Thursday, January 12, 2006

Are The Dems Alito's Biggest Allies?

If Ted Kennedy, Pat Leahy or Dick Durbin had any intelligence whatsoever, they would be following the lead of Chuck Schumer. Schumer picks his battles and keeps his questions above a third grade intellectual level. He has asked Alito in a very reasoned manner to describe his views on abortion and how they would play into any decision on abortion, as well as the legal efficacy of Roe v. Wade. Granted, I think it is a major weakness for the Dems to be consistent defenders of abortion, but it is worse, by several orders of magnitude, for them to be nitpicking Alito on anything that they can find. And it seems that they have forgotten the first rule of personal attacks: If you are going to be throwing excrement, you inevitably will get some of it on you.

And the fairly mean level of discourse created by the Democrats was evidenced by this. When Lindsey Graham (R-SC) had his turn with Alito, Graham asked Alito if he was a bigot. Then Graham mentioned the long list of people from across the spectrum of politics and race who feel that Alito is a fair and kind man, then apologized for the truly inexcusable mistreatment he faced from some of the more obnoxious members of the committee. His wife began to cry at that moment and then excused herself from the room.

For anyone who saw the tape, it was moving. She said nothing, but the reaction to the kind words from Graham underscored the really base nature of the behavior of the leftists on the Senate Judiciary Committee. If you make a decent man's wife cry because of your bad behavior, it's you, the accuser who looks bad. Not the accused. Such is evidence of the truth of the aforementioned rule.

But if you want to know what the Dems think of their success in this creepy enterprise, all eyes need to be on Schumer.

Chuck Schumer, whatever one may think of him is probably the smartest (and thereby most effective) member of the Senate Democratic caucus. Ted Kennedy may be a longstanding member of the Senate and may get a good deal of media attention, but he really has become a caricature outside Washington and Hyannis Port. Schumer's attacks (if they can be called that at all), were directed at Alito the judge and Alito the lawyer, not Alito the man. But realizing that his efforts really aren't getting his cause anywhere, Schumer is likely saving the real fight for another day. Sure, he'll vote against Alito with the rest of his dishonest caucus, but he's probably not going to go digging for anything more, and certainly will stay away from the character assassination. And in that vein, there is something particularly ironic about people like Dick Durbin and Ted Kennedy giving moral lectures and attacking another person's character by turning irrelevant details into an opportunity to demonize him.

But there are already huge signs that the Democrats' smear effort is imperiled. The only thing they are using to hit him are views on abortion expressed 20 years ago, membership in a group of Princeton alumni who opposed using racial and other quotas in admission to the University, his refusal to recuse himself from a case that involved an investment house where he had money, and the fact that while he concurred with the majority in the Planned Parenthood v. Casey case (upholding 3 of 4 state-imposed abortion preconditions), he had the audacity to dissent in part, arguing that the state had the power to require the fourth precondition--the last issue being the chief basis for the abortion demagoguery.

But the problem is the fact that the Dems are in the details (pun intended), which brings us to the next rule: people don't care about the details. If it came out that he was a klansman, a drunk driver who killed someone, a plagiarist, or someone who smeared our troops in time of war for partisan gain, that would be a matter of significant concern to the public, and would bring into question his fitness not just to serve on the Supreme Court, but in any public office at all. But as it is, people generally regard strung-together petty accusations as nothing more than, well, strung-together petty accusations...irrelevant things blown out of proportion in an effort to undeservedly slime an otherwise decent and upstanding individual for partisan purposes.

But the net effect is to make Alito appear to be cleaner and more fir than he appeared before he went into the hearings. Which raises the final question as to whether it was the Democrats and not the Republicans or the Administration who did a more effective job in demonstrating Alito's fitness for the Supreme Court by failing to raise anything but the most ridiculous of concerns.

ADDENDUM

RealClearPolitics zeroes in on the really very funny issue that I mention above about certain Democrats giving lectures about morality and ethics to Sam Alito, by noting that many of them could not survive their own standards. But they remain in office for different reasons. Dianne Feinstein (whom I generally respect despite the fact that she is a flaming liberal) is elected by the same gang that sends barely functional Barbara Boxer to the Senate. Ted Kennedy is elected by the kind of people who would send, well...Ted Kennedy...to the Senate. And John Kerry. Pat Leahy comes from a state that elects a Representative at Large, Bernie Sanders, who is a Socialist independent, and who elected the one-lace-short-of-a-straight-jacket governor, now DNC chair, Howard Dean. Schumer comes from the same state that sends Hillary Clinton to the Senate. And Durbin's voters are the same who elected the corrupt Governor George Ryan, whose last official act was to commute the sentences of all Illinois death row inmates, probably knowing that he'd need some friends on the inside after he was sent to prison.

Remember, if you fail to vote against these people's opponents, you are just as responsible as those who voted the louts in.

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