19 - 0
19 Democrats voted to end debate and bring the nomination to the floor, where Alito is certain to be confirmed. No Republicans voted against their party.
And that's why we're heading for a "unitary executive" in this country, more colloquially known as a monarch. You know, l'etat c'est moi, and all of that.
Now, here's the list of Senate Dems who voted in favor of establishing the monarchy yesterday:
Akaka* - HI
Baucus - MT
Bingaman* - NM
Byrd* - WV
Cantwell* - WA
Carper* - DE
Conrad* - ND
Dorgan - ND
Inouye - HI
T Johnson - SD
Kohl* - WI
Landrieu - LA
Lieberman* - CT
Lincoln - AR
Nelson* - FL
Nelson* - NE
Pryor - AR
Rockefeller - WV
Salazar - CO
The ones with the asterisks (Akaka, Bingaman, Byrd, Cantwell, Carper, Conrad, Kohl, Lieberman, both Nelsons) are all up for re-election this year. What's the best way to let them know that they've betrayed our democracy?
(Look, it goes without saying, or it should anyway, that the Republican party as it now exists, is dedicated to the destruction of the democracy. Perhaps they've decided it's the only way we can compete with the Chinese in the long term, or maybe it's as simple as figuring out the profit margins are higher without competition from a second party. It goes without saying, or it should anyway, that working for, or contributing to, a Republican candidate earns you the one-way ticket to hell. Jane has already said what needs to be said about so-called Republican moderate Lincoln Chaffee and his supporters in the choice movement. We'll deal with Chaffee and his fellow traveller Olympia Snowe shortly).
Following the last two election debacles, the only weapon in the Democratic Party's arsenal has been the filibuster. Having more than 40 votes to keep debate open on destructive bills, or nominees, means nothing without the willingness to use it.
Let's be frank. Alito lied to the Senate about recusing himself from cases in which he had a financial stake when he was confirmed to the federal bench. He continued to lie to the Senate about the case during his Supreme Court confirmation hearings. We can expect that Republican Senators will put politics above country and support a liar if he advances their agenda. But shouldn't we expect that Democrats, who are the opposition party, after all, to hold their opponents to a higher standard? Didn't the Republicans, barely a decade ago, turn the entire country upside down over a lie? We now know that it wasn't the lying, it was the partisan politics. So when do the Democrats learn that refusing to play the partisan game doesn't make it go away, it just means you keep losing? The bully is going to keep taking your lunch money and kicking your ass on the playground until, like Ralphie and Scut Farkas, you turn around and bloody his nose.
So, there are 17 Dems up for re-election in the Senate this year. (How come, if the Republicans are in the majority, it always seems like the Democrats are defending more seats?) Of those, 7 (Clinton, Dayton, Feinstein, Kennedy, Menendez, Sarbanes & Stabenow) voted to keep debate open yesterday. The 10 above voted for cloture. Now, there's always the argument that we need to take back the Senate in order to get anything done; that as long as the Republicans have the majority, all we can do is stand around and watch. Not true, of course, but our Democratic Senators certainly act that way. And what will they get in return? Are the Republicans really going to give Maria Cantwell a pass in Washington on her re-election? No, they're not. They're calling her a "hyper-liberal" and running a strong well-financed conservative candidate against her. And yet, Cantwell has now burned a serious bridge to her base. She won't be getting any money from me, nor i suspect from a lot of progressive Dems. Now, maybe she's got enough money to finance her own campaign. If so, good luck to her. But at what point do Senators like Cantwell start to figure out that it's only Democrats who run "independent" campaigns and call for "bi-partisanship?"
If a Republican calls for bi-partisanship, he is really saying to Democrats, give me your lunch money, twinkie. Democrats who echo this call for bi-partisanship are replying, hey, i wasn't hungry today, anyway.
Can we run primary opponents against all 10 pro-monarch Senate Dems this year? Probably not. But Lieberman has already gotten himself a good one. That's a start. Show Ned Lamont some love, and send a message to Lieberman and the rest of the chickenshits who sold out our kids yesterday.
As for Lincoln Chaffee and Olympia Snow, two so-called Republicans for Choice, their votes today (especially Chaffee, who has said he will vote against Alito's confirmation) are meaningless. Yesterday's vote was the only one that counted. Independent pro-choice organizations like NARAL, for whom i've had a great deal of respect in the past, risk losing their credibility and their support by continuing to endorse thee politicans. We know where they stand, and loyalty to the party is more important in their calculus than the rights of women to be in control of their own bodies. Snow and Chaffee need to have big red targets painted on their backs that read "enjoy that Senatorial pension, sucker, you're going home."
In other words, it's OK if we don't take the Senate back this year, as long as we begin the process of moving the Democratic party in the right direction. This means supporting those 7 Senators up for re-election who did the right thing yesterday, replacing a few targetted pro-monarch Democratic incumbents with partisan fighters, and defeating a few "moderate" Republicans who lend a patina of respectability to what is now clearly a front movement for those who would turn the USA into Gilead.