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November 01, 2005


Excellent analysis. The big deal to me on Alito is what the Maine ladies, and maybe, Chafee, does. (Don't anybody talk to me about spineless when Chafee's still in the Senate). I expect Nelson to bolt, but I expect Specter to play hardball, too, with super precedent questions to Alito.

But it feels to me like Frist got rolled, big time, today. When that happens, it makes the already restive troops even more restive.


Only problem is we need a few more (well, several) people willing to vote against Alito for separation of powers reasons. Not sure who'd they be (I fantasize about McCain, but ever since I voted for the conservative fucker, I've been delusional). In any case, we need to find a reason to get 4 more votes against Alito. And then they can have their upperdown.

who are the pro-choice R's?

A Billmon gem:

Frist's sound bite was particularly funny:

"They have no convictions, they have no principles, they have no ideas."
No convictions? That's, ahem, is not something the Majority Leader may be able to say about himself much longer.

"For tonight and tomorrow, Alito got pushed aside, Avian Flu wasn't the only big story, and the Dems took control of the news cycle."

Imagine my surprise when I tuned in Jim Lehrer on PBS to hear about the biggest story of the day, only to find -- no segment on it. Lead segment -- Margaret Warner interviewing Schumer and a GOPer on Alito . . .

PBS has almost completed its descent into MSM.

Oregondave: I wonder if part of the problem was that PBS may have already set their schedule before the Senate Dems launched the move. Since PBS usually only does 3 or 4 involved pieces each day, the only way something starting in mid or late afternoon EST would be to make the news overview at the beginning of the show.

Another strategic deterrent effect: Frist has now caught a glimpse of Reid's ability to use the Senate rules in response to the Nuclear Option.

Do you feel lucky, punk? Well, do you?

Oregondave: I wonder if part of the problem was that PBS may have already set their schedule before the Senate Dems launched the move.

That's probably right. They're not going to turn on a dime unless they really have to - especially on what used to be called a 'big news day' (Alito); particularly if they have a full slate of stories already ready to go (they don't have a big budget); and they see themselves as floating above it all anyway. They've made a virtue out of their small budget. Jim 'Lera' is boring as fuck. He doesn't even care his own self. Oh well.

I'm trying to keep the profanities out of my comments (just kidding), but the Newshour is Boring as Fuck, and has been ever since the departure of Robert McNeil; a fine, hard hitting interviewer. He revealed recently that the only reason he's Canadian is that his grandfather married the bosses daughter and robbed his own bank (in MA). Fled.

Another strategic deterrent effect: Frist has now caught a glimpse of Reid's ability to use the Senate rules in response to the Nuclear Option.

What's hilarious to me is that Reid might have figured out the Rove Grand Strategy at the same time Rove is having his possible last hurrah - coming back as farce, if you will: act like you have power. It's incredible how much you can get away with! I don't need any exhibit 'A'. Just look at the country. More and more bizzare, more and more arbitrary.

Speaking of Bush's bird flu "initiative", HuffingtonPost.com has this interesting article: "Donald Rumsfeld holds $5M to $25M Stake in Tamiflu--Bird Flu--company."

Sigh. That's Gilead, not Roche. Gilead and Roche are feuding over this, and Rummy's prolly lost millions more because Roche is not making enough tamiflu to satisfy demand.

Rummy's investments have nothing to do with what's going on. Expose them, but don't be misled.

jonnybutter --

Thanks for explaining why I drifted away from the NewsHour, and haven't gone back even as CNN sinks deeper into the primordial ooze.

And, yeah, power is like magic: you have it if people think you have it.

-- Rick

Regarding Rumsfeld's bird-flu vaccine connection, I'm conditioned to believe the very worst about anyone in Bush's orbit.

An analogy that struck me this morning: is Reid's bold move vaguely like Reagan's famous "I am PAYING for this microphone" moment? The import of that otherwise trivial sound-bite (essentially cribbed from Capra's State of the Union) was it countered a then-active feeling that Reagan was doddering/not up to the primary battle with Bush pere, let alone a general election. It was an act of assertion his campaign needed at that moment.

We've known for months the public has turned on Bush (and the GOP in general); that they're dying for a viable alternative. But one segment -- a chunk large enough to still swing an election -- remains on the fence for fear Dems are not up to the "daddy" demands of the job. This craving for forcefulness is what drew many to Dean, and has created the Hackett surge. If the Democratic party as a whole can associate itself with just such an aggressive tone, I believe the country will be ready to turn decisively in their direction (given that the sale has long been made on most major issues). Yesterday was a strong step forward.

Of course, that Reid's move has the added advantage of being substantively correct...and of issue significance. Is he the best Senate leader we've ever had? Was Daschle's defeat the luckiest thing ever happened to our side?

I think you're right on the forcefulness issue. Reid and Durbin don't come across as particularly soft or weak; they're sufficiently "bland" for much of America, but they're not afraid to get a little tough, and that can only help the Dem's image.

And as much as I'd like to have another vote in the Senate, it is one of those ironies that Bush et al went so hard after Daschle and ended up with a for more effective opposition under Reid. And not just any irony, but a delicious one.

Not to take anything away from Reid or Durbin, imagine if Senator Kennedy had been the one to read the riot act.

Great post, DH. It pulls so many threads together. This whole incident just underscores the importance of objectivity I wrote about a month or so ago--the ability to step back, see clearly, assess a situation in terms of the overall goal one wants to pursue and not its impact on oneself, and patiently make strategic and tactical choices in an evolving environment that will take one to that overall goal.

Reid may never have read Max Weber's famous essay, but he understands the notion of objectivity and how essential it is to a politician who hopes to be successful. He understands how to use the opposition's weaknesses (ignorance of the rules, disdain for the intricacies of procedure, vanity) not only to tie them in knots, but to hang them up with those weaknesses exposed for all to see.

The fight over Alito isn't going to play out as a simple hearing/filibuster/nuclear option fight. The timetable won't be what Frist and the R's want. Other tough issues and fights with shifting coalitions will come into play, like torture, where Cheney and his dark lieutenants are on the wrong side of 90 Senators; like the budget, which impacts everyone up for reelection; like the war and the intel fiascos; like things we can't even anticipate, before there is ever a vote. And it is likely to be next year, the year of the midterms.

You are absolutely right that the spectacle of Frist being so flummoxed, as angry at the slap to himself as Gingrich was when Clinton wouldn't talk to him on the plane, so angry he had to draw attention to it, further exposing his vanity and weakness, has to give several Republican senators pause.

And Lott saying that perhaps Karl Rove isn't the ideal policy adviser for Bush just now was the perfect lagniappe.

This isn't a game for the shallow, no matter how smart they may be in other fields.

Mimikatz: you touched on something I didn't really talk about much in the post, what Steve Martin said was the key to comedy--Tiiiiming. tiMING. Time ing. I think one consideration for Reid was the timing, not just to screw up the Repubs' timing, but an awareness that yesterday's move might have been too damaging had it not come in the wake of the Libby indictment and Bush's plummiting poll numbers.

And don't know if you noticed, but Billmon is reading Weber.

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