Tuesday, November 01, 2005
Thoughts on Alito
I don't have much insight into this pick. I'm reading the same stuff as everyone else. What I do find interesting is that some conservatives are crowing that Alito is a true conservative, someone who can be counted on. Meanwhile, other conservatives are trying to reassure the left that he's no ideologue, no firebreather--just a man of unique intelligence, unquestioned ability, and strong principle. This clash was evident to a lesser degree during the Roberts spectacle (because that's what these things are, isn't it?); but I'm seeing more of it with Alito.
At some point, these narratives have to clash, don't they?
And now, for my rank speculation:
Liberals and democrats are really in a bind. They basically showed Roberts to the door of the courthouse, expecting that they could then make a serious challenge to the next person. But the next person was Miers, and whatever you think did her in, it wasn't liberal interest groups, democratic strategists, or democratic senators. And here we now are with Alito, who is clearly qualified, clearly conservative jurisprudentially, but not remotely the firebreather that liberals were hoping for.
I wonder: Do democratic senators have to oppose him, if for no other reason than that they have to look like they are doing something? And will simply voting no (he surely won't get as many democratic votes as Roberts did) be enough, or will the base and the strategists demand a filibuster?
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