Tuesday, January 24, 2006

blogging for choice. . . and a filibuster

First, let me thank the organizers of “Blog for Choice” for coordinating Sunday’s demonstration of support for abortion rights. It was great to participate, and I loved looking in on all kinds of other blogs I never would have known about if not for this action.

Second, a big “thank you” to Babyitis, Bitch | Lab, and F-words for the links, the kind words, and for pointing people to my piece on capitoilette.

Now, on to matters of the day: The Senate Judiciary committee approved the Alito nomination today on a strict party-line vote, 10-8. It was a real sunny get-together, with Democrats focusing on abortion rights, other civil rights, and presidential power, and Republicans accusing the Dems of politicizing the nomination.

Yeah, right.

While Democrats like Senators Leahy and Feinstein spoke specifically of what they believed would be a detrimental shift to the right should Alito ascend to the High Court, Republican Orin Hatch whinged about how he had voted for the “liberal” Ruth Bader Ginsburg (of course, Ginsburg was sent to the Senate after several proposed Clinton nominees were rejected by Hatch during informal consultations), and South Carolina Republican Lindsey Graham threatened violence, saying if Democrats want to make judges a campaign issue, “we welcome that debate on our side. We'll clean your clock.”

That’s nice.

Senator Kyle (R-AZ) said the Republicans would “remember” the party-line vote in the future. In other words, he’s threatening a blind, purely political retaliation should the Dems ever be so lucky as to nominate someone to the Supreme Court in the future.

So, who is doing the politicizing here?

I say, to Hatch, Graham, and Kyle—and all their Republican comrades in arms—if they want a political fight, bring it on! And, I say to the Democrats, it’s time to stand for something big, and not just against something small.

There are lots of big ideas that the Democrats can and should turn into talking points (and action points) going into the fall, but right now, the nomination of rightwing radical Sam Alito gives them issue number one.

The Republicans have scrupulously avoided talking about real issues that might come before the court—issues that will have a day-to-day affect on the lives of Americans—and have instead talked in vague generalities and engaged in partisan preemptive attacks. Republicans have not said, for instance, “I favor corporate rights over worker rights,” or “I favor a weakening of privacy rights, or free speech rights, or civil rights, or the elimination of the right to a legal, safe abortion.”

The Democrats, with speeches before the Judiciary Committee today, made some steps toward articulating a support for the rights we hold dear, but those words and votes do not go far enough. It is time for Democrats to flat out oppose the lurch to the right that Republicans have forced on the ship of state—say that they cannot accept what Bush and the Republicans are doing to this country, and then propose a progressive agenda designed to give America back to its people. And, it is time for the Democrats to make it clear that they will go to the mat for the rights of all Americans—starting with stopping Alito.

It is time for a filibuster, and not in a shy way. American’s are ready for elected officials who stand up for their interests, and it would be easy to frame a filibuster in those terms.

Brad Blog reported over the weekend that minority whip Senator Dick Durbin said Dems are still considering the option of filibuster to stop the Alito nomination. (Alito’s approval is, thus, not the foregone conclusion virtually every major news outlet would have us believe.) Durbin stated that support for a filibuster is growing. I say, damn right it is! With each revelation about the misdeeds of the Bush administration and the abuse of power by the Congressional majority, voters become hungrier for an alternative. So, let’s give them one.

Call your Senators; tell them you want Alito kept off of the Supreme Court by any means necessary. Tell your Senators that you support a filibuster. Tell your Senators that you support a Democratic party that robustly opposes the Republican agenda, and robustly supports the rights and welfare of the American people.

You can phone the US Capitol Switchboard at (202) 224-3121 or (888) 818-6641—a switchboard operator will connect you directly with the Senate office you request.


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