Tuesday, November 01, 2005

Nuclear Countdown

Now that Junior has done the predictable and nominated the type of conservative judge most likely to cause a fight, and coincidentally (or not), help distract the public from the numerous other problems and scandals that seem to have popped up in the past few months, the fight is on.

This is a battle between left and right, for the hearts and souls of the middle. Both sides have a lot to lose, and much to gain, from this fight.

-- Junior's Presidency is on the line here. If he wins, he has a new lease and the undying love of a conservative base that was starting to wonder if they had bought a pig in a poke. If he loses, it is hard to imagine him accomplishing much else of true importance in the next 3 years.

-- Bill Frist's only, slim, hope of being President is dependent upon Samuel Alito becoming a Supreme Court Justice. (Even then I wouldn't bet on it.)

-- Senate Democrats can actually win, even if they lose the confirmation battle, but by not seeming to be shills for the left wing interest groups. If they can paint Alito as a real extremist, then even if they lose the confirmation fight, they can run against in 2006 against a GOP that is corrupt and out of touch with moderate America. But they can only do that if they can raise issues in addition to abortion during the confirmation battle. It requires a deft touch that is not a characteristic that cannot usually be found in the Schumers of the world. (But that said, so far they have taken the right tone, and Alito does have a ton of opinions that they can use. They can, and must, do this on his record.)

I was against having the filibuster fight last spring, but the time to have the fight may be upon us.

If the GOP wants to be shortsighted and potentially give President Hillary a free hand starting in 2008, then fine. But there are Senate traditionalists who will have trouble with this, and it is best to make them chose the principles or their party.

Of course, Alito can change the dynamics by being either brilliant and likeable or stark and severe during his hearings, but that is a variable that will have to be factored in at the time. Right now it seems as though the pieces for this battle are now in place. Let the strategy begin!