
The telephone number for Senator Obama's D.C. office is 202-224-2854. The telephone number for his Chicago office is 312-886-3506.
If we are wrong about this rumor, the Senator's people know where to reach us. We will be glad to print any comment the Senator might have on whether or not he will back a filibuster.
A BUZZFLASH NEWS ANALYSIS
A BuzzFlash Afternote: All we can say about the announced support for Alito by our former hero, Robert Byrd, is Et Tu, Robert?
Here is the Senate's most eloquent supporter of the separation of powers backing a Supreme Court nominee who believes in the "Unitary Executive" (Dictatorial) powers of a Republican president. Such a theory is nowhere in the Constitution and in fact is in violation of the explicit balance of powers guaranteed in the Constitution.
All we can say is that even Robert Byrd must have succumbed to cutting a deal that the GOP will not support his opponent in West Virginia in 2006 with anything but minimal funds and backing from the national party.
Nothing else can explain such a betrayal of the Constitution.