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January 30, 2006

Monday Alito gameplan: Lead, follow, or get out of the way

The Vichy Democrats have the latest Alito filibuster game plan (and all contact info you could ever need for haranguing Senators to maximum effect):

Our theme today is: Lead, Follow, Or Get Out of the Way. In political terms, that's: EITHER SUPPORT THE FILIBUSTER OR ABSTAIN FROM THE CLOTURE VOTE, BUT DON'T GET IN OUR WAY.

The VDems are outdoing themselves. Check out their advice. Then go nag a Senator or two on your lunch break.


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Here's another reason why the Filisbuster should go through: [ ] -- there are many questions that the RNC doesn't want answered!

Please consider the link and forward to all. Thanks!

If you remember the case of Hamdhi vs. Rumsfeld, the government claimed that it had the right to seize Hamdhi, as US citizen and hold him without charging him, detaining him indefinitely, and deny him a court hearing.

Justice Thomas wrote the dissenting opinion and cited the "unitary executive" theory as his rationale' for dissent.

Alito has said straight up that he supports the "unitary executive" theory which puts the President beyond the law or constitutional restrictions.

In Hamdhi vs. Rumsfeld... the court of Sandra Day O'conner stopped the government. Interestingly enough it was Justice Scalia who wrote the majority opinion and said that this was the very definition of tyranny.

With Alito on the court that decision could have gone the other way. If it does, we will cease to be a free democratic republic because if you disagree with the President... you could be declared a "person of interest" and disappear in the night. There would be no authority to challenge the president... no checks and balances... you're toast.

Damn, it's over.

Vichy Dems so far (voted against the filibuster):


Fuck it. I'm going drinking. If any New Yorkers want to join Scott Lemieux and me, we'll be at the Ginger Man at 36th and 5th.

Reporter: Tell me Mr. Will Rodgers, do you belong to an organized political party?

Will Rodgers: Hell no... I'm a Democrat!

Says it all don't it?

Lieberman must go.

I just can't understand the rationale behind this. Can anyone point me toward a credible person making the case for not filibustering? There's absolutely nothing to gain.

Congratulations on Justice to be Alito.

And shame on those who sought to subvert the Constitution with a filibuster in this situation. And you call Bush extremist.

Well, this time tomorrow, the system will have worked, and you guys will be even more bitter. Sorry about that.

In the final analysis when you find out just what the theory of the unitary executive is and how you just lost every guarantee of your civil rights it will be you who will wonder "what the fuck were we thinking."

Today the first step towards shredding the Constitution and the Bill of rights were taken. The first step towards the end of the Rule of Law were taken.

Congratulations... fascism has come to America!

I'm kind of curious about that too: for the Democrats who voted against the filibuster, what was their rationale? What combination of political calculation, fear, or honest principles led to that decision? Not so much a rhetorical question as genuine curiosity. I don't understand the decision, and if I did understand it then I think I'd understand more about how Washington works than I do.

Some possibile ideas I've thought of include:
- An honest belief that a thing like Alito deserves to sit on the Supreme Court.
- Fear that the Administration could punish Senators who get in its way.
- Fear that voters wouldn't like a filibuster.
- Fear of getting negative coverage from the Washington Post editorial staff and having awkward moments at cocktail parties.
- A belief that the nomination is a done deal and that filibuster or no the Administration will find some way to get whatever it likes onto the Supreme Court, so we might as well give in now.
- Hope of maintaining a cordial relationship with Republican colleagues, which could be disrupted by something as nasty as a fight over a nomination.
- The desire to chose one's own battles: one only has a fixed and finite amount of fight, so it's better to spend it on something more important.

As my phrasing suggests, I'm genuinely at a loss to think of a good reason for a Democratic Senator to vote against the filibuster. I don't even see how voting for the filibuster would take an extraordinary amount of courage; all you have to do is raise your hand and say "nay". On the other hand, they're the professionals and I'm not. Maybe they're seeing some good reason that's eluding me.

Still puzzled.

I posted this comment earlier at Jesus' General. Hope you don't mind me sharing it with you. - John

Gals, I'm sorry that many male non-Republican senators apparently put their cajones in a blind trust when they got elected, and therefore did NOT filibuster that fucker Alito today. Actually I'm sorry for every Bush non-supporter in this country. Curtailment and/or elimination of abortion rights is bad enough, but there are so many other major issues that also hang in the balance right now that will affect so many other aspects of our life that I, quite frankly, am a little scared. This whole "unitary executive" concept is what concerns me the most, but there may be a small glimmer of hope. In a couple of articles I've read recently their authors suggest that Justice Kennedy will be the new swing vote in the Supreme Court, and it appears that he's been leaning more to the left in recent years, or so I have read. I'm not a Supreme Court junkie so I don't know if there's any truth to those assessments or not. I guess we'll find out soon enough.

I personally want to congratulate all the Vichy Democrats who enabled this victory for Bush. Thanks for allowing the Republicans to deliver yet another humiliating kick in the crotch to everyone in this country who's not at all keen on letting King George destroy this nation. Canada, I'm sorry for your loss of liberal leadership as well. I guess I have to cross one more country off my possible-future-residence list, at least for now.

I'll remember who all the Vichy Dems are, and will do everything I can to help other Democrats challenge them in their next primary elections. Fuck. Them. ALL.

I just kept it simple... I e-mailed Reid and Durbin and told them that they should submit their resignations as party leaders... the stakes are too high and while they are nice guys... they're frinckin' wimps who haven't got the right stuff.

Just FYI... I asked three close friends who are Bush supporters if they knew what the Unitary Executive theory was. None of them had a clue and they were shocked when I trotted out the details on it.

They didn't have a clue to what they signed up too. To late now boys and girls... you broke it... you bought it!

Anybody for starting a commune in Venezuela? Im old enough to remember that slack jawed expression conservatives model when Spiro Agnew got busted, or when Nixon went off the deep end,or Ollie North testified, or Jim Baker got caught etc etc.Like Labradors who chased after a fake throw.They are just SHOCKED they got chumped yet AGAIN.

The silver lining: that much sooner the people will finally wake from their slumber.

I just kept it simple... I e-mailed Reid and Durbin and told them that they should submit their resignations as party leaders... the stakes are too high and while they are nice guys... they're frinckin' wimps who haven't got the right stuff.

Actually, I think Reid did a surprisingly good job of herding cats, here. 25 against cloture was a hell of a lot better than I expected, given the circumstances.

Digby has more.

Final roll call here.

I was happy with Reid on this. I'm not sure if I share all of Digby's sunny assessment, but at least some Democrats did well, with no help from the conventional wisdom mongers.


Don't get me wrong... I like Reid, he's a good and honest man. He is however not capable of "hearding cats" and unifying the party.

The Repugs work like a well oiled machine and move as a block. The Dems will have to do the same or they will lose. It is this type of Cohesion that is lacking in the party and why they will continue to lose unless they change.

Much of this falls on Durbin as well and I e-mailed him. Reid has never backed down once he has taken a stand.

Durbin on the other hand starts an attack on the repugs, as we saw in the torture memos from the FBI which Durbin read into the Congressional record. Durbin was right to do that, but when the Rethugs started their counter attack... he apologized. He is spineless and we can not have that in the Senate leadership. For what ever reason Reid couldn't control him and the other Dems in the Senate.

If this is the best that they can do then the 06 elections will be a disaster for the Dems, rather than a chance to stop what appears to be a take over by a right wing junta... then a free democratic republic is a thing of the past... whether Reid personally did well or not. The stakes are too damn high!

Wow, do you folks drink the Kool-Aid.

Re-read your earnest comments from the past 4 days and see if there is any connection between your fervent hopes and reality. Alito was sworn in today. Many comments here just seem....crazy, in light of that reality. You really had HOPE? Good grief. You folks do not understand power. Was the 2004 election not clear to you?

I understand you not wanting conservatives on the Supremes, and I understand you being very opposed to Bush and GOP policies. That's fine.

But what I don't understand is the delusion of power in the face of such strong GOP power. You have no grounds for your hope in this Congress, this Adminstration.

You may well sweep the GOP out of power in both houses in November and bring in a Dem President in Jan 2009. All this is possible, maybe even likely.

But NOW? No. You don't have power. Why keep thinking, writing, speaking, acting as if you do? Your tilting at windmills.

Shame on anyone who supported a filibuster effort here. The rule of law prevailed, the good guys won, but you've poisoned the well but good now.

Phantom, that's BS and you know it. If the filibuster had prevailed, how would the rule of law have been compromised?

The filibuster is legal. Not only that, it's integral to the law-making process as designed by the Framers.

If there filibuster for judicial nominees weren't legal and constitutional the Republicans wouldn't need to threaten their crackpot "nuclear option." They'd have to break the rules of the Senate in order to destroy the filibuster for judicial nominees. And, worse for them, they'd be caught in a logical Catch-22 if they tried it.

The Senate more or less sets its own rules. The rules are established by tradition. There's no question that the Senate's traditional interpretation of "advise and consent" has left open the option of the filibuster.

The only reason the Republicans can justify implementing the nuclear option is that Senate rules are catch-as-catch can. So, if they have a simple majority to change the rules, the rules change. But as soon as they do that, they vitiate their entire meta-justification for rewriting the rules in the first place.

I'm visiting some of the sites that were involved in the Alito filibuster, to say:

The Alito filibuster movement -- that astounding grassroots energy -- was just the beginning of something really powerful. Several of my recent posts over at>VichyDems talk about this burgeoning movement, and several bloggers -- Glenn Greenwald, Jane at Firedoglake, even Digby and maybe even Kos -- are working on a state-by-state grassroots plan to take back the country. So please keep up the energy! We ARE going to win!


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