IT WAS A FIREFIGHT!

Okay, so it may not end up being as epic a battle as the one alluded to by Willem Defoe’s character in Boondock Saints, but I have to say this much, the Alito confirmation just got interesting. That’s right, despite Democratic signals to the contrary, Sen. Kerry has made it known that he intends to try for a fillibuster of would-be justice Alito.

I said damn.

Now here’s the raw. I’ve been split on the idea of fillibustering Alito. Personally, I’m all for it. Get rid of this cat, the sooner the better, and be sure to wash your hands thoroughly after. Politically, though, that’s a different matter.

From the onset, I was of the mind that fillibustering Alito would be unwise to say the least. It’s a matter of risk assessment, and in this case, it just doesn’t add up to a happy sum. First, in today’s brave new world of the ever looming nuclear option, fillibustering Alito could not only fail to prevent him from being appointed, but you also run the risk of permanently changing Senate rules. Look, I’m a fan of the fillibuster. I believe whole heartedly in the protection it affords the minority from the majority. The fact that it’s even at risk in my opinion is just ludicrous, but that is the state of affairs.

Secondly, evoking fillibuster turns the Alito nomination from at least a partially policy based scenario into a purely political one. And if anything, the Republicans are significantly better politicians than the Democrats. The end result is that Alito would still be appointed, only at a much higher national profile, and possibly with more public support.

Because the battle is not going to be about Alito’s qualifications, or inadequacies. The GOP knows, and I think if Kerry’s motion becomes a true threat, you will see this quite prominently, that the meal ticket isn’t Alito, it’s the fillibuster itself. We’ve seen it before, and we’ll see it now, the campaigning will start, should a fillibuster actually come down, and it will be, all day and night, “fillibuster’s aren’t fair.”

See? It’s not even about Alito, it’s about Republicans falling back on the old standby of making the majority look like a bunch of abuse victims, and they are good at it.

That all being said, now that Kerry broke the seal, I think the Dem’s need to fillibuster. It’s done, it’s out there, he opened his mouth, and to show party solidarity, something that the Democratic party desperately needs to have and advertize if it wants a shot at the Senate majority, then they need to follow.

I’m going to close with two thoughts. First, I think it’s possible to sell this fillibuster to both America and forty senators if you do not sell it as a fillibuster. That is to say, just lengthen the debate. It’s a common saying of Senator wannabe’s that voting for a SCOTUS justice is one of the most important duties, so let’s honor that sentiment and lengthen the debate. The second thought I have is; where the hell are the Minority Leader and Whip? Isn’t it your job to be on top of this kind of thing? I’m not saying that it’s pink slip time, but I am saying… Mr. Reid… that one could do a little better at keeping his caucus in line (ahem… Byrd… cough cough).

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