|January 20, 2006||EDITORIAL ARCHIVES|
Sam Alito and the End of Constitutional Checks and Balances: The Senate Dems are About to Hang Themselves
A BUZZFLASH EDITORIAL
And so it was written.
Shortly after the "Supreme Court Partisan Five" stole the election for Bush in 2000, Tom Daschle struck a deal with the Texas transition team.
The deal went something like this: the Democrats in the Senate would not contest Bush's selection by the Supreme Court as President of the United States and they wouldn't filibuster his cabinet appointments. In return, the Democrats would get the right to weigh in on Supreme Court appointments and contest any that they thought were too extreme.
Daschle went on (and we remember this well, because BuzzFlash took him to task in numerous editorials) to praise Bush and his cabinet selections with such zealousness, it was revolting. BuzzFlash particularly documented Daschle's homepage in early 2001 that discussed how proud he was to attend the inauguration of the wonderful President Bush, and Daschle bragged about how he regularly consulted with Bush.
But Daschle, his staff whispered, was just playing a two-sided game. He was shoring up his support in ultra-red state South Dakota, but assuring Democrats that the Maginot Line of compromise would be the Supreme Court.
As part of the deal, Daschle didn't even force a filibuster on the Ashcroft nomination. Up until the moment of the Ashcroft confirmation vote, Daschle said he didn't know how many Dem Senators would vote against the controversial appointment, even though he was Democratic leader. Heck, even Russell Feingold voted for Ashcroft in the Judiciary Committee, saying that he took Ashcroft at his word in the hearings that he would uphold the laws of Congress and the Constitution.
So Ashcroft became Attorney General, and we were told that the Dems would hold the line at the Supreme Court. And then vote after vote, we were told, the Dems would hold their powder until a Supreme Court nominee came up.
And then one Supreme Court nominee came up, and the Dems held their powder. And then another Supreme Court nominee came up, Sam Alito, who threatens the very viability of Congress, and the Dems are going to hold their powder again.
Daschle is long gone, the victim of unrelenting Republican attacks in the 2004 election, including a dirty tricks web operation by the infamous Jeff Gannon. He finally fell off his tightrope act that saw him running to be in photos with Bush and then running back to the Senate to criticize the White House, and then running to apologize for his criticism.
But we are stuck with a legacy of losses and defeats for democracy. The Democrats keep giving ground in the name of fighting later. But the fights they claimed to be their true battle -- the Supreme Court nominees -- ended up being their Waterloo. They have been shown to be paper tigers.
BuzzFlash is sad to say that we predicted as much in a series of commentaries, but if the Democrats in the Senate are anything, they are consistent in losing and wandering around in a dazed and confused state of defeat. (See Of Tyrants, Kings, Alito and Bush - January 4, 2006, Thank God our current Senate Democrats weren't at Lexington and Concord! - January 6, 2006, "The Big Show" -- Confirming Alito Moves Us One Step Closer to Erasing the American Revolution - January 9, 2006, The Real Thing - January 11, 2006)
Strength comes from the fight in your gut, not the swagger in your talk.
You can consider the Busheviks the evil empire, as we do, but they don't lack passion, conviction and determination.
The Democratic Senators, with some exceptions, seem not to know even what they should have conviction about.
A "no" vote on Alito means nothing. Don't let the Feinsteins and Bidens of the world try to convince you otherwise.
Losing, yet again, means nothing, as Bush secures his solid majority on the Supreme Court -- and the Democrats enable him to become a modern day Caesar with "Unitary Executive" (dictatorial) powers.
The only victory is a filibuster.
There is no need to review the farce of the Alito "hearings." As we have editorialized, both sides know exactly where Alito is coming from. He has a Department of Justice and judicial record that comprehensively and proudly displays that he is an advocate and strategist for a Republican Imperial Presidency, the overturning of Roe v. Wade, discrimination against people with disabilities and more.
If 43 Democrats vote "no" on Alito, he is still on the Court (Democrat Ben Nelson of Nebraska has already said he will vote FOR Alito). The Democrats notch up another defeat. Only this time, they are hanging themselves, because Alito believes that Congress is irrelevant to the will of a Republican President.
That is not conjecture. That is fact.
Harry Reid had the makings of another Harry Truman. He has a great All-American up-by-his-own bootstraps, rough and tumble, Nevada upbringing. But he can't be Harry Truman if he can't lead his caucus to victory.
Dick Durbin, the second in command of the Senate Democrats, is as fine and smart an elected official as BuzzFlash has met. But, he's not someone to force the Joe Bidens, Dianne Feinsteins and Ben Nelsons of the world into line by threatening to cut off their committee assignments and perks.
The Democrats will never gain the confidence of the American public that they can stand up to terrorists when they can't even stand up to the Republicans. Your strength as a leader is defined by winning, not by losing.
With every compromise the Democrats in the Senate make, they just appear to be retreating more, however much they dress up their small skirmishes as victories. They are just fading further into irrelevance.
And the lack of will to filibuster Sam Alito is going to make them irrelevant alright, because the laws Congress passes will be subject to virtually any interpretation Bush wants to make of them. And Bush will be allowed to break laws at will because Alito and the rest of the Bush royal court justices believe he has the powers of a Monarch, unfettered by our Constitutional system of checks and balances.
Bush keeps giving the Democrats in the Senate rope and they keep hanging themselves, at a time when Bush is the one who should be on the ropes.
The radical Republicans who run our country have the number of the Senate Democrats. These Washington establishment career politician Dems define themselves by what they have become: losers who won't put up a fight.
And now they are about to put themselves out of business.
A BUZZFLASH EDITORIAL