Tuesday, November 01, 2005

To Nuke or not Nuke?

I tend to agree with James previous post that utilizing the filibuster as a key strategy in defeating the nomination of Alito would be a perilous idea. It is a distinct possibility that Democrats could end up trying to filibuster, lose it in the exercise of the nuclear option, and still end looking like demented chumps to the public. Another likely possibility is that a filibuster is attempted, but Democrats can't hold together to sustain it. In any case, the filibuster is too unpredictable to rely on as a central strategy. Judge Alito's record needs to be carefully reviewed and opposition needs to be tied to key Progressivebedrock ideas. His record on worker rights, for example, could be used to justify strong opposition as part of the Democratic parties support for the rights of workers in the face of employer abuse. Support for Roe and Griswold is another area to rally around. Opposition must be grounded in real progressive ideals and not in terms of arcane process or procedure, such as document withholding.

That being said, the filibuster could be threatened in a scenario where Democrats could be assured the public regards their opppositon as principled rather than politics. Also if they believe many Republicans are afraid to trigger the nuclear option in the possibility of losing the Senate. But keep it off the table, at least in public. Democrats too often telegraph their strategy to the White House, making it easy to counter. Harry Reid demonstrated today that surprise tactics can work.

No comments: